Day 3 of Dog Jokes and Puns

What do dogs and cell phones have in common? Collar ID (I’ll be here all week, folks!) Send your grins and groans to Family-Minded.com


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These scientists believe small dogs lie about their body size when they pee

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Day 4 of Dog Jokes and Puns

I finally got back into a semi-upright position to continue with these groaners. (I know you’re all very happy!) What is a dog’s favorite kind of ice cream? Pupsicles! Thanks to the fine folks at Family Minded for keeping us entertained while I’m down and out.


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Stormy earns medal in Australia half marathon, gets taken to jail

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Extinct or Alive is Worth Your Time

extinct or alive

During the past few months, I’ve been watching Forrest Galante’s Extinct or Alive on Animal Planet, and I have been greatly impressed.  This show’s premise is kind of like Finding Bigfoot, but unlike that show,  there is actually a fairly good chance of finding the animal in question.

The first episode was a search for the Zanzibar leopard, an endemic subspecies of leopard that has been declared extinct for some time. Even the locals, some of whom include the leopard in their traditional religions, don’t believe they still exist.

But you know what? Galante’s team caught an image of one on a trail camera, and now there is serious talk about developing a conservation plan for this ende

This show uses lots of trail cameras and electronic animal calls, which are devices I know do work.

Two of the episodes were about cryptic wolves. One was about wolves in Newfoundland. Yes, the island, not Labrador.  That episode focused heavily on the wolf that was shot in Newfoundland back in 2012.  It may not have been the exact same subspecies of white wolf that lived in Newfoundland at the time of contact, but it clearly showed that at least one wolf had managed to cross the sea ice, just as coyotes did.

The team staked out several areas that looked promising for wolves, and they played an electronic caller. I know how frustrating waiting on a timid wild canid to respond to these calls can be, but in that episode, thermal footage of large wolf-like canids were captured.

The other episode that focused on wolves was the search for the Florida black wolf, a creature mentioned quite extensively by Bartram in his eighteenth century. The original claim was of a black panther in Florida, but Galante thought a wolf would be a more likely candidate.

The team did find a large canid track that matched a coyote’s track, but it was of exceptional large size. My guess is this track was left by a large Eastern coyote, many of which have wolf ancestry and, particularly in the Southeast, are often melanistic.

There was no discussion of red wolves on this episode, which I almost expected. I find discussions about red wolves a bit tedious, just because some of the assumptions behind their species status have been called into question.

And one issue is the red wolf paradigm has essentially removed the true wolves of the Southeast from the public discussion about wolves in North America. The wolves that lived in the Southeast were either red sable or melanistic, and melanism was such a common feature that Bartram reported not seeing a wolf of any other color in Florida.

Galante showed the image of the black wolf of Tensas, a remnant population of Southern black wolves that lived in Louisiana, that was captured by early trail camera by Tappan Gregory. These black wolves probably are the wolf component of the current hybrid red wolf, which are mostly coyote in ancestry now.

Melanism in in North America resulted from an ancient cross with a single dog that entered the wolf population, and melanism is associated with a stronger immune response. Wolves living in the humid subtropical South would have a selection for stronger immune systems to live in a place with lots of bacteria and worms.  These same factors, including the crossbreeding with domestic dogs, are likely playing a role in the spread of coyotes in the East. I have seen many images and photos of black coyotes, and virtually every single one of them is from a state in the humid subtropical South.

So though I doubt that that Galante would be able to find evidence of the original black wolf of Florida, I bet he very well could come across one of these large Southern melanistic coyotes that have both wolf and dog ancestry.

Maybe this animal is evolving in parallel to the older form with a different wolf stock at the base.

One other aspect of this show that I do enjoy is how much Galante goes out of  his way to look for other interesting animals. The season finale was about the search of the great auk in the Faroes, but he spent considerable time observing other seabird species. I happen to find puffins and guillemots quite fascinating, even if the great auk is likely lost to the ages.

Galante is an effective science communicator. His conservation message is as passionate but clear.  He is able to tell the story of the animal in question, and all the time, you’re truly hoping that one will appear on a trail camera or come coursing forth on the thermal imaging camera.

I have largely stopped watching wildlife documentaries because the quality just isn’t what they could be. I grew up watching all the old Survival Anglia nature films, and I almost expect the narrator to speak using received pronunciation, a bit of prejudice that Sir David Attenborough has made even worse for me.

I also dislike nature documentaries that are just pulpy and lack any real depth.

Extinct or Alive is a breath of fresh air. The show is truly about understanding the issues related to extinction and the concept of a Lazarus species, and it is exciting and entertaining at the same time.

So I am definitely looking forward to the next season this wonderful series. If you’re into this type of science-based natural history investigations, then I think you will be deeply impressed with Extinct or Alive.

I’ve not been this excited for a nature series since I was a teenager.

 

 

 

 

Natural History

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Saturday Survey: Your Dog’s Diet

I posted earlier this week about some potential problems with grain-free diets, and it got me to wondering what people feed their dogs. I am currently using the BARF (bones and raw food) diet, only because Penny is allergic to beef, so I can control ingredients better this way. Until next time, Good day, and […]


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5 Cooling Products for Dogs on Hot Summer Days

When the temperatures hit the triple digits–and stay there–it’s important to take extra precautions with your dog. We’ve got some serious heat predicted for the days ahead:…



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DogTipper

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Beefsicle Frozen Dog Treat Recipe

We first ran this recipe back in 2010…but with today’s temperature topping 108 degrees here, I thought it was time to bring this one out of the vaults! Always a favorite of Irie’s,…



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DogTipper

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We’re Back from Port Aransas!

I’ve been out this week; we took a three-night trip to Port Aransas with Barli and Tiki! This was our first time back since Hurricane Harvey–and our first time with Barli. He’s…



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DogTipper

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A Summertime Trip to the Rockies

A couple of weeks ago, we took a 10 day trip to Colorado. The kids and I spent most of the trip in Summit County, at 9,000+ feet elevation, right in the middle of the Rockies. Robbie spent half the trip up there with us (and his parents and brother’s family), and the other half working at Red Rocks outside of Morrison, where the band did a 3-night show. (The kids and I also went down to Red Rocks for a couple of the nights, which was a special treat.)

I used to live in Leadville (fairly close to where we stayed), and this part of the country holds some magical memories for me. The people in my life who I consider to be my best friends in the world were met during my time living there. And it’s truly one of the most physically beautiful places in the world. It was really wonderful to see some of my dearest friends, and to spend so much time with Robbie’s family as well. The kids had so much fun hanging out with their cousins. It was an easy, comfortable trip (well, aside from the flights with Emmett, who thinks sitting still on an airplane is the worst idea ever – but that’s a whole different story to tell).

This was also one of the only trips I’ve taken in the last few years where I took a real chunk of time off work. I’m so grateful for that time I had to recharge in such a tranquil place – especially because the morning after we returned home, one of my best friends in the world passed away after a year long battle with ALS. It was intense and beautiful to have just been in the place where he and I first met 23 years ago, less than a day before we had to say goodbye.

I miss living in the Colorado high country, but I also know that where we are now is where we’re meant to be. We hope to make this summertime trip to the mountains an annual thing though. It’s nice to get that mountain fix and then come back to home sweet home.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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