Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorializing "Sergeant Stubby," Our First K-9 Hero

The military authorities refuse to acknowledge what is obvious, and important: that the USA's foremost example of canine valor, loyalty, and honor is a pit-bull.

Remembering "Sergeant" Stubby: A Remarkable Canine Hero
By Jo Singer | May 31, 2010 10:00 AM

Once known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while serving our country. This special holiday was originally enacted to honor the Union soldiers of the Civil War, and is celebrated on the last Monday in May, close to the day of the country's reunification after the war.

While the name "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, it became more common after World War II. Finally in 1967 the name was declared official by Federal Law.

While this is a day to honor fallen soldiers from every branch of the military, many people who work with and train the canines that bravely go in partnership into battle set aside this day to remember and honor them as well.

The United States Armed Forces have been using Military Working Dogs since World War I. Volunteer handlers train them to be trackers, sentry dogs, scouts, and detectors of mines, traps, tunnels, water, and hostile forces. They were used in WW l, WW ll, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo and are on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An extremely close and trusting relationship develops between soldiers and their dogs, as exemplified by the story about "Sergeant" Stubby, one of the most remarkable military dogs in history.

A dog of an unknown breed, in 1917 he was discovered on the Yale campus by John Robert Conroy. While some thought Stubby was part Boston Terrier and part Pit Bull, others assumed he was a pure bred Olde Boston Bulldog. Smuggled aboard the transport SS Minnesota, Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry 26th (Yankee) Division alongside Conroy in the trenches in France for 18 months.

During a raid to take Schieprey, in April 1918 this brave little dog was wounded by a hand grenade that had been thrown by retreating Germans. While recuperating, his mission was to cheer up wounded soldiers, improving their morale. After recovery he returned to battle in the trenches.

The fierce and talented pooch learned to warn his unit of poison gas attacks after he was gassed himself. He found missing soldiers, and due to his acute hearing, he detected the whining of incoming military shells before any humans could. They were able to take shelter quickly as Stubby became very adept at warning them.

At the end of the war, Conroy smuggled Stubby back home. He died in Conroy's arms in 1926. Stubby's remains are kept at the Smithsonian in the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit and he has was given a brick of honor in the Walk of Honor at the United States World War l monument, Liberty Memorial in Kansas City during a ceremony held November 11, 2006--Armistice Day.

In honor of the many military canines, take a moment to watch this touching video uploaded to YouTube by kakashiisdabomb.

Here's another site, commemorating the exploits of a couple more "war dogs," including one Yorkshire terrier.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Damn RIGHT Guinness is "Goood" for you

The "GOOD" news about yer daily Pint comes via the Beeb:
The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may be true after all, according to researchers.

A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.

Guinness was told to stop using the slogan decades ago - and the firm still makes no health claims for the drink.

The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease.
They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not those given lager.

Heart trigger

Clotting is important for patients who are at risk of a heart attack because they have hardened arteries.

A heart attack is triggered when a clot lodges in one of these arteries supplying the heart.

Many patients are prescribed low-dose aspirin as this cuts the ability of the blood to form these dangerous clots.

The researchers told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, that the most benefit they saw was from 24 fluid ounces of Guinness - just over a pint - taken at mealtimes.
We already know that most of the clotting effects are due to the alcohol itself, rather than any other ingredients.

Spokesman, Brewing Research International
They believe that "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.

However, Diageo, the company that now manufactures Guinness, said: "We never make any medical claims for our drinks."

The company now runs advertisements that call for "responsible drinking".

A spokesman for Brewing Research International, which conducts research for the industry, said she would be "wary" of placing the health benefits of any alcohol brand above another. She said: "We already know that most of the clotting effects are due to the alcohol itself, rather than any other ingredients.
"It is possible that there is an extra effect due to the antioxidants in Guinness - but I would like to see this research repeated."

She said that reviving the old adverts for Guinness might be problematic - at least in the EU.

Draft legislation could outlaw any health claims in adverts for alcohol in Europe, she said.

Feelgood factor

The original campaign in the 1920s stemmed from market research - when people told the company that they felt good after their pint, the slogan was born.

In England, post-operative patients used to be given Guinness, as were blood donors, based on the belief that it was high in iron.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers were at one stage advised to drink Guinness - the present advice is against this.

The UK is still the largest market in the world for Guinness, although the drink does not feature in the UK's top ten beer brands according to the latest research.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"It's a Mystery!": Going to Pot

Hemp is a remarkably versatile plant. It was probably the first 'domesticated' natural grass. It's fibers are super-strong, its oil is super-fine, it grows super-fast, and is mostly self-sustaining. Europeans would never have escaped their frosty forests if they hadn't had hemp for the sails and rigging of their voyaging ships.

With my patronym, which means something like "Hempster," I do have a small, proprietary interest...
Cannabis is a plant that can be grown anywhere, in any climate. This plant has been around as long as humans have existed. This is a naturally grown plant, an organic substance that is patented by the United States. Although patented, it is a plant that can be grown freely and may be difficult to control. Whether this is the primary reason why cannabis is illegal by Federal law is yet to be determined.

Cannabis, or its more common term "marijuana", is truly a mystery plant because there has been little information provided to the general population about this plant and both its medicinal and general purpose uses. We are seeing a trend occur here in the United States towards educating the public on the medicinal value and general purpose uses for cannabis. There are more and more states passing laws for medicinal cannabis. California has the Cannabis Tax, Revenue, & Control Act on the November 2010 ballot as well. Will this plant no longer be known as the "mystery plant"? Only time will tell.

The latest breaking news is about legalizing hemp production. Hemp, cousin to the cannabis plant, has scant levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that gets people "high"). Hemp is what may be termed "industrial hemp" for its general purpose uses and inability to get one "high".

Many people may have heard of hemp. Hemp was used historically in the United States to produce paper, rope, clothing, and food products because the seeds and oil provide excellent nutritional value. The cannabis plant naturally provides essential fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp is a cheaper version of cotton and other products as well since it is cheaper to manufacture and produce. Hemp has been known to be the best source for ethanol. As a matter of fact, hemp farming was a hot topic in the news on May 13, 2010. Senator Ron Paul (R-Texas) speaks on his support for cannabis (hemp) farming and about the Hemp Industry Association's (HIA) sponsoring of Hemp History week, May 17-23, 2010 nationwide as well.

Here is the latest news release on this very topic and a quote by Senator Paul on hemp's history in the United States: "Paul alluded to America's long tradition of growing hemp, saying that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson engaged in such activity and that the Federal government encouraged American farmers to grow hemp to help the war effort during World War II."

The mystery of cannabis is not a mystery to those who are medicinal cannabis users. They are aware of the medicinal value of cannabis and use their medicine to resolve numerous medical conditions rather than using more traditional medications that are costly and have innumerable side effects. Here is a list of known illnesses that may be prevented and/or cured by the use of medicinal cannabis:
Here is another site that provides additional information on the medicinal benefits of cannabis: http://

The benefits of cannabis are not a mystery to countless hemp farmers and those who are familiar with the history of hemp in our nation as indicated in the articles from HIA and Senator Paul above.

Although there are countless websites on the medicinal benefits of cannabis and the amazing uses available for hemp, there are still millions of people worldwide that do not know about these benefits and uses. Cannabis is truly the mystery plant for many, but it appears the wave flowing through the nation now is to make this transparent to all of us. It is time for us to be educated on cannabis, "the mystery plant".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Americans Turn More To Shelters For Their Pets

Every canine companion since I left home has been a shelter-dog, a foundling, or simply a volunteer:
By SUE MANNING, Associated Press Writer –

LOS ANGELES – Remember that old song, "How much is that doggie in the window?" For most Americans, it seems it's no sale.

More than half of people in an Associated poll said they would get their next dog or cat from a shelter, nearly seven times the number who said they would buy their next pet from a store.

And more than four in 10 said they thought store pets could have hidden medical or psychological problems. That's significantly more than those who expressed the same concerns about pets from animal shelters or breeders.

"I believe they overbreed the pets. I believe they couldn't care less about the pets, they're really in it for the money. I think you are more likely to get a pet at a pet store that is ill or has problems," said Sandra Toro, 62, of Colton, Calif.

Just 8 percent of those polled said they would get their next cat or dog at a store, while 13 percent said that's where they got the pet they have now. Fifty-four percent of those polled said they would probably get their next pet from a shelter, while 23 percent went for a breeder.

Toro, who has a 14-year-old rescue terrier mix named Dancer, said she doesn't understand how anyone can buy a pet from a store or a breeder.

"There are so many wonderful pets out there that will be euthanized," she said. "There's no reason for it."

John Knight, 45, of Dallas, got his 3-year-old mutt named Liesl (rhymes with diesel) from an animal shelter that was holding a weekend adoption day at Petsmart.

"There are plenty of animals out there that need good homes that don't have them. There's no reason to continue to breed animals when there are so many that have to be put down," he said.

When asked where their present pets came from, 26 percent said breeders and 30 percent said shelters — a much smaller number than said they would go to a shelter for their next pet. More than half of those polled said their dogs or cats came from places other than shelters, breeders or stores. They might have been strays, gifts from friends or favors for neighbors. Since some people have more than one pet, the numbers add to more than 100 percent.

"I've probably had 50 dogs and all but two came walking up our driveway," said Colleen Campbell, 71, of Fairview, Texas.

She and her husband have spent 50 years on their rural farm outside Dallas and it has been a perennial dumping ground for strays. They also take in any other animal that needs a home. Their vet talked them into Frito and Burrito, a pair of donkeys Campbell knew would need special medical attention.

The poll showed that dog owners (35 percent) were likelier to have gotten their current pets from a breeder than cat owners (5 percent).

Forty-seven percent of those polled said they were strongly concerned that an animal from a pet store would have medical issues they didn't know about, 38 percent had similar worries about animals from breeders and 32 percent were concerned about shelter pets.

As for psychological problems, 44 percent said they had significant worries about pet store animals and 33 percent worried about both breeder and shelter pets.

Fitting in with the family was of concern to everyone: 33 percent for stores, 30 percent for shelters and 28 percent for breeders.

When Mike Stoutenburg, 36, of Mishawaka, Ind., and his family are ready for their next dog, they will probably go to a breeder, he said, because they want an Australian shepherd. He is sure he could see any health problems in a puppy, but said he would ask his vet and groomer to check the pet out for any mental problems because the dog will be around a very young and active child — and his 3-year-old son "loves to grab things."

"Our groomer is extremely knowledgeable about animals. We trust her opinion," Stoutenburg said.

Bill Machut, 40, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., got his dog, Sidney, a Siberian Husky, from a pet store when the dog was 8 weeks old. That was 12 years ago.

If he were looking for a new pet, "I would buy from a pet store again. And I wouldn't rule out a breeder if I was looking for a certain breed. But I would probably start off at the shelters," he said.

He said most people expect things like kennel cough or worms. "There is an assumption there is a good chance there is some sort of health issue, especially being at a shelter. You deal with it. It's not that big of a deal," he said.

Several years ago, they got Sidney a playmate from a shelter, knowing before they took her in that she was sick. "She had seizures from the get go. We knew she wasn't going to be a long life dog. We had her six years."

People under age 30 (17 percent) were likelier to say they'd get a pet from a pet store than older groups (all were 7 percent or less).

The Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Associated Press Polling Director Trevor Tompson, AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and AP Writer Alan Fram contributed to this report from Washington.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ένα επαναστατικό σκυλί

It's a time-honored adage that anyone in Washington who wants a friend had better get a dog. But who knew that man's best friend would also be a boon to Greek rioters?

Amid the turmoil of the Greece financial crisis, photos and videos of street protests have turned up a kind of canine "Where's Waldo" figure: a mutt that may have some German shepherd genes, and clearly has a strong interest in civic disorder.
While one can't be certain that it's the same pooch at every protest — Athens is something of a magnet for street-savvy stray dogs — this mutt does sport a distinctive blue collar, which may indicate that, while he's a stray, he's also current on his shots.

By some accounts, the dog has been on the Athens protest scene ever since 2008 (though some say the 2008 pooch is a similar-looking dog named Kanellos who established himself as a fixture at demonstrations and died that year).
The current mutt has won a long string of blog tributes and a number of online nicknames, including "Rebel Dog," "Riot Dog" and "Protest Dog." He even has a Facebook page devoted to him (as "Riot-Dog"). Here's a sample of his protest outings (with apologies to Kanellos partisans if he's inadvertently included here).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Luke, the Dog: Hero of the Silent, Silver Screen

Yes, he's a pit bull; more than 50% of ALL dogs in the USofA have pit-bulls in their lineage...