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New research finds the genetic basis for the unusual appearance of certain dog breeds—Boston terriers, bulldogs, and French bulldogs—and links it to a rare inherited syndrome in humans.

With their small size, stubby faces and wide-set eyes, bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers are among the most popular of domestic dog breeds. Now researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine have found the genetic basis for these dogs’ appearance, and linked it to a rare inherited syndrome in humans. 

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Did you think he was dying?” Bill asks me this morning, about Homer, my thirteenand-a-half-year-old Golden.

“Yes,” I say. “I was afraid of that.”

So let’s back up a bit.

Yesterday morning, the sun was out after a day of rain. A sunny day in October is an offering nobody should pass up. I decided that I would go to Wisconsin, to Hartford, where I once had a second home. It would be a nice day trip, a chance to look at the leaves, but mostly it would be a chance for Homer to get out of the house and out of his cone of shame, as they call it. He’s been wearing it for weeks, because he won’t leave his paw alone. The antibiotics are working but not as fast as we’d like, and the healing is not made better by him licking it. Each day we give him a chance; he blows it, and the cone goes on.

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Which traits are essential?

For those seeking any kind of relationship, it’s wise to consider the traits that are preferred, but only some of those are essential—the so-called non-negotiables. In romantic relationships, we may have a long list of desirable qualities, but usually there are only a few that we can’t compromise on. Perhaps your requirements are that the person be an honest, non-smoking dog lover who shares your attitude about whether to have kids or not. Whether they like horror films, are a morning person or know how to cook could be pluses, but lacking any of those qualities may not a deal breaker for you.

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She wrote eloquently about nature and her beloved dogs

Poet Mary Oliver has died at age 83 at her home in Florida. Much loved for her poems of the natural and spiritual worlds, she believed that poetry “mustn’t be fancy.” Her clear-eyed, plain spoken use of language, not only won her a legion of loyal readers but also a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

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The death of a beloved dog is a heavy emotional loss. In 1940, American playwright Eugene O’Neill faced that very thing when his faithful old Dalmatian, Blemie (short for Silverdine Emblem O’Neill), came to the end of his life. To comfort both himself and his wife, Carlotta, in their grief, he composed a bittersweet essay of remembrances in the form of a last will and testament. In the essay, O’Neill adopted Blemie’s point of view, imagining his thoughts during his final days. In it, Blemie considers the approaching eventuality with quiet dignity, and worries about the effect on his loving master and mistress. As a lesson in life and its conclusion, his words are a balm for any reader’s grief.

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Dog's name and age: Molly, 6 years

What are your dog's nicknames? Mollydog, molls, best puppy dog in the whole wide world

Adoption story:
I had found my previous Great Pyrenees mix, Roxy, by signing up for a search on the Adopt-A-Pet.com website for Bernese Mountain Dog rescues. Roxy had been listed as a Great Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog mix. I never canceled the search, not long after Roxy died, they sent me a notice of a Bernese Mountain Dog (Molly) available in my town that had been surrendered to a local Boxer(!) rescue. It was fate!
 

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Rising from a nondescript field along eastbound Interstate 80, halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, is a freestanding 20-by-20-foot mural of a farmer kneeling next to a dog. The shaped painting on wood is by artist Colleen Gnos, a SoCal resident who grew up in nearby Dixon, a small farming community.

The monumental work, titled Stewards of the Soil, is Gnos’s salute to local farmers, known for their crops of sunflowers, watermelon and alfalfa; herds of cattle and sheep; and orchards of walnuts and almonds. The roadside work of art is a welcome sight to commuters, a pleasing visual break from the many casino billboards and shopping malls that dot the landscape.

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Multiple ways dogs matter to this teen

Jayme Closs of Barron, Wisc. was found 88 days after being abducted, allegedly by a man who murdered her parents to make it easier to take her. Her escape and return to the small town have been reported widely in the press, most often with a photo her aunt posted on Facebook. The photo features Jayme, her aunt and Jayme’s dog.

The presence of Jayme’s dog in the photo has been mentioned in nearly every headline celebrating Jayme’s safe return. Here are some sample headlines:

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The Bark Magazine - Dog Blog by Doris Westberg - 1w ago
In Their Voices

The doors burst open at 10 am. Being the longest resident in the shelter, I had the routine down pat. I curled up in my comfy bed, like a fox, to take a snooze. As usual, they walked by my kennel gate ignoring me … ditto!

After the early morning rush of kindly folks putting dibs on their choices of “dog gaters” as I called them (the more social, outgoing dogs who knew how to sell themselves at their kennel gates), all became quiet again. Still snoozing, I heard her pick up my clipboard in front of my gate. Could it be that this would be THE day? Nah, don’t get your hopes up, kid, I told myself.

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Book Review
By Tia Torres

From wolf hybrids to Pit Bulls to parolees —Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls & Parolees star Tia Torres rarely takes the path of least resistance. No stranger to dysfunction and controversy, she seems to thrive on engaging with what others might see as intractable problems.

For example, in the early 1990s, she established Villalobos Rescue Center for wolves and wolf hybrids at Agua Dulce, Calif., north of LA. Over time, another group of underdogs — Pit Bulls — became its primary residents. In 2006, she began employing parolees to care for and work with the dogs. By 2009, when Pit Bulls & Parolees debuted, Villalobos was sheltering multitudes of Pit Bulls and providing work for numerous parolees. Then, she relocated the whole operation to New Orleans.

As a champion of underdogs both human and canine, she sees her mission as shattering stereotypes. She is committed to rehabilitating Pit Bulls’ undeserved bad rep after falling for a burly little nub-eared girl she named Tatanka. This memoir is part of that work. Her stories of individual dogs— their quirks, skills and special natures—are truly heartfelt.

In the introduction, Torres says, “I can only be Tia—no other options have ever presented themselves.” Clearly, as far as the dogs and the people who care for them are concerned, “being Tia” is way more than enough.

Issue 96: Winter 2018
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