Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
There are studies in the works which test whether dog saliva can be helpful to our health. It is beginning to look as though the saliva from a dog lick could contain good probiotics and, "Researchers have found positive news that introducing healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal system seems to help other inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease but that the research on bacteria's influence on our immune system is new." Dogs lick things and lick people and "it could help explain what is happening with bacteria when [people are] living with an animal."
One report stated that it looks like dog saliva has more probiotics than yogurt.
So don't be so quick to be repulsed when a dog wants to give you a big lick.
As an additional comfort dog post, we just learned that one of the very first of these comfort dogs died today. Howe was a beautiful, handsome, sweet faced Golden Retriever, one of the bigger dogs of this breed and we met up every now and then. The last time I saw Howe, he attended the same Lutheran Prayer breakfast we did.
Here's another picture of him here at the campus Taste of the Sem.
And a whole bunch of wonderful photos of Howe during the course of his life as a comfort dog.
Holy Cross school in Collinsville is celebrating Lutheran Schools Week with a different assembly even each day. Yesterday two Golden Retrievers from the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog program arrived to lots of 'aw' sounds. Noah is a 21 month old retriever who is permanently a part of Timothy Lutheran Church in south St. Louis and Concordia Seminary. He spends his days going to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, places of sadness and joy. Esther is a 9 month old puppy who is in training to do what Noah and all the other Comfort Dogs do.
Holy Cross has completed all the paper work and other procedures necessary to get their own dog and after yesterday, many of us are hoping Esther will be given to us.
Ever wonder what goes on in your yard during the middle of the night? Well, with snow covering the grass right now, we don't have to wonder. Our yard is covered with animal tracks of all kinds, big to small, none of them belonging to Ferdie. It's like animal house with real animals using our property for whatever.
I'll be over in Collinsville today for Ash Wednesday church and I'm very curious to see if our backyard shows any raccoon tracks. Then we'll know if our belief we finally got them all holds true.
One thing about snow, you really learn what dogs are constantly sniffing as they take walks. You can see.
Last night the first 4 groups went off and the winners were: Beagle, Shih Tzu, Poodle, and English Sheep Dog. Tonight the final 3 groups will get a winner and all group winners vie for best in show. Of course it wouldn't be Westminster if a poodle wasn't one of the group winners, judges always always go for a poodle and I've never understood this. Poodles with actual fur can be cute and engaging but the way they're groomed for shows is just embarrassing. If judging is based on how accurately a dog fits its standard for whatever it is supposed to do in life, the poodle certainly does not fit any of that, what with the big poofy fur surrounded by bald areas.
Anyway. Tonight the first group will be the sporting dogs which includes the Golden Retriever, a breed which is hugely popular with dog fans but has never won at Westminster. The Labrador Retriever, another very well liked breed has also never won at Westminster. If you watch tonight, this group will be up first and the applause for these dogs will be very loud. But judges just do not seem to be impressed with them.
Dog judges always seem to lean toward the tiny dogs or the froo froo/exotic big dogs. If a Golden ever wins Westminster the applause will be deafening and may ever be so loud the Madison Square Garden roof may fall in.
Last year a Fox Terrier won, but I still watch with hope a Golden or Labrador will pull off a win.
We haven't trapped any raccoons from our property in Collinsville this year, but after several years of catching dozens, these two stories affect me two ways, either they make me laugh or give me chills.
First this video of a couple from Maryland with a bag of Doritos being surrounded by what appears to be hundreds of raccoons. If you haven't seen it, take a look, it's mind boggling and would fit quite nicely into my nightmares.
Then a story out of Los Angeles about the health department trying to take action against a grocery store which has been selling raccoon meat. Entire raccoons, frozen, bagged, and selling for $9.99 per pound. This seems to be a no-no out in LA, or at least there is no regulation in place for making sure these things are safe.
I wonder, even though I wouldn't eat raccoon no matter how much you paid me, if possibly we might find them for sale at Soulard Market. They often have many exotic meats and live animals for sale.
In any event we've seen way too many raccoons up close and personal to ever think they were cute or edible.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute found commonly in most sugar free gums, candies, baked goods, vitamins and most other foods. While not harmful to humans, it is extremely toxic to dogs. We learned this over the weekend when the dog of a friend of ours gulped down a bunch of cookies which were on the counter. The cookies were made with the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. The owner was not only surprised the dog ate the cookies but had no idea of the effect of this chemical.
The dog is barely hanging on and the outcome is very much in doubt. Xylitol strongly promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas into circulation leading to a rapid decrease of blood glucose levels. This then descends rapidly into liver toxicity, liver damage, and ultimately liver failure.
Even a little Xylitol can be dangerous. One piece of sugar free gum or a piece of cookie is all it can take to bring disaster. The signs develop within 30-60 minutes and include lethargy and weakness. Worse is liver failure. The advice given if this is suspected is to immediately induce vomiting and get the dog to medical help. The best way to induce vomiting is dogs (I learned this a few years ago) is to make them swallow hydrogen peroxide.
With the popularity of sugar free foods, people who own dogs need to be on guard and keep even gum in places the dog can't get to. I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners in anything, but this story panics me a bit since dogs are attracted to sweet stuff and humans are often want to spit out their gum or drop cookies or candy on the ground where a walking dog would go right to it.