Inner Strength

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,

If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these things,

Then you are probably the family dog.

My prior posts regarding the Moscow stray dogs was so popular, I decided to find a little bit more information regarding them. I was saddened to learn there have been sterilization programs aimed at these animals.


As many as 35,000 stray dogs live in Russia’s capital city. They can be found everywhere, from markets to construction sites to underground passageways, scrounging for food and trying to survive.

Taking the subway is just one of many tactics the strays have come up with for surviving in the manmade wilderness around them.

Author Eugene Linden, who has been writing about animal intelligence for 40 years, told ABC News that Moscow’s resourceful stray dogs are just one of what are now thousands of recorded examples of wild, feral and domesticated animals demonstrating what appears, at least, to be what humans might call flexible open-ended reasoning and conscious thought.

Linden cites a wide variety of creatures ranging from captive orangutans and otters who frequently and slyly “trade” with their keepers, to a British cat famous for regularly taking the bus to a squirrel in Oklahoma who became a local hero when people began to notice that it regularly obeyed traffic signals when crossing a busy street.

“The take-away is that animals are not just passive in this,” Linden told ABC News. “They are figuring out what we’re about and how they can game the system, and work it to their advantage as well.”

Moscow’s strays have also been observed obeying traffic lights, says Vereshchagin. He and Poyarkov report the strays have developed a variety of techniques for hunting food in the wild metropolis.

Sometimes a pack will send out a smaller, cuter member apparently realizing it will be more successful at begging than its bigger, less attractive counterparts.
Another trick the researchers report seeing is the bark-and-grab: a dog will suddenly jump up behind a person in the street who is holding some snack, enough of a surprise that the food gets dropped for the grabbing.

The female we followed on the Kievskaya Line seemed at ease as she traveled among all the people packed in around her, and with reason: Moscow’s subway strays even have their own statue in the Mendeleyevskaya station.

It commemorates Malchik, a stray who lived there until he was stabbed by a fashion model in 2002 who didn’t like how Malchik barked at her terrier.

Outraged Muscovites erected the statue. Passersby now rub the Malchik’s shiny bronze nose for good luck.

Despite this public admiration for the strays and their survival skills, many Muscovites still see the tens of thousands of homeless dogs as a big problem.

“We have to solve it,” Anastasia Markina of the Alliance for Animal Rights of Moscow said. “They’re not guilty that they became homeless. We should solve this problem in a humane way.”

There have been sterilization campaigns, and city dogcatchers manage to get some strays into pounds, but it’s all had little effect on the overall stray population.

Vereshchagin thinks that Moscow’s residents need to accept the dogs as a part of life in the city.

“It’s not really easy to completely move the dogs out of the streets,” he says. “I guess we just have to… learn how to live with them.”

The stray dogs of Moscow - including those who use the subway - have themselves already done a lot to work for peaceful coexistence.

9 Things your Dog wants to tell You

“I want to protect you.”

You may think your dog belongs to you, but you belong to your dog, as well. That means he is going to claim you and protect you. “When he’s sitting on your foot, it’s an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he’s marking your foot,” says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the L.A.-based non profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals. “It’s not just that he wants to be close to you, he’s saying, ‘This is mine; now it smells like me, don’t go near it.’ He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you.” To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. “There’s a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there,” Brent says.

“I can sense when you’re in a bad mood.”

Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel—and feel it, too. “It goes without saying, when you’re stressed, they’re more stressed; when you’re happier, they’re happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner,” says Marty Becker, DVM, pet expert at Vetstreet.com. “They sit there and study you.” This relationship works the other way, too: If you want to make your pooch relax, you know just where to scratch; if you want to be more playful, you know how to pet him. “You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog,” Dr. Becker says.

“I need more exercise!”

If she’s eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. “That’s where we see a lot of behavioral issues with dogs in households,” Brent says. This is particularly true for active breeds, such as herding or hunting dogs. “The Dalmatian was trained to be a hunting dog. You can’t take an animal that’s used to running eight miles a day, put it in an apartment, and expect it to be OK. If your dog’s destroying stuff, he’s saying, ‘I’m bored, you need to give me something to do.’” While exercise is important—dogs should receive 45 to 60 minutes of physical exercise and 15 minutes of behavioral training per day—Dr. Becker says you can also play mental games to keep your pooch entertained. Make her play search-and-seek games for her food or even use food puzzles that she has to solve before her meal is dispensed.

“I’m scared you won’t come back.”


While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house—just to let you know you’re forgetting someone—some dogs have a much more serious reaction. “If you watch a video of a dog with separation anxiety, it’ll tear your heart out. It’s like the kid lost at the mall without his parents,” Dr. Becker says. “They freak out. They think you’re not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they’ll tear up the doorframe, they’re destructive. If you come home and they’ve had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action.” Dr. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try these training intervals: Put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds. Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It’s also helpful to give your dog a treat before you leave, or feed him using an interactive food puzzle to keep him distracted.

“I can tell when you’re not feeling well.”

It’s a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. And new evidence has found that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including cancer, as well as seizures related to epilepsy. “We know that there’s a chemical marker that a few dogs are detecting, just like they can detect bed bugs, mold, peanuts, drugs and explosives,” Dr. Becker says. “They can smell the ketones on a diabetic’s breath when their sugar is low. For epileptics [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm’s way.” Some canines are even more naturally empathetic to humans. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs, providing affection to those in need, while also sensing—and being able to react to—health problems. “Some people just need a dog to lay still with them; others need a reason to get out of the bed. It’s the weirdest thing how therapy dogs know when to [move] close or far away,” says Dr. Becker.

“Pay attention when I’m not myself.”

It’s important to pay attention to your pooch’s behavior because if something seems amiss, he’s probably not feeling well. “You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain or worse,” says Dr. Becker. “I call it ‘Dog-ter Mom,’ because 80% of caregivers for pets are women. You just need to pay attention to your intuition.” That means noticing behavior that’s out of the norm: he’s not as playful as usual, he’s acting aggressively, he has trouble getting up or isn’t eating properly. “You want to pay particular attention to eating habits,” Dr. Becker says. “Food is their currency. If he isn’t eating enough or is eating too much, if he’s drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that’s losing weight, then something’s wrong.”

“I need a routine, but with a little variety.”

They say that a dog’s mental capacity is that of a toddler; and just like a toddler, dogs thrive on routine. “Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don’t know how to react,” Brent says. A general routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run, says Dr. Becker. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show. “You don’t want them to force how the clock works,” he says. If they do, it’s likely that your dog will “insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. Vary it up. If you control their food, you control them—in a good way.”

“Be clear when I’m doing something wrong.”

Correcting your dog is important—and how you do it is key. Avoid explaining your dog’s behavior to him, or using a calm voice. Take a firm (not mean) tone and be direct. “Dogs respond to tone. If you say, ‘No!’ while a bad action is happening, you’re going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards,” Brent says. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action, and in the same way every time. “If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you can’t wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You can’t wait until you get home,” Brent says. “That says putting down the leash means a treat, instead of the action [you’re trying to reinforce].”

“I’m not a human.”

There’s no doubt your dog is part of the family—but that doesn’t mean she should be treated like a person. “Thinking your dog has the motivation of a person is the number one problem I see,” says Gina Spadafori, pet columnist and executive editor of the PetConnection.com. Whether your dog eliminates in the house or chews up the remote, the cause has nothing to do with revenge. “It’s not an emotional or rational response. It’s either a lack of training, illness or a stress reaction that can be triggered by a change in the house,” Spadafori says. So if your dog is acting out, start by trying to find the root cause. Is she sick, improperly trained or has there been a recent change in routine? Once you locate the cause, understanding and correcting her behavior will be much easier.

Each morning, like clockwork, they board the subway, off to begin their daily routine amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
But these aren’t just any daily commuters. These are stray dogs who live in the outskirts of Moscow Russia and commute on the underground trains to and from the city centre in search of food scraps. 

Then after a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night. 

Experts studying the dogs, who usually choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train, say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop – after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train. 

Scientists believe this phenomenon began after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, and Russia’s new capitalists moved industrial complexes from the city centre to the suburbs. 

Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, said: “These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the dogs had to move together with their houses. Because the best scavenging for food is in the city centre, the dogs had to learn how to travel on the subway – to get to the centre in the morning, then back home in the evening, just like people.” 

Dr Poiarkov told how the dogs like to play during their daily commute. He said: “They jump on the train seconds before the doors shut, risking their tails getting jammed. They do it for fun. And sometimes they fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop.” 

The dogs have also amazingly learned to use traffic lights to cross the road safely, said Dr Poiarkov. And they use cunning tactics to obtain tasty morsels of shawarma, a kebab-like snack popular in Moscow. 

With children the dogs “play cute” by putting their heads on youngsters’ knees and staring pleadingly into their eyes to win sympathy – and scraps. 

Dr Poiarkov added: “Dogs are surprisingly good psychologists.”

Each morning, like clockwork, they board the subway, off to begin their daily routine amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

But these aren’t just any daily commuters. These are stray dogs who live in the outskirts of Moscow Russia and commute on the underground trains to and from the city centre in search of food scraps.

Then after a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

Experts studying the dogs, who usually choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train, say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop – after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train.

Scientists believe this phenomenon began after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, and Russia’s new capitalists moved industrial complexes from the city centre to the suburbs.

Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, said: “These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the dogs had to move together with their houses. Because the best scavenging for food is in the city centre, the dogs had to learn how to travel on the subway – to get to the centre in the morning, then back home in the evening, just like people.”

Dr Poiarkov told how the dogs like to play during their daily commute. He said: “They jump on the train seconds before the doors shut, risking their tails getting jammed. They do it for fun. And sometimes they fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop.”

The dogs have also amazingly learned to use traffic lights to cross the road safely, said Dr Poiarkov. And they use cunning tactics to obtain tasty morsels of shawarma, a kebab-like snack popular in Moscow.

With children the dogs “play cute” by putting their heads on youngsters’ knees and staring pleadingly into their eyes to win sympathy – and scraps.

Dr Poiarkov added: “Dogs are surprisingly good psychologists.”

11 Countries who still eat Dog Meat

Eleven countries around the globe still eat dog meat. They are: China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic and two cantons in Switzerland.

China: Although the Chinese were the first to domesticate the dog and keep them as pets, dog meat has been a source of food from at least the time of Confucius, and possibly even before.

Indonesia: Eating dog meat is usually associated with people from the Batak Toba culture, who cook a traditional dish named saksang that is like a dog-meat stew.

Mexico: Dogs were historically bred for their meat by the Aztecs. These dogs were called itzcuintlis, and were often pictured on pre-Columbian Mexican pottery.

Philippines: In the capital city of Manila,the law specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food except in certain circumstances including research and animal population control.

Polynesia: Dogs were historically eaten in Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia at the time of first European contact in 1769.

Taiwan: Dog meat in Taiwan is particularly eaten in the winter months, especially black dogs, which are believed to help retain body warmth.

Korea: Gaegogi literally means ‘dog meat’ in Korean. Gaegogi, however, is often mistaken as the term for Korean soup made from dog meat, bosintang. The distaste felt by dog lovers, particularly from the West, has made this dish very controversial.

Switzerland: According to a Swiss newspaper report in 1996, the Swiss rural cantons of Appenzell and St. Gallen are known to have had a tradition of eating dogs, curing dog meat into jerky and sausages, as well as using the lard for medicinal purposes.

Vietnam: Dog meat is eaten throughout Vietnam. To many Northerners, it is a popular, if relatively expensive, dinnertime restaurant meal.

Arctic and Antarctic: Dogs have historically been an emergency food source for various peoples in Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Sled dogs are usually maintained for pulling sleds, but occasionally are eaten when no other food is available.

mothernaturenetwork:

Dog mourns fallen Navy SEAL: Labrador retriever Hawkeye, with a heaving sigh, lays by the casket of his owner, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, during the funeral at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School on Aug. 19 in Rockford, Iowa. Tumilson was one of 38 killed on Aug. 6 when a rocket-propelled grenade took out a U.S. Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.

mothernaturenetwork:

Dog mourns fallen Navy SEAL: Labrador retriever Hawkeye, with a heaving sigh, lays by the casket of his owner, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, during the funeral at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School on Aug. 19 in Rockford, Iowa.
 
Tumilson was one of 38 killed on Aug. 6 when a rocket-propelled grenade took out a U.S. Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.