5 Hero Dogs Lassie would be Proud of

Dogs are man’s best friends. There’s no doubt about it. No matter how distant some of them may sometimes seem, they are always on the guard. The fact that they live for their owner is very touching indeed. Here are some incredible stories of 5 hero dogs Lassie would be proud of.

1. Shana the digging dog

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Shana is a half wolf dog/half German Shepard who saved an elderly couple from a treacherous snowstorm. When Shana found Norman and Eve trapped by snow, she went to work, digging out a tunnel through which she would pull the couple back to the safety of their home. After Shana tunneled all the way to the house, it came back, grabbed the sleeve of Eve’s jacket, and threw the 86-pound woman over her back and neck, which Eve described as “as wide as our kitchen shelf.” Norman grabbed Eve’s legs, and the dog pulled them through the tunnel, under the trees and through an opening in a fence to the house. She than kept them warm, as electricity in the house was not working.

2. Honey the very young rescuer

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Honey was eventually awarded with the 2006 Dog of the Year, for saving her owner from a violent car accident. When she and Michael Bosch found their SUV rolled over and stuck upside down in a deep ravine, Bosch was trapped and knew that Honey was his only hope. He managed to release the dog and hope that she would somehow find help. Keep in mind that the 5-month-old English Cocker Spaniel got the attention of a man about a half-mile away and brought him to the scene of the accident. Rescuers concluded that had it not been for this, Bosch would have died.

3. Bear saved his young owner from drowning

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Patricia Drauch was walking to her garage when her 14-month-old, Stanley, disappeared from her sight. She finally went to her pool and found Stanley all blue and lying on his back. But her dog, Bear, was keeping Stanley’s head above water by balancing him on his back. Bear refused to move, or even bark, until Patricia got in the pool to retrieve her son. Bear saved Stanley’s life that day.

4. The stray dog that kept a lost boy warm

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When a 7-year-old boy in Siberia was trying to rescue a stray dog from a nine-foot deep roadside service bank, he accidentally slipped in himself. No one could find the missing boy until more than 72 hours later when road workers heard the exhausted barks of a dog from the pit. The dog had wrapped itself around the boy and prevented him from getting hypothermia, therefore saving his life. The dog was rescued alive, too, though its current whereabouts were unclear. Hopefully the animal was given proper medical treatment, a home and regular meals.

5. Orlando helped his blind owner to survive on subway tracks

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Cecil Williams, a visually impaired man, was waiting on a subway platform in Harlem when he began to feel weak. His guide dog, Orlando, barked to alert others, and tried to keep the man standing, but both toppled onto the tracks. A metro employee rushed over and instructed them to lie down between the rails, as a train was coming and there was no time to pull the two up. They both survived, and Williams credited Orlando with saving his life. He was afraid he might have to give the dog up when he retires at age 11 next year, but people were so touched by the story, that enough donations piled up for the man and his dog to stick together.

There are hundreds of other stories about how dogs saved their owners from death, learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or even dial 911. These are just five of the bravest ones. So go to your dog and give him a big kiss.

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet

This article was inspired by The Oldest Living Things in the World, by Rachel Sussman that I’ve recently come across. She reportedly spent the last decade looking for things more than 2000 years old, and photographed them.  It is a highly inspirational book that combines personal stories, scientific data provided by a scientist who co-wrote the book with her. However this post isn’t about her book, but it’s more about an attempt to present the 6 oldest things on our planet.

Trivia: Avocados

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The funny thing is that avocados are the only trees that didn’t become extinct with the dinosaurs a long time ago. They reportedly evolved during the era of the great mammals, when mammoths and giant sloths would eat the fruit whole and disperse the seed through their poop. So, when all these animals went extinct, wild avocados should have vanished with them. How the avocado still exists in the wild after surviving its evolutionary failures remains a puzzle.

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise

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Say Hello! to Adwaita (“one and only” in Sanskrit). Well you could’ve have still done that back in 2006, because that’s the year of her death. It lived between 1750 and March 23 2006, and was a 550-pound male Aldabra giant tortoise living in the Alipore Zoological Gardens of Kolkata, India. It is supposedly the oldest known tortoise on record. The tortoise was initially owned by General Robert Clive, an important member of the East India Company, who got addicted to opium and killed himself in 1774. Barely a youngster at that time, Adwaita hovered around for a bit before eventually being transferred to the Indian zoo in 1875.

Charlie the Macaw

Blue Charlie was born in 1899 and is still alive. His current owner said he was a favorite pet of Winston Churchill’s, who supposedly acquired Charlie in 1937 after the bird had already managed to outlive two previous owners. He is said to know some dirty phrases about Hitler and the Nazis.

Ocean Quohog

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This entry serves as the absolute star of our list. The Arctica islandica, commonly named the ocean quahog, stirred quite a fuss when scientists discovered it. Her celebrity name was Ming, named after the Chinese dynasty during which she was born. When she died in 2006, experts believed she was the oldest living animal ever recorded, 507 years.

The sad thing about Ming is the fact that scientists accidentally killed it while dragging it up off the coast of Iceland. Afterwards Ming was also frozen along with many others, for transport back to the lab for climate change research.

“Hanako” the Koi Fish

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Koi fish are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens. But this one beat all odds. Hanako, meaning “flower maid”, was officially the world’s oldest koi carp and died on July 7, 1977 at the age of 226 years.

Bowhead Whales

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They are baleen whales of the right whale family Balaenidae that can grow up to 66 feet in length. They live entirely in fertile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, unlike other whales that migrate to feed or reproduce to low latitude waters and are listed by the National Marine Fisheries Service as “endangered” under the auspices of the United States’ Endangered Species Act.

One of the whales scientists analyzed was apparently 211 years old, this turning it into the oldest known mammal that still exists to this day.

What Sussman talked about in her book are mostly all plants, lichen or coral, but everything she has photographed for the project is at least 2,000 years old. Well our creatures from the list are not only a bit younger, but they had and some of them still have distinct personalities. Well, maybe not the avocados.

8 Scientific Experiments Conducted on Animals (Part II)

Here’s the second part of our 8 scientific experiments conducted on animals. The sad thing is that these are the ones we know of, but they unfortunately go on every day, in the name of science, or of the cosmetic industry. So let’s recommence our animal torture list with a classical case.

# 4. Pavlov’s dog

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This famous experiment made the concept of the conditioned reflex widespread. Ivan Pavlov, back in 1901, examined the rate of salivation among dogs when presented with food. He noticed the dogs would salivate upon seeing their food, so he began ringing a bell every time the food was presented to the dogs. Over time, the dogs began to associate the ringing of the bell with food and would salivate instantly when hearing the bell, demonstrating that reflexes can indeed be learned. This wasn’t so bad, was it?

# 5. Harlow’s monkeys

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In the 1950s, Harry Harlow of the University of Wisconsin tested infant dependency towards their mother’s affection, using monkeys. The newly born monkey was removed from its actual mother that was replaced with two other “mothers,” one made of cloth and one made of wire. The first “mother” served no purpose other than its comforting feel whereas the wire “mother” fed the monkey through a bottle. The monkey spent the most of his day next to the cloth fluffy “mother” and only around one hour a day next to the wire “mother,” despite the fact that the wire model was constantly providing food.


# 6. Elephants on acid

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On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out how elephants would react when given LSD.

So they fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant’s rump. That’s definitely a lot of LSD, about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. This is officially the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. Tusko trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. Total failure!

But this didn’t stop here. It appears that twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to find out what had happened to Tusko, and gave two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko had received. However the drug wasn’t injected, by put into their water supply instead. The elephants not only survived but also didn’t seem too upset at all. They acted childishly, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations, but within a few hours they were back to normal.

# 7. Demikhov’s Two-Headed Dogs

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It seems Russians have a thing for dog heads. In 1954 Vladimir Demikhov presented his griffin: a two-headed dog. He created the dragon creature in a lab on the outskirts of Moscow by taking the head, shoulders, and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd. He boasted about his invention in front of the whole world. During the following 15 years, he created a total of 20 two-headed dogs. None of them lived very long, as they inevitably succumbed to problems of tissue rejection. Nevertheless they seemed to function normally at start. Both heads would eat simultaneously from different bowls, the food ingested being canned in the only stomach of the griffin.

# 8. The Remote-Controlled Bull

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Meanwhile in Cordova, Spain, Yale researcher Jose Delgado implanted a stimoceiver in a bull’s brain. It was a computer chip, operated by a remote-control unit, which could be used to stimulate different regions of the animal’s brain. These impulses could produce a wide variety of effects, such as the involuntary movement of limbs, the production of emotions such as love or rage, or the inhibition of appetite. It could also be used, as Delgado showed, to stop a charging bull.

The list definitely goes on. However sad these may have made you feel, let’s start appreciating animals more, as our scientific progress pioneers throughout the history of mankind.

8 Scientific Experiments Conducted on Animals (Part I)

8 Psychological Experiments Conducted on AnimalsHumans have learned a lot using all sorts of physical or psychological experiments. Nevertheless when their curiosity couldn’t be satisfied using human beings, they passed on to animals. Here they are: 8 scientific experiments conducted on animals, most of which went awfully wrong.

# 1. The isolated head of a dog

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In the late 1920s Soviet physician Sergei Brukhonenko wanted to satisfy his curiosity regarding a detached head’s possibility of remaining alive without an actual body attached to it. So he took a dog’s head, and parallel to that he developed a primitive heart-lung machine, called an “autojector,” and with this device he succeeded in keeping the head of a dog alive. He showed his deed in 1928 to scientists at the Third Congress of Physiologists of the USSR. In order to remove all doubt regarding his success, he showed that it reacted to stimuli. Brukhonenko banged a hammer on the table, and the dog head flinched. He immersed light in its eyes, and the dog’s eyes blinked. He even fed it a piece of cheese, which immediately popped out the esophageal tube on the other end. How cynical can one person be?

# 2. Seeing through a cat’s eyes

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This ia 1999 attempt to see the world through another creature’s eyes, in our case, a cat. The animal was anesthetized and chemically paralyzed and secured in a surgical frame. After that Dr. Yang Dan of the University of California, Berkeley, glued metal posts to the whites of its eyes, and forced it to look a screen that showed scene after scene of swaying trees and men wearing turtlenecks. Moreover the researchers had also inserted fiber electrodes into the vision-processing center of the cat’s brain. They measured the electrical activity of the brain cells and transmitted this information to a nearby computer that decoded the information and transformed it into a visual image. As the cat watched the images of the trees and the turtleneck-wearing guy, the same images emerged, yet slightly blurrier, on the computer screen across the room. The poor cat! I wonder if she ever survived this experiment…

# 3.  Shock the puppy

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This is an animal response to Milgrim’s experiment. For those of you who don’t know, Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale University, wanted to test obedience to authority. He set up an experiment with teachers, who were the actual participants, and learners, who were actors. Both categories knew the study was about memory and learning. Things were arranged so that the actual participants took the role of the teacher. The two were moved into separate rooms and the teacher was given instructions as to press a button to shock the learner each time an incorrect answer was provided. These shocks would increase in voltage each time. Eventually, the actor would start to complain followed by more and more desperate screaming. Only 14 out of 40 teachers halted the experiment before administering a 450-volt shock, though every participant questioned the experiment, and no teacher firmly refused to stop the shocks before 300 volts.

Anyway, imagine this same experiment, but with fluffy puppies instead of the human learners. Charles Sheridan and Richard King theorized that perhaps Milgram’s subjects had merely played along with the experiment because they realized the victim was faking his cries of pain. But with the puppy, everything was real: its part and the shocks. As the voltage increased, the puppy first barked, then jumped up and down, and finally started howling with pain. The volunteers were horrified. They became restless, hyperventilated, and started gesturing with their hands to show the puppy where to stand. Many cried, but the majority of them, 20 out of 26, kept pushing the shock button right up to the maximum voltage. We are bad little creatures, aren’t we?

5 Fair Reasons to Get a Hedgehog Pet

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Hedgehogs are adorable creatures and no one can deny that. But what’s so special about them? Here you can find 5 fair reasons to get a hedgehog pet.

It appears that more and more people are looking for pet hedgehogs to adopt. I’m not sure whether to recommend such a deed, but anyway, this article is supposed to help you make up your mind. So let’s enter the hedgehog void…

Who they are

The hedgehog got its name as a consequence of its peculiar foraging habits. They root through hedges and other undergrowth in search of their favourite food. As it moves through the hedges it emits pig-like grunts. Thus the name – hedgehog. His favorite food consists of small creatures such as beetles, caterpillars, insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. They possess a resistance to snake venom that allows them to find worms and snakes a delicacy.

What they do

They sleep all day long. Just like cats, or bats, they are nocturnal, coming out at night and spending the day sleeping in a nest under bushes or thick shrubs. How convenient!

Nevertheless, they are commonly referred to as ‘the gardeners friend’ due to the high number of insects and other garden pests it eats. In other words, encouraging a hedgehog into your garden has incredible advantages for both you and your prickly visitor. It is not uncommon for an adult hedgehog to eat almost half its own body weight every day. So no more pests for you!

What about its quills?

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A hedgehog that is calm and in a good mood will lay back it’s quills making their surface very smooth, and even a hedgehog that is being watchful is no worse than petting a hard hairbrush. But extra care has to be taken during these times when they feel threatened by various reasons and ball up.

Hedgehogs are actually born with their spines under the surface of a protective skin that shields the mother while giving birth. Within the first 24 hours the quills, which are modified hollow hairs, break through this protective skin and provide a limited defense for the tiny mammals. Quilling (it normally starts around the eighth week up to as late as six months) refers to the time when a young hedgehog starts to shed their baby quills and replace them with their adult quills.

They have about 5000 spines.  Each one lasts about a year and then drops out for a replacement to grow. For an indoor hedgehog this is a more delicate situation, as is not much comfort if you find one of them on your carpet with a bare foot.

 How about getting your own?

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  1. Well, they are easy to care for, that’s for sure. You don’t need to brush them, or wash them, maybe just get them an occasional nail trim. And keep their living space clean.
  2. Don’t expect them to purr or shake their non-existent tail once they see you. They get used to playing schedules and appear to greet you once you’ve kept your word. Their being relaxed in your presence is the most important affection sign you’ll ever get.
  3. They have different personalities. If you have children, consider choosing a less daunted one, in order to avoid its balling up every time it hears the little toddlers scream.
  4. They also have a strange habit when stimulated by a strong smell or taste to self-anoint – this means they cover their prickles in foamy saliva.  It is uncertain why it does this. However this should be an interesting thing to watch.
  5. There are 15 known species of hedgehog. European hedgehogs hibernate throughout winter. Moreover it is important to remember that hedgehogs have partial protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and cannot be trapped without permission.