When a dogs loses its ability to hear, when a dog goes deaf, it is very much worse than for a human being. Dogs have acute hearing and it is one of their most profound senses, along with scent. For a search and rescue dog it is an absolute tragedy to lose this ability. Animals are their senses, as far as we know, they do not ponder thoughts like human beings do. So, when an animal is deprived of one of its key sensory components, it is like half of its reason for living has been taken away.
When Dogs Go Deaf
‘When dogs go deaf’, sounds like a line from a Prince song, or something out of Revelations. It is a sign of something not being right. When you train animals and live with them side by side every day of your life, you develop a deep appreciation of their essential selves. A dog will not betray your trust. No animal will lead you astray. What you see is what you get with an animal. It may be simpler, but it is, also, more profound. Some of the saddest things I have ever seen are deaf animals.
Hearing difficulties in dogs and other animals can be caused by infection and disease, but it is most often caused by exposure to very loud noises. Exploding bombs can traumatise their ear drums and result in deafness. Dogs used in the military in war zones can suffer permanent damage like this and are usually put down. Some in the business, say that it is more humane to euthanise an animal in this situation, than to subject it to half a life. It is a contentious issue, just the same, and not something any of us rush into.
Dogs are vital to search and rescue operations, and we understand that we are putting the lives of these animals at risk, but that is the name of the game really. Emergency services’ individuals put their lives on the line to try and save the lives of those who have fallen victim to danger. Search and rescue is all about danger and potential death; we hope through our training, and the training of the dogs, that we will both overcome those things, but sometimes we do not. Deafness in dogs is a tragedy and the work occasionally causes this, but we do everything in our power to avoid these eventualities.
Human beings may well have the biggest brains, in mammals relative to our size, but we are not always the best choice for absolutely every situation. Sometimes it is all about physicality, rather than pure intelligence, which gets the job done. Search and rescue, often, produces those exact conditions, and animals, especially trained dogs, laude it over their human rivals. These exceptional dogs are able to focus their entire physical skills into meeting and overcoming the extreme challenges that they can face in search and rescue situations.
Four Legs Better Than Two for Search and Rescue
I remember one salient example with a dog named Nancy, where a mountaineer had fallen into a crevice in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. Unbelievably at that same time a firestorm was raging through this area and the mountaineer was trapped at the bottom of this crevice. No human being could reach this gentleman and helicopters could not land anywhere near him. We had to make a decision, so, we sent in the dogs and Nancy was the first on the scene. She found his scent despite the smoke and flames tearing through the forested region.
It was not over though, Nancy has to get down to this individual who was injured and trapped at the bottom of this crevice. Fire was all around her and no human could have dealt with the heat, smoke and fear generated by this extreme set of circumstances. Mastering fear can be crucial to a search and rescue operation, if the security and safety of the victim is to be locked down. Nancy, employing all the skills of her training and natural physicality, leapt through flames down a thirty foot drop to land by the injured mountaineer. She then, dragged the man to eventual safety for some three hours.
No man or woman, no matter how well trained, could have performed this task. Only a dog, an extremely well-trained dog, that’s for sure, could have achieved this successful and life-saving outcome. Four legs are better than two for search and rescue at times and in situations like these. A good dog beats a good human hands down when it comes to jumping, leaping, moving really rapidly and facing death defying danger. We could not perform the search and rescue missions that we do without their enormous contribution. Not only man’s best friend, but often his champion, too.
Training dogs for the police force is no small thing. It is a lengthy process that involves multiple handlers and candidate dogs. These incredible dogs are put through their paces over hazardous courses and in mock confrontations with dangerous human elements. It all begins with obedience training, where the dogs are instructed to sit, stay down, heel and recall. These basic control orders lay the groundwork for the later more complex performances. Here the handler bonds with the dog and trust is built up between them. Get this right and they can go on to greater heights.
Training Inspector Rex: Bark & Bite
Next, comes the challenging obstacle course, where dogs are exposed to simulations of emergency situations. The dog may be required to leap into a body of water and swim to a target located on the other bank. There might be a fire and the dog must remain under control and ready to respond to a handler’s order. All these situations are to get the dogs to perform under duress, as it would be in an emergency rescue of some type. The bond between handler and dog must be able to withstand the stress during these encounters.
In the False Run, a trained police dog will be exposed to human elements running at them with the seeming intent of hurting the dog. Despite the threatening behaviour of the perceived risk the trained dog will not attack until commanded to do so by his handler. The restraint exercised is the mark of the well trained police dog. When the dog is finally instructed to attack, it will attack the assailant until commanded to stand down or until the assailant gives up. The trained police dog will then stay guarding the assailant, whilst the police officer gets assistance.
Police dogs are also trained in tracking and searching suspects. Investigation training is one of the most important tasks they perform for police. They can be trained as specialist explosive detection dogs and/or narcotic detection dogs. Utilising the heightened canine sensory ability to smell out things, these dogs can track and sniff out contraband and dangerous substances. These dogs are not fazed by gunfire or any other loud noises or distractions. They are trained to remain focused on the job at hand no matter what. Training Inspector Rex: Bark & bite is what this is all about and he will not let you down. Nefarious elements are no match for this four legged police officer and they will soon be prostrating themselves before Inspector Rex.
It still comes as a surprise to some every time they hear that animals also receive medication from alternative medicine like acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic. For instance, vet clinics in Australia like Complete Chiro Care, offers chiropractic treatment and services to animals.
Animal Chiropractic, Anyone?
Like humans, animals also need chiropractic care. Animal chiropractic refers to the area of animal health care that is focused on the protection and health of the animals’ neuro-musculo-skeletal system. The whole process is characterised as “a gentle and effective form of medication that lets animals to harness and use their own healing potentials.”
Similar to us, the animals’ nervous system is in charge of the body’s functions, such as the motor and sensory movements. Since the nervous system is interlinked to the spine down to our muscles and body parts, a veterinary chiropractic is concerned primarily on the link between the spine and the body’s functions, and how this link impinges on the protection and restoration of the animal’s health.
Chiropractic Therapy on Animals
According to Organic Pet Digest, 80 percent of dogs who have undergone chiropractic therapy felt some kind of respite. When your dog is having trouble jumping, standing or laying down; has dry eyes; or seemed to have weak legs at the front, your canine may be suffering from spinal dysfunction. What animal chiropractors can do is patch up the dog’s muscles so that the joints can shift without restraint.
Aside from dogs, other animals can also benefit from chiropractic therapy. Sore pets, aged pets having rigid joints, animals that compete in sports, obese animals and even those who have had surgery are encouraged to go through chiropractic treatment. More so, chiropractic care in animals can resolve, cure or get rid of some skin diseases, problems in the urinary tract and behavioural matters.
Is it Safe?
As long as you have consultations with a certified animal chiropractor, expect that everything will be okay. At first, the idea of spinal alignment seems bloodcurdling. Rest assured, a simple vertebral alignment will only result to minimal discomfort on the part of the animal.
Chiropractic care for the animals presents a drug-free and non-surgical approach in bringing back the health and well-being of your animals.
Dogs are said to be man’s best friend. Maybe because they are loyal and will help you in time of dire need. For instance, dogs can be the ears of the deaf, eyes of the blind, navigators of those on wheelchairs, therapy dogs of children with physical and mental disabilities, and serve as disability aids of people who are sick and vulnerable.
- Eye Dogs
These dogs for the blind are trained to guide their owners on how they can go around road obstacles safe and sound. Moreover, eye dogs are taught “intelligent disobedience.” In here, canines can discern when to disobey their owner’s instructions that can lead them from precarious or dangerous situations (e.g. walking along a crowded street).
- Hearing Dogs
When inside the house, hearing dogs inform/warn their owners on common household sounds or noises that are essential in being self-reliant and out of harm’s way. For example, if someone rang the door bell, the hearing dog will make a physical contact to its owner and then will show the way towards the source of the sound.
- Assistance Dogs for Those on Wheelchairs
Also referred to as mobility assistance dogs, they do an array of tasks for those on wheelchairs. Some include pushing the switch to unbolt automatic doors, picking up items that fell on the ground and fetching things. In addition, these dogs are trained on how to lug the wheelchair when on a ramp.
- Therapy Dogs
In most cases, therapy dogs are assigned to kids with mental and physical impairments or to the elderly. These dogs are gentle chums that usually lie when cosseted and are frequent visitors of hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, hospice, rehabilitation facilities and home for the aged.
- Alert Dogs
An example of an alert dog is diabetes dogs. These service dogs are the pals of people with Type 1 diabetes who have hypoglycaemic unawareness. What they do is alert their owners when they recognise the symptoms of hypoglycaemia.
Another kind of an alert dog is seizure alert dogs. Like the diabetes dogs, seizure alert dogs alert their owners when a seizure is about to happen. The dog may warn its owner either by barking or physical contact.
- Military Service Dogs
Military service dogs have undergone a special training for war veterans or soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or physical impairments. These service dogs help their owners to become self-reliant, aside from detection and prevention of PTSD episodes.
It is a well-known fact that a a strong bond connects the owners to their pets and vice-versa. Because of this, our pets, especially the dogs, have become effective assistance animals and loyal companions. For instance, the visually impaired, those who are hard of hearing, and the elderly count on guide dogs in doing some of their day-to-day activities. In addition, a research conducted by Dr. Karen Allen of the University of New York in Buffalo shows that assistance dogs can cut back at least $13,000 of the government’s appropriations on health services.
Apart from providing companionship, here are some benefits that guide dogs can give:
1. Assuage the mental illness of the elderly
Dogs are not only fun to be around, but they can also help take the edge off of some of the stresses of old people who are suffering from mental conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. When a person who is troubled with dementia has anxiety bursts, cute puppies help in mollifying them. Moreover, having an involvement with dogs can pique the appetite of our old folks.
2. Can serve as an alert dog
An article from BBC reported that a dog in Kent functions as an assistance dog and an alert dog. The canine named Hetty, had undergone seizure alert training through the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Support Dogs UK. Because of this, Hetty can predict an epilepsy episode 42 minutes before it actually occurs.
3. Lend a hand to farmers with disabilities
Through the dogs trained by PHARM Dog USA, farmers who are visually impaired can still grow some crops and tend their farm. Canines of certain breeds were taught how to recover tools, carry buckets, and open the gates for blind farmhands.
4. Help deaf people
The so-called ‘hearing dogs’ help deaf people to recognise and respond to some sounds. For example, when someone rang the doorbell or when the fire alarm was set off, these dogs know how they will draw the attention of their owners.
5. Make people feel better
According to a study, 71 percent of the respondents, who are mainly composed of the elderly, claimed that having a dog companion makes them feel better. The same study also revealed that animal companionship may save at least 30,000 lives each year. Moreover, old folks who live with dogs have lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol compared with those who do not.
Dogs are not just cute, but they are also helpful in search and rescue operations because of their smell and hearing senses. In fact, a research from the Louisiana State University asserted that dogs hear better compared with us. But why is that?
If you’re quite observant, you will notice that dogs have a habit of suddenly pricking their ears or moving their ears towards a certain direction. This means that they heard something even if you clearly didn’t. To be fair, they are four times more sensitive to sounds than us.
Dog Ears versus Human Ears
One of the factors that make dogs more perceptive to sounds is their ear muscles. Canines have 18 muscles in their ears that let them rotate, tilt, or lift up and down their organs for hearing. Because of this, they can pinpoint where the sounds are coming from. On the other hand, humans only have six ear muscles that allow us to slightly move our ears.
The location of a dog’s ears also contributes to their reactivity to sound waves. Their ears are on top of their heads while ours lie flat on both sides of our head. Theirs are also longer, which means their era canals are also longer. With this, canines can locate the sound and perceive it unerringly even at a greater distance.
Moreover, the frequency of sounds that a dog can hear plays a part in its auditory processing. The frequency range for a domestic dog, for instance, is around 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz. For humans, it is at 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Hearing Problems in Dogs
Like humans, dogs also lose their hearing senses as they get older. That being said, there are dog breeds that are susceptible to deafness and hearing disorders. There is a BAER test which dogs for the hard of hearing go through to measure the extent of the hearing loss and determine the activities in their brain’s auditory pathway.
One of the most common causes of hearing loss in dogs is ear infection. To prevent this from happening, always check their ears and the folds on their ears. When dogs age, there are manifestations of tumors or nerve damage. Trauma also contributes to deafness in dogs.
Like we always say, prevention is better than cure. If you observe that there’s a problem with your dog, particularly on their hearing senses, you should consult your vet as soon as possible. Nevertheless, properly caring for your dogs will protect them from diseases or conditions such as hearing loss.
Dogs are among the most intelligent animals in the world. But are they smarter than us? Well, in some cases, they are. Akin to human intelligence, canine intelligence comes in varying forms. We may not be fully aware of it, but dogs are capable of doing things that show they are indeed smart.
According to a journal article published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, the level of our perception that dogs are intelligent depends on our personal relationship with the pooch. Also from the same study, 25 percent of the respondents are convinced that their dogs are smarter than other people. Here are some reasons why our pet dogs are smarter than us:
1. They live without looking back at the past and worrying about the future.
Dogs live in the moment. They only use or access their information bank when called for. On the contrary, humans always muse on the past thinking what they did wrong; what they should’ve done. Past is past; it has gone by.
Another thing that humans are so anxious about is the future. Like dogs, humans should live in the present and not worry that much about the past and what lies ahead.
2. They conquer what worries them and do not hold on to bad feeling (well, with other dogs).
Dogs, like other domesticated animals such as horses and cats, can overcome their trepidations or uneasiness through love. You may have heard of narratives of belligerent dogs that metamorphosed into mellow and gentle pooches after being housed in a loving environment. Truly, love triumphs. In humans, the first step in overcoming our fears and insecurities is by loving ourselves. Life will be plain sailing if self-love will supersede our fears in life.
Canines also don’t resent their owners when they’re not fed or when owners do not play with them. Our bad feelings and resentments are heavy burdens that slow us down from going on with our lives.
3. They love without reservations.
Whatever happens, dogs will love us unreservedly. They get excited when they see us, even if we’re moping or in low spirits. Even if we yell at them, they harbour no grudge against us. Loving others wholeheartedly and without questions ain’t that easy. That being said, if the world we live in is thriving with unconditional love, who wouldn’t want to live in it?
Yes, dogs can’t solve complex mathematical problems or synthesise organic compounds. But they have certain behaviours that make them more intelligent than us.
Home fires in the United States leave at least 2,500 casualties and injure around 12,600 Americans every year. Consequently, direct property losses are estimated at $7.3 billion. In Australia, one of the most common causes of house fires is bushfire. As a matter of fact, Australia’s worst bushfire ever ravaged thousand of houses and killed 173 people.
Fire Safety and Prevention
If and when your house is on fire, what should you do?
Too often that people try to save their valuables in a fire situation, when all that truly matters is your life and the lives of your loved ones. In fact, an online survey showed that 55 percent of the respondents would first grab their things if their house was on fire. Yes, you might be watching your first home buyer’s loan go up in smoke, but that isn’t what matters.
Here are some tips on what to do in case your house or is on fire:
- Immediately ask for help. You can call 911, which is the national telephone number for emergency situations that need assistance from firemen, policemen and medics.
- Alert your children or family members and lead them to safety.
- Check your door. If it’s hot, stay away from it. If it’s wide open and you noticed the smoke or fire, shut it right away.
- Block the smoke from coming inside. Plaster the small opening underneath your door with blankets or towels to slow down the progress of the smoke from entering your room.
- Get low and creep towards the window. If you’re on the ground floor or second floor, open your window and throw some beddings or cushions to the ground. These will minimise your injuries as you jump from your burning house.
- If your clothes catch fire, do not panic. Lie down, cover yourself with a blanket and roll around.
Listed below are things you can do to prevent house fires:
- Don’t leave the kitchen when you are cooking.
- Always ensure that objects that can catch fire easily are far from your stove. Examples are paper towels and pot holders.
- Check for damaged or tattered appliance cords and replace them at once.
- If you use fireplace or wood stoves, make sure that the fire is completely out before you sleep or go out.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
- As much as possible, avoid using lighted candles.
Did you know that every breed and variety of the modern dog is descended from the grey wolf? Which is quite amazing when you think about it and picture that toy poodle, sausage dog, and every other type of yap yap dog. Wolves are smart, some say they are cunning, and they often hunt in packs. The wolf is a highly intelligent animal; and the dog that most resembles its original forefather is the German Shepherd or Alsatian. You will often find one of this breed of dog working as a guard dog or with the police or armed services. Why Search and Rescue dogs are crucial to our safety is directly linked to their origin.
Why Search and Rescue Dogs Are Crucial to Our Safety
Dogs are easily humankind’s best friend. We domesticated the grey wolf some thirty thousand years ago and since then our dogs have accompanied us on our journey through life. Dogs helped us hunt and helped us to domesticate other animals like sheep, goats and cattle. Dogs as we all know are incredibly loyal to their human masters. Indeed, sometimes the dogs are too good for their human owners. The great ancient thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus often discussed our relationship to animals, and there was great debate in ancient Greece and Rome about the place of animals in the greater scheme of things. Dogs have skills that we do not possess and in areas like search and rescue they really come to the fore.
Search and Rescue dogs are highly trained dogs that will be employed to search for missing people in disasters spanning from earthquakes to fires. Without donations, these dogs would not be able to be trained with the skills needed to rescue people from danger. Dogs are needed for search and rescue efforts, as they have an ‘air scent’ which humans do not. It is crucial that we keep supporting those who train the dogs, as dogs can cover larger amounts of ground than what a human could, leading to missing persons being found faster. Many search and rescue services, just like ours, wouldn’t exist without the help of Corporate Sponsors; and we would like to say a special thank you to them. We love our dogs; and our sponsors understand that it is not cheap to train them for this kind of specialised work. The work they do is important for our very survival; and together we can all make a difference during these potentially tragic times.