This fellow with the kindly face is named Bruno. He's a nervous guy with a number of fears including the wind, blowing leaves, loud noises, and most especially the trash truck. After his original family divorced, Bruno was placed in a Boxer rescue where he soon found a home. His first family were busy people with important jobs, so poor Bruno was confined to a crate for huge portions of the day. He's much too big a dog for such confinement. Crates can be very helpful things, but I don't feel dogs should stay in them for hours and hours and hours at a time.
Bruno was adopted by his new family to provide companionship for Buttercup.
I wrote about Buttercup in a previous POST. Sadly, Buttercup acquired cancer and passed away not long ago. She was a sweet girl and is greatly missed. Bruno misses her too, but is now becoming familar with his only dog status.
Bruno is not completely alone though.
This little blown glass object is a biosphere. It contains two shrimp who may live up to ten years! I never knew shrimp could live so long. I'm told the biosphere initially housed fourteen shrimp, but all mysteriously disappeared save the last two. It's a shrimp eat shrimp world. Biospheres are sealed worlds that require monitored amounts of light to avoid an ecological breakdown within their system. I like it!
Bruno in his yard.
I'm looking forward to knowing Bruno and the shrimp for many years!
I would like to introduce a brand new friend of mine named Lily Sparkle. Though Lily is a Labradoodle, she's much more Lab than Doodle. Unlike the typical hypoallergenic Labradoodle, Lily sheds (and generates sneezes) like you wouldn't believe. Regardless of the flying fur, Lily's a sweetheart and her family loves her very much.
Though I grew up on Cape Cod, I never saw a gray seal. Back in the sixties and seventies, gray seals were rarely, if ever, seen on the Cape. This is no longer the case. Thousands of gray seals now rest on the beaches, have pups, and eat incalculable amounts of fish. They've also become attractive target practice for someone with a gun. During the past two months, six seals have washed ashore dead from bullet wounds. The shooter could be a disgruntled fisherman angry about unwanted competition, or an unstable gun owner looking for sick fun. Either way, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 makes it illegal to kill a marine mammal. If this individual is caught, he could receive up to a year in jail, and a fine of $100,000 per seal. At least the seals are now protected. Between the years 1888-1908 and 1919-1962, the state of Massachusetts paid a bounty of $1.00 to $5.00 for every seal nose turned in to authorities. Though fishermen may not like the seals, the majority of residents do, and are upset by the killings. The seals are also popular among the tourists. I hope the shooter is soon found, as individuals cruel to animals are often cruel to people as well. More information about the killings can be found HERE.
Childrens' lives are enriched numerous ways by the companionship of a pet. Pets teach empathy, help strengthen the immune system, and aid with emotional troubles such as depression. Children with pet friends do better in school, have more traditional values, and treat their parents with greater respect. According to one study, there is another positive aspect regarding pets and children. Children with pets are less likely to develop allergic rhinitis and asthma than children without pets.
Henry Ford Hospital Study
Researchers led by Ganesa Wegienka MS, PhD found that men growing up with indoor dogs developed allergies at half the rate as those without dogs. The study also concluded both men and women were half as likely to develop allergies to cats under the same circumstances. This was especially true if the children were under one year of age during the time of pet companionship. The 565 participants in the study were followed from birth to adulthood. A link to an article about the study can be found HERE. It seems parents who try to shield children from allergens are doing their youngsters a disfavor. Rather than avoiding future problems, the parents are creating problems instead.
So there you sit, all grown up, and deathly allergic to Fido and Fuffy. What can you do?
The no sneeze cat.
The cutie in the picture above is named Pikachu. She was bred by a company named Allerca who works to provide allergy suffers with hypoallergenic pets. Cats produce a protein called Fel d 1. This allergy causing substance is found in cats' saliva and urine. At first, the Allerca scientists tried to disable the protein gene, but were unsuccessful. They then discovered some cats have a unique version of the gene less apt to produce an allergic reaction. After screening thousands of cats, Allerca found enough hypoallergenic kitties to offer pets for the allergic public. It turned out the mutant gene is dominant, so hypoallergenic cats can be bred to normal cats and produce hypoallergenic kittens. The kittens are incredibly expensive. Currently, kittens cost between $6,950.00 - $22,950. Yikes! Since the cats were so popular, they are now selling hypoallergenic dogs for $7,950. National Geographic Magazine wrote an article about the company in 2006.
What do you do if you can't spend nearly $8,000 on a specially designed dog? There are a number of breeds considered "low dander" that may suit your needs. The least allergy producing breed is the American Hairless Terrier. If you prefer something with fur; the Bichon Frise, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Bedlington Terrier, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, and Wheaten Terriers are all a possiblity. A good site about hypoallergenic breeds is found HERE.
Cat Allergy Vaccine
There's some good news for all the allergic cat lovers of the world. A vaccine has been developed at McMaster University which protects people with allergies to cats. You can thank immunologist Mark Larche for this discovery. Though the allergic patient may need between four to eight doses of the vaccine at first, it is safe, and hazards almost no side effects. An article can be found on the ScienceDaily website.
So there is hope for all the allergy sufferers of the world. Pets bring happiness to both adults and children. They're good for our emotional and physical health. It's worth taking the extra effort to allow them into our world.