Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Bloodhound Miss Belle sure nose her reds

A NOSE of breeding and distinction sets Miss Louisa Belle apart from the pack.
The seven-year-old red bloodhound has such a superior sense of smell that she has been trained to detect tainted corks affecting wine.
Her owners, Michelle Edwards and Daniel Fischl, said when faced with a pile of corks, Belle meticulously selected those that had been tainted by putting them to the side with her snout.
"She just has to sniff a barrel of wine to know whether it is off," Mr Fischl said.
"Most wineries rely on the human nose but that is time-consuming, costly and nowhere near as reliable as Belle, whose nose is 2000 times more sensitive than ours."
The owners of Caulfield-based boutique wine label Linnaea buy fruit from the Napa Valley in California and Heathcote in Victoria and they, along with most overseas vineyards, prefer corks for their bottles. Instead of sniffing corks, they decided to train their dog, who was becoming destructive around the house.
Coming from a line of search-and-rescue dogs, Belle is particularly sensitive to smell and can even detect a tainted wine through the bottle.
"It was time to put her to work because that's what she loves and she was very keen to put her nose into everything," Ms Edwards said.
"After two weeks she could isolate the tainted cork within 30 seconds."
Cork taint is a term that applies to wine that has been contaminated either by the wood where it is stored or the cork in the top of the bottle.
It has an odour that resembles damp and makes the wine undrinkable.
Miss Louisa Belle can detect faulty corks before they are inserted in bottles as well as corks that have broken down when wine has been stored.
She can also detect mildew leaf on vines.

Dog adopted by soldier in Afghanistan arrives in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — Reaching the end of his month-long journey from Afghanistan, Blanco popped out of his cage Monday night at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and quickly began sprinting around the Delta cargo delivery parking lot.
With his tail and tongue wagging wildly, Blanco then jumped into the arms of 9-year old Haley Bilot, who gave the white dog a warm embrace.
“I was wondering, ‘What is this dog going to be like?’” Cindy Cerveny said. “I thought he would be skittish and scared.”
It appears Blanco is going to have no trouble adjusting to American life.
The dog’s long journey from Afghanistan — via Pakistan, New York and Detroit — finally ended Monday when he arrived in Grand Rapids.
Cerveny was going to email her son, Lee Chandler, photos of the dog and report that Blanco was doing just fine.
Chandler, a 28-year-old Grand Valley State University graduate, is an Army sergeant based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Blanco wandered onto Chandler’s base and quickly was befriended by his National Guard unit.
Chandler’s tour is ending this month, and he sent Blanco to the U.S. ahead of him. Blanco will stay with Chandler’s mother and stepfather, Lee Cerveny, at their home in Rose City. Chandler then will pick up Blanco and head to Arizona, where he will resume civilian life as a middle school social studies teacher.
Blanco had a small gathering waiting for him at the airport Monday. Chandler has been corresponding with his sister, Becky Bilot, via email, and he informed her when Blanco was scheduled to arrive. Bilot, along with her husband, Brian, and the Byron Township couple’s four children welcomed Blanco.
“They are guessing that Blanco is less than a year old,” Becky Bilot said. “He showed up at the base one day, and his ears had been cut off. I guess that’s what they do to get the dogs ready for fighting. The soldiers started feeding him scraps here and there.
“Blanco ended up staying longer and longer because he liked the soldiers so much. Lee said Blanco kind of adopted them; they didn’t adopt the dog.”
Chandler spent nine years living in Grand Rapids, and he joined the Michigan National Guard and served in Iraq. He moved to Arizona to pursue his master’s degree. There, he joined the Arizona National Guard, then headed to Afghanistan.
The cost to get Blanco to America was about $3,000. Becky Bilot, along with her and Chandler’s sister, Staci Chandler, of Hastings, organized a bake sale that helped cover the expenses.
Lee Cerveny said Blanco will have plenty of room to play in Rose City.
“We have 40 acres, so there will be plenty of privacy and quiet,” Lee Cerveny said. “He is going to love it out in the woods.”

Tail injuries in dogs and cats

Tail injuries are relatively common in dogs and cats.  Tails can be bitten, caught in doors, stepped on, or even broken.  Injured tails tend to droop or sag, and are generally quite painful.  The dog or cat often walks very gingerly in the hindquarters.
The bones in the tail are a line of progressively smaller vertebrae that are a continuation of the spine and run from the pelvis to the tail tip.  Muscles and nerves run along the length of the tail, controlling sensation and movement.  Important nerves near the base of the tail also contribute to control of bowel movements.
Bite wounds on the tail are usually treated by clipping away the hair and cleaning the injury, with antibiotics prescribed to control the infection that frequently accompanies a bite.  Cuts are usually treated in a similar manner, except that they often need to be sutured closed rather than left open.  Severe injury, fracture, or dislocation of the tail often requires amputation; under general anesthesia, the damaged area is removed, and the remaining tail or stump is sewn over and bandaged.
Cuts, bite wounds, and amputations typically heal well so long as care is taken to protect the area from further injury caused by chewing or vigorous wagging.  Tail injuries are often bandaged to collect any seepage and to protect the wound during healing.  Bandages can be treated with bitter apple or some other offensive taste to limit chewing, or an Elizabethan collar can be used to physically prevent licking of the bandage and tail.
Injuries near the base of the tail warrant special concern, because damage to important nerves in this area can sometimes lead to fecal incontinence.  Injuries to the tail base can also be very painful.  Most dogs with a bruised tail base respond well to rest and administration of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and pain.  However, severe injuries to the tail base can result in permanent drooping of the tail and (rarely) permanent fecal incontinence.

Monday, 4 July 2011

A big thanks from a Happy Customer

"I just wanted to say thanks for a great service.  I ordered two harnesses which you despatched the next day and they arrived here in Spain 3 days later (nothing short of miraculous in these here parts)  Shipping costs were very reasonable at £3.  A competitor of yours wanted to charge me around £23!
Thanks; you have won another repeat customer (the best sort as you know!)"

Kind regards


Friday, 1 July 2011

Graham Povey now has Shadow’s Ruffwear kit and he says:

Shadow in his Ruffwear Doubleback Harness

Thank you for the support you guys are giving us!
The equipment is excellent! .... Shadow is wearing the Doubleback harness and Boots today, to get used to them...
He even accepts the Doggles without complaint!

Top marks for this kit
- it's the best I personally have seen...

As a Mountain Guide and ex-Army Dog Handler, I have a working knowledge of outdoor equipment in general, and this is excellent kit, well designed and made

Many Thanks!

Graham wishing he had a pair of
red smoke (hot) Doogles too           

Modelling the Ruffwear Palisades Dog Rucksack and
                           Grip Trek boots

Other articles of interest - 

450km from Irun on the Atlantic Coast of Spain across the Pyrenees to Cabo de Creus on the Mediterranean coast

An update from Graham and Shadow