Lost Dog Finds Her Way Back Home to a Shelter

This amazing story of Bailey from the Washington Post:

It had been 36 hours since Bailey the dog disappeared. Her new owner and the animal shelter where she had lived for more than a year knew that every second that passed dimmed the likelihood that she would be found alive. The Animal Rescue League of El Paso sounded the alarm on its Facebook page: Bailey was missing, and it needed locals to keep an eye out and notify the shelter if she was spotted. People soon called in sightings. Others joined in the search. Her owner scoured the city deep into the night.

All of it for naught. Bailey remained on the loose, at risk of being run over, ravaged by a wild animal or falling prey to some unknown horror in the unforgiving West Texas desert. Then, deep into the second night after her disappearance, animal shelter employees were notified that someone was pressing their Ring camera doorbell. They opened up the app, which showed the exterior of the animal shelter and its late-night caller: Bailey.

Her doorbell camera cameo ended a 36-hour search for a dog that did not need to be rescued. Bailey knew where she was going and traveled some 10 miles to get there. But she now faced an obstacle she could not overcome. Without a key or opposable thumbs, she needed someone to let her in.

Bailey first came to the Animal Rescue League of El Paso more than a year ago. After housing her for a few months, another shelter transferred her to the rescue league in the hopes that its higher foot traffic would lead to her adoption. Despite the boost, Bailey languished at the rescue league for more than a year because of “some quirks that were not easy for people to overcome,” including being hyper, untrained and a bit of an “escape artist,” according to rescue league director Loretta Hyde. “She spent most of her life in a shelter,” Hyde said, adding that Bailey took an obedience course during her time at the rescue league.

Bailey’s quirks bubbled up after she was adopted a few months ago, Hyde added. Her new owner returned her three days later because Bailey escaped from her crate and destroyed a piece of his artwork. About a month later, a second owner adopted her. He already had a feral dog that he had painstakingly trained for a year. After a few visits to make sure the two got along, he brought Bailey into the fold, taking the two dogs with him every day to his job training, teaching and competing in martial arts.

All was going well until around noon on Jan. 29 when Bailey slipped her new owner’s grasp as he tried to fit her for a new harness and bolted, Hyde said. He chased her on foot and then by car, but she eluded both efforts. So he called the shelter, which put out an urgent alert on its Facebook page that night informing its more than 33,000 followers that Bailey was on the loose and asking them to report any sightings.

There were at least three over the next 36 hours but none panned out, Hyde said. By the time shelter workers arrived at each location, Bailey had taken off. One of the shelter employees, Yvonne Arratia, was at home in bed and nearly asleep on Jan. 31 when she heard a loud ding from her phone. The noise meant that someone was pushing the shelter’s Ring doorbell. But it was 1:15 in the morning. No one would be there this late, she thought, believing she was dreaming. Then, a second ding. And finally a robotic voice emanated from the phone: “Someone is at your door.”

Annoyed, she got up to check. She opened the Ring app, which showed an image of the late-night caller with two beady eyes glowing in the dark. Then, the animal’s full body came into view. “Oh my God, is that Bailey?!”Arratia ran to her daughter’s room. Geneieve also worked at the shelter and Arratia wanted her opinion. They unmuted the doorbell’s microphone so they could speak with the dog outside the shelter. “Bailey! Bailey! Is that you?!”

Bailey’s brown head popped up to fill the entire screen, followed by whining and scratching at the door. Arratia and her daughter hopped in the car and started heading to the shelter. Arratia drove while Geneieve kept talking with Bailey through the phone, coaxing her to stay put during the roughly 15 minutes it took them to get there. When they did, Bailey was ecstatic. Arratia secured her in a harness and let her into the shelter. Bailey muscled her way back to the kennels where she had lived for more than a year. They fed her and let her rest. Later that morning, they notified her owner that his dog had been found safe and was at the shelter.

Bailey’s odyssey reminded Hyde how amazing dogs are. During her trip, she traveled some 10 miles, crossing over a main drag in El Paso and Interstate 10 to somehow find her way back to the shelter. Hyde said that is a feather in the shelter’s cap.“She lived at the shelter for soooo long this was home to her,” the shelter wrote one Facebook announcing that Bailey had been found. “She felt safe here. When she got loose she was on a mission to get home.”

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The World's Oldest Dog

Bobi is world’s oldest dog. Yours can live a long, happy life, too.

Worlds oldest dogWalk, eat, play, sleep. Repeat.

That’s how Bobi, recently deemed the world’s oldest living dog by Guinness World Records, spent much of his 30 years on his family’s farm in the village of Conqueiros, Portugal. Unlike the owner of the Rafeiro do Alentejo, the rest of the world hasn’t had the chance to watch their furry friend age three decades with them.

“That really is an unusual thing,” Erik Olstad, an assistant professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told The Washington Post. “Owners will always ask me, ‘How can I make my dog live the longest life that they can?’ That’s a loaded question because there are so many variants that go into life expectancy.”

A lot of it is genetics. Life expectancy and predisposition for diseases vary by breed, Olstad said. But there are still things dog owners can do to give their pets the opportunity to live a long and happy life, vets told The Post.

“Dogs are very much like people,” said Natasha Olby, a veterinary professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “They need healthy diets, exercise, community, engagement and regular health care.”

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, experts told The Post. Dog owners should strive to give them quality dog food and avoid overfeeding because, as they age, the extra weight will make it much harder to treat mobility conditions such as arthritis or ruptured ligaments.

“If I see dogs entering senior years overweight, I can always bet money that we are going to have some serious mobility conversations moving on,” Olstad said.

Preventive care is a must. Keep their vaccinations up to date, take them to the dentist and visit the vet once or twice a year for a regular checkup.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to raise a senior dog, you should not conclude that certain behaviors or conditions are just ailments that come with age, said Nicole Ehrhart, director of the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging at Colorado State University.

“One thing that we should not assume as a pet slows down is, ‘Well, it’s just getting old,’” Ehrhart said. If you are seeing your dog slowing down, that should be a warning flag for you to seek veterinary assessment.”

Physical and mental exercise are also key. Take your dog on regular walks and runs that stretch out as long as your dog’s breed and age allow.

The five-mile run that works well for your 1-year-old border collie will not be the same workout that your bulldog with arthritis will require. In that case, experts said, you are better off with giving your dog 15-minute walks four times a day, for example. For mental stimulation, hide food and treats inside their toys.

As much as one wants their dog to live a long life like Bobi — who Guinness says is the oldest ever recorded — experts highlighted that the focus should be on giving pets the most quality of life possible. Life expectancy is not a contract, Olstad told The Post.

“My job as a vet is not to get your dog to live as long as possible if it compromises their quality of life,” Olstad said. “Their happiness is much more important to me than the longevity.”

“Try to not focus on that life expectancy, and look at your dog as an individual,” he said. “I have some [clients] that say, ‘Hey, I heard that someone’s Great Dane lived to 15!’” (Great Danes live an average of eight to 10 years.) “That can be a really tough thing if your expectations aren’t managed.”

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Cat City Film

A New Documentary by Ben Kolak
Opens in Los Angeles on May 9, 2024!
Los Angeles Premiere – Thursday, May 9 at 7:30pm
at Laemmle's Glendale
Followed by Saturday & Sunday Matinee shows at Laemmle's Royal

Director Ben Kolak will be in attendance opening night at the Glendale and Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 pm at the Royal!

Cat City chronicles Chicago's love/hate relationship with feral cats. It tells the story of Chicago's outdoor cats and the communities who look after them. What is the right way to care for feral cats and who gets to decide? A ground-breaking 2007 ordinance protects feral cats in Chicago that have been trapped, neutered and returned ("TNR") to their neighborhoods. Dubbed community cats, they control rats and provide love and meaning to their caretakers. There are now thousands of cat colonies in Chicago, many with only a single cat, but some with more than 40. These colonies are fed by volunteer caretakers who report on their well-being. Many ferals succumb to the elements, but the most hardy, tough and careful survive many seasons and become legends in their neighborhoods.

Los Angeles Theatrical Premiere Screening – Thursday, May 9 at 7:30pm
at Laemmle's Glendale. Tickets >>
Director Ben Kolak in person!

Weekend Matinee Screenings – Saturday & Sunday, May 11-12
at Laemmle's Royal. Tickets >>
Director Ben Kolak in person at Saturday's 1pm Show

More Cities Coming Soon!

Monk parakeets have “voiceprints” just like humans

A very interesting discovery as reported by Salon:

Previously, it was thought that these birds introduced themselves to other monk parakeets with a sort of "catchphrase" that distinguished their identity. However, after running the vocalizations collected in this study through the program, a team led by Simeon Smeele, a doctoral student at Aarhus University in Denmark, found that the birds actually had "voiceprints" like humans that identify themselves in the group. Read more.


Parrots Taught to Video Call Each Other Become Less Lonely

Parrot on tabletThis interesting article from The Guardian makes a lot of sense!

Pet parrots that are allowed to make video calls to other birds show signs of feeling less isolated, according to scientists.

The study, which involved giving the birds a tablet that they could use to make video calls, found that they began to engage in more social behaviour including preening, singing and play. The birds were given a choice of which “friend” to call on a touchscreen tablet and the study revealed that the parrots that called other birds most often were the most popular choices.

Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, of the University of Glasgow and a co-author of the research, said that video calls had helped many people feel less isolated in the pandemic. She added: “There are 20 million parrots living in people’s homes in the USA, and we wanted to explore whether those birds might benefit from video calling too. If we gave them the opportunity to call other parrots, would they choose to do so, and would the experience benefit the parrots and their caregivers?”

Their analysis, based on more than 1,000 hours of footage of 18 pet parrots, suggested that there were, indeed, benefits for the birds. In the wild, many species of parrots live in large flocks, but as pets tend to be kept alone or in a small group. Isolation and boredom can cause birds to develop psychological problems, which can manifest as rocking, pacing back and forth, or self-harming behaviours such as feather-plucking.

Video calling could reproduce some of the social benefits of living in a flock, the scientists suggested.

The parrots were recruited from users of Parrot Kindergarten, an online coaching and educational programme for parrots and their owners. The birds first learned to ring a bell and then touch a photo of another bird on the screen of a tablet device to trigger a call to that bird, with the assistance of their owners. In total the birds made 147 deliberate calls to each other during the study, while owners took detailed notes on the birds’ behaviour and the researchers later reviewed the video footage.

Dr Jennifer Cunha, of Northeastern University and co-founder of Parrot Kindergarten, said that the parrots “seemed to grasp” that they were engaging with other birds because their behaviour mirrored that seen during real-life interactions. “All the participants in the study said they valued the experience, and would want to continue using the system with their parrots in the future,” she said.

“I was quite surprised at the range of different behaviours,” said Hirskyj-Douglas. “Some would sing, some would play around and go upside down, others would want to show another bird their toys.”

The team’s paper is published in Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Street Cat Bob

Bob the catMost of the 1,100 monuments scattered around London are dedicated to individuals who carried out heroic deeds in the service of the Crown. Others applaud the achievements of persons in the fields of arts or sciences. However, there is one unorthodox statue dedicated to a furry, famous Londoner who once walked on four legs.

In the south-east corner of a park in the borough of Islington, lies a life-size bronze of a cat named Bob, who rests perched on a stack of books. This feline was immortalized in a series of novels written by his adopted owner, James Bowen. These two individuals were able to look after one another, and in turn, their lives became the stuff of legend.

Read more here on Atlas Obscura