Friday Funny- Fantastic Pets

I’ve babbled about kids, specifically under my Creepy Children article for Halloween, and my previous article about pets discussed people being shot by their animals,  but recently there was a spat of amazing animals in the news helping each other or their human companions.  I thought this would be a great addition to the Friday Funny-LOL ensemble. I’m including random cute pictures completely unrelated to the stories.

Thanks to Debbi M.’s FB wall I got started with this story about a mother and child in Florida who were attacked by a man at knifepoint.

When most people see a stray Pit Bull running around, they get nervous, and even scared. Although on this day, he was Angela’s guardian angel. A 65 pound male pit bull charged the man and drove him off.

“I don’t think the dog physically attacked the man, but he went at him and was showing signs of aggression, just baring his teeth and growling and barking. It was clear he was trying to defend this woman,” Animal Control Lt. Brian Jones told Pet Pulse.

The remarkable part of this story is this dog had never seen Angela before, and selflessly defended them. The dog probably saved their lives.

After the man ran away, Angela grabbed her child and ran to get in the car to drive away, when the dog jumped into the backseat. They then waited for police.

Another dog in Florida alerted his master of a fire.

The home owner was awakened by his dog barking around 2:20 a.m. When he heard popping sounds coming from the garage area, he opened the door to find smoke and flames in the garage.

Now I’m starting to wonder about people and their working smoke detectors, because this dog in Weatherford, TX also alerted the homeowner of a house fire.

Firefighters were called to the family’s home around 2:30 a.m. on December 18 in response to an electrical fire.

Kim was sound asleep inside when the fire started.

“Sadie came in and barked so I woke up thinking that she just needed to go outside to go potty,” Kim recalled, “and when I opened my master bedroom door, black smoke just came pummeling in the bedroom.”

“If Sadie hadn’t come in barking this picture would probably be a lot different,” said husband Will.

In New Hampshire they do advise the smoke detector failed when yet another owner was alerted by his dog of impending doom.

Wood stove ashes that rekindled caused a fire that destroyed a small home early Tuesday, though the home’s owner was saved by his dog, Assistant Fire Chief Edward Consentino said.

Consentino said Wayne Duquette, the owner of the home, emptied his wood stove ashes into a plastic bucket and placed the bucket on a wooden porch. During the night, the ashes rekindled, he said.

“They burned right through the bucket and caught the porch on fire,” Consentino said.

The fire, which was reported shortly about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, quickly spread through the rest of the house, which was converted to a full-time residence from a summer camp, he said.

Consentino said Duquette’s smoke alarm did not work and that Duquette’s dog woke him up.

“The dog actually saved his life,” he said.

There were no injuries, but Consentino said wood stove ashes should never be placed in a plastic bucket.

 In Greenburgh, NY a dog foils a potential robbery.

The homeowner told Greenburgh police on February 29 at 1 p.m. she was upstairs when her dog began barking insistently. The homeowner went downstairs and noticed a rear sliding glass door unlocked. She locked the door and returned upstairs.

The dog continued to bark so she went back downstairs and observed a broken basement window. Police checked the premises with negative results.

The Stillwater, MN Police dispatch blog records a cat alerting its owner of a ‘shirtless visitor.’ Doesn’t really say the role the cat played in the ‘alert’.  Probably just walked in and sat on her owner’s face.

A woman awoke to find a strange man passed out on her couch. The 28-year-old Stillwater man had wandered into the house, rummaged through the resident’s cupboards and even disturbed the cat before he passed out shirtless on the resident’s couch. Officers were able to wake the man. The man appeared to be disoriented and he did not know where he was.

All right, so maybe cats flop at alerting their owners of fires, burglars, and general drunkards, but here is the story of Oscar who is known as the Kitty Grim Reaper at a hospital for senior dementia patients.  Oscar has become quit famous for his uncanny ability to basically predict with a short amount of time when someone is about to pass away.  More to the point, the cat has a better track-record than the attending physicians.  Where some Dr’s would believe an individual had more or less time the cat was always spot on.  How did the Kitty Grim Reaper demonstrate this?  Oscar will curl up and lay down next to those patients who only have a couple of hours left to live.  The staff has gotten so used to this they’ll even contact the loved ones of those in the hospice care when Oscar demonstrates cuddlie-sleepiness with a patient, knowing they only have a short time to make their final good-byes. Here is an excerpt of how it all began…

David Dosa is a doctor at Steere House Nursing Home (Rhode Island), where patients have Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, or are terminally ill.

One of the home’s pets, a cat named Oscar, is special. Dr Dosa believes the tabby can predict the death of patients, seeking them out and remaining with them in their final hours. Here, he explains how Oscar challenged everything he learned at medical school.

Oscar was adopted from an animal shelter when he was a kitten, to join the menagerie of pets that we have living at Steere House.

When I met him for the first time, he wasn’t friendly with me and he wasn’t chummy with any of the patients either. He was the type of cat that would hide under the bed or stare out of the window all day long.

But then, about six months after his arrival, Oscar’s aloof behaviour changed. He started to make house calls to fellow residents.

I’d like to say that I was the first one to notice Oscar’s peculiar abilities, but I wasn’t. It was a summer morning in 2006, when Mary Miranda, the day-shift nurse, called me over. ‘David,’ she said, ‘I’d like to show you something in room 310.’

As we walked down the hall, Mary told me a little about Lilia Davis, who lived in room 310. She was about 80 and had colon cancer that had spread everywhere. Given her severe dementia, her family had decided not to treat it.

As we walked in the room, we found Mrs Davis lying on her back, her eyes closed, her breathing shallow. Mary pointed to the base of the bed. ‘Take a look,’ she said.

As I approached, the head of a black-and-white tabby cat slowly rose up from beneath the sheets. Moving caused the bell on his collar to jingle slightly. The cat’s ears perked up and he glanced at me with questioning eyes. Then, with a look of resignation, he rested his head back on his front paws and purred softly while he nestled against Mrs Davis’s right leg.

‘You brought me in here to see a cat?’ I said.

‘I know this is weird, David,’ said Mary, ‘but the thing is, Oscar never spends any time with the patients. He usually goes off and hides, mostly in my office. Lately, though, a couple of us have noticed that he’s spending more time with certain residents – patients who are about to die.’

Now I’d heard everything. Mary continued, ‘You know, Oscar wandered into another patient’s room right before she died yesterday.’

‘Don’t get me wrong,’ I told Mary. ‘I love the concept of an animal sitting with me as I die. Maybe he likes the patients who are dying because they don’t give him any trouble.’

I left the hospital and drove across town to my outpatient clinic. On my way there my phone rang. It was Mary. ‘Mrs Davis died a few minutes after you left,’ she said.

It had been less than an hour since I was standing in her room, watching her breath.

As of June 2007 Oscar has signaled via snuggles the impending death of 25 patients.  You can read more about Oscar in Dr. Dosa’s book, Making Rounds with Oscar.

Moments later the chair collapsed

There have also been reports of dogs being able to predict seizures in individuals.  According to the Epilepsy Foundation these tales are mostly anecdotal…

Little research has been done to test the existence of this ability in dogs, but a British study suggests that some dogs have this innate skill and may be trained to use it.

In 1998, Roger Reep, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences at the University of Florida, surveyed 77 people between the ages of 30 and 60 who had epilepsy. The survey asked about their quality of life, medical status, attitudes toward pets, ownership of dogs, and their pets’ behavior prior to and during a seizure. Most of the people responding to the survey had had epilepsy for a long time (average: 25 years); more than half had at least one seizure per month.

Most said they had dogs for companionship. In interviews following the survey, three out of the 31 felt that their dogs seemed to know when they were going to have a seizure (10 percent). Another 28 percent said their dogs stayed with them when they had a seizure.

The Epilepsy Foundation believes much more research is necessary in this field of “seizure predicting” dogs, and cautions consumers to be very wary of any claims or programs that offer to train or provide “seizure predicting” service animals.

That being said, my husband’s uncle will tell you his Chihuahua has woke him up twice during the night ‘sensing’ when his blood sugar had gotten dangerously low.

From BowWow.Com some quick fun facts on Dogs and Cats.

Fun Facts About Dogs

  • Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting.
  • Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.
  • Dogs have about 10 vocal sounds.
  • Dogs do not have an appendix.
  • There are more than 200 different breeds of dogs.
  • Dalmatians are born spotless: at first pure white, their spots develop as they age.
  • Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t color blind; they can see shades of blue, yellow, green and gray. The color red registers on a gray-scale in a dog’s vision.
  • Most domestic dogs are capable of reaching speeds up to about nineteen miles per hour when running at full speed.
  • Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.
  • Domesticated for more than 10,000 years, the dog was one of the first animals domesticated by humans.

I’d pay money to see that done double-dutch.

Fun Feline Facts

  • Cats do not have sweat glands.
  • A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.
  • Cats have five toes on each front paw, but only four toes on each back paw.
  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
  • A pack of kittens is called a kindle, while a pack of adult cats is called a clowder.
  • An adult cat can run about 12 miles per hour, and can sprint at nearly thirty miles per hour.
  • A cat’s tongue is scratchy because it’s lined with papillae-tiny elevated backwards hooks that help to hold prey in place.
  • The nose pad of each cat has ridges in a unique pattern like a person’s fingerprints.
  • Cats’ bodies are extremely flexible; the cat skeleton contains more than 230 bones (a human has about 206), and the pelvis and shoulders loosely attach to the spine. This adds to their flexibility and allows them to fit through very small spaces.
  • Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that while a dog’s memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat’s can last as long as 16 hours-exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans.

Tweet, TWEE..!!!

Thanks as usual to Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird to tell us more tales of furry tails…

  • Correctional Service of Canada was recently rethinking its policy of permitting inmates to keep cats in their cells in two British Columbia prisons after guards complained of dirty litter boxes during prisoner shakedowns and after several drug-sniffing dogs in the facility had gotten hurt tangling with the cats (Mission, B.C.; May). And a previously docile Siamese cat went nuts and mauled a family of four and its baby sitter over several hours, repeatedly launching itself at family members and clawing them bloody, until police subdued it (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; May). And to deal with a flood of mice in the British Parliament, a motion was introduced in June “to invest in a House of Commons cat to try to tackle this problem.” [Globe and Mail, 5-16-02] [Edmonton Journal-Southam Newspapers, 5-14-02] [Associated Press, 6-11-02]
  • In Cleveland, Texas, a man had to be airlifted to an emergency trauma unit after losing a fight with a house cat. He was even armed with a knife as he took on the beast, but somehow the attacking cat caused him to lose his balance and fall on the blade. [YourHoustonNews.com, 5-10-2011]
  • Author Alison Daniels assured reporters earlier this year that her book “Feng Shui for You and Your Cat” was not a parody, that in fact cats are natural practitioners of feng shui, and that cat owners should pay attention to cats’ judgments (in that many common cat behaviors, such as climbing curtains, are just reactions to the presence or absence of energy streams).

  • Russ and Sandy Asbury of Whitewater, Wis., told an Associated Press reporter in February that their two cats, Boots and Bandit, know each 2 years old, have driven up the couple’s water bill recently because they have learned to flush toilets. Said Russ, “We have to shut the bathroom door when we go to bed. Otherwise one or the other of the cats are in there flushing away all night.” [Los Angeles Times-AP, 2-19-02]
  • The San Diego firm Allerca Inc. announced in June that it is accepting advance orders (at $5,000 each) for hypoallergenic cats it intends to create by cross-breeding species that lack the noxious bacteria that most cats produce that are so dangerous to asthmatics and others. A competitor, New York’s Transgenic Pets, is after the same result by modifying the actual gene that produces the cat saliva bacteria. (Transgenic is expecting to beat Allerca to market, at a price of around $1,000.) [National Geographic News, 6-9-06]

So, did it work?  Yes, but…

SOMERSET COUNTY — A few years ago, Allerca Inc. received rave reviews for producing the world’s first hypoallergenic cat, one that doesn’t trigger the itching, sneezing and wheezing that plagues many.

The felines were featured on news and morning talk shows around the country in 2006 and 2007, cuddling with cat lovers who extolled the joys of having such an allergen-free pet.

A Warren Township man says he ordered one on Sept. 11, 2007, paying extra to expedite delivery. But after two years, the feline has yet to arrive, so Andrew Reale is suing Allerca, also known as Lifestyle Pets Inc. for breach of contract, consumer fraud and intentional misrepresentation.

  • Canadian researchers writing in the journal Neurology in June reported that 18 of 122 dogs belonging to epileptic children were able to sense, minutes ahead of time, when a child was about to have a seizure, and about 30 others showed unique reactions to a seizure event (including in some cases trying to protect the child from danger). Also in June, researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute reported that Rico, a border collie they have studied for several years, can distinguish by name more than 200 objects and can even figure out the names of unfamiliar objects associated with familiar ones (attributed, as in the epilepsy cases, to the dog’s high sensitivity to sight, sound and motion). [Detroit Free Press, 6-22- 04] [Reuters, 6-10-04]
  • The Key Underwood Memorial Graveyard near Cherokee, Ala., is reserved as hallowed ground for burial of genuine coon dogs, which must be judged authentic before their carcasses can be accepted, according to a December report in The Birmingham News. The Tennessee Valley Coon Hunters Association must attest to the dog’s having had the ability “to tree a raccoon.” (In March, a funeral for one coon dog at Key Underwood drew 200 mourners.) [Birmingham News, 12-30-2010]
  • A Portland, Ore., inventor recently began offering a colorful patch designed to cover the area just below a dog’s tail. The “Rear Gear” is featured on the handmade-crafts’ site, Etsy.com. [Portland Mercury, 3-29-10]
  • A 25-year-old woman was arrested for assault in Bremerton, Wash., in December after fighting with her boyfriend in the shower over whether the man’s dog could join them. The woman objected and said the arrangement would be a deal-breaker for their relationship, to which the boyfriend replied that he hoped his next girlfriend would appreciate the dog more. At that, according to police, she punched him several times in the face, and in their struggle, he dislocated his shoulder. [KOMO Radio-AP (Seattle), 12-28-07]
  • Dog owners trying to place their pooches with a day care service are encountering screening processes that resemble those for child admissions at elite preschools, according to a May Wall Street Journal report. Urban Tails, in Houston, requires a four-page “dog personality profile” and an evaluative “peer session” with other dogs. Dog Day Afternoons Country Day Prep in Boston requires two letters of reference, a seven-page application, and an “interview.” After her “Ghillie” was turned down by one service, a woman acknowledged to the reporter that maybe her dog is “not gifted.” [Wall Street Journal, 5-25-05]

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