Yesterday the Eastern seaboard felt something it's not very used to: An earthquake. Though the epicenter of the 5.9 quake was in Virginia, people reported feeling tremors as far off as New York and Atlanta. While many talk about the surprise of an earthquake, for the animal kingdom, it's not such a sudden event. Natural disasters and pets have interesting links, from anticipating a disaster to how animals respond to the aftermath.
Animals and wildlife have been anticipating these natural disasters for quite some time, in records going back to the times of ancient Greece.
In 373 BC "Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes" notably abandoned their homes in the city of Helice right before a devastating earthquake in Greece. Since that recording, people have been telling various stories about their pets giving signs to natural disasters or events, as mild as thunderstorms or as devastating as a tsunami.
Though some scientists in Asia are studying this intriguing behavior, for the most part, this warning sign often goes on without second thought or notice. Many scientists discredit it as hindsight bias, saying that the odd and signaling behavior in animals is only noticed after the event has already occurred, and then it could just be a pet acting odd--not signaling natural disaster. Still, when we do pay attention, the pay off can be great:
" In 1975, the city of Haicheng was evacuated days in advance of an earthquake based on the behavior of dogs and cats. An estimated 150,000 lives were saved." -Petcentric, "Pets Predicting Earthquakes"
After a natural disaster has happened, we have plenty of animals working with various groups and in various capacities there to help find trapped or lost people and to give them aid. One has to wonder though, who's helping the animals?
There are several disaster relief groups focused on helping pets, whether it's World Vets in Japan, BtC helping pets displaced by tornadoes, or the Animal Refuge Kansai helping dogs that were left without their families during an earthquake around Kobe. You can help your pet survive a disaster by watching their behavior, having an emergency bag for your pet to go along with your own preparedness kits, and having a plan on what to do in an emergency.
Did your pet act strangely at all before the earthquake? Share your stories in a comment.
It's that season, where people start thinking about film and music nods and awards shows...and preparing their own little lists of who might be nominated in the Oscars, the Grammy's, an Emmy, the Tony's...etc. We look to the Nobel Prize to see who is a true world changer in their time, and to environmental or philanthropic titles to see who is working to make a difference. While we often see our humane favorites get recognized for their hard work and brilliant performances, when is the last time you saw a canine or feline take home recognition for more than meeting a breed standard?
The silver screen and good nature are combining to finally extend a little love and affection from the masses to the heroes of the four-legged persuasion. The American Humane Association is once again presenting their "Hero Dog Awards", this year with the power of animal activist and lover Betty White along with film star Ewan McGregor behind their efforts.
Dogs will be recognized in several categories, such as " law enforcement and arson dogs; service dogs; therapy dogs; military dogs; guide dogs; search and rescue dogs; hearing dogs, and emerging hero dogs, for "ordinary pets who do extraordinary things," the Hallmark Channel revealed. In addition to these recognitions, a special nod will be given to the famous Rin Tin Tin. Did you know that the canine idol of American television was rescued from the front lines in WWI? The amazing dog who fought it out in battle and then won the heart of America is getting a legacy award, one that will be presented to a descendant of the Rin Tin Tin line.
The winning dogs will get to attend their own red carpet gala, walking like the stars they are past the press and admirers. To watch the show with your pooch, tune in to the Hallmark Channel on November 11.
If you want to weigh in on the winners, be sure to vote for the dogs you think are most deserving. Do you personally know of a dog, cat, or other pet that has done something amazing for the community or for someone? Tell their tale here in the comments section.
Oh, the history behind this dog.
As a History major in college, I developed a love for the convoluted and complicated series of events behind many decisions, names, people, and places that we know and speak of today. There are very rarely simple stories in history. When I first came into contact with White German Shepherd Dogs, they were the animal companions to one of my classmates. I would dog sit for her when she went out of town, and oftentimes before she left, we would together for instructions for while she was out of town and to chat. Several times, the history behind this breed was discussed. The story behind the white GSD is, as expected, complicated. This breed has survived a lot of love and hate in its lifetime.
"A white herding dog named Greif was the grandfather of Horand von Grafrath, the dog acknowledged as the foundation of all contemporary German Shepherd Dog bloodlines." -Wikipedia
From the beginnings of this amazing breed, the recessive white coat gene was present. Still, the color became frowned upon over time. First, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany disqualified it as a qualifying color. Other kennel and clubs followed suit, and eventually, being a white GSD meant that you simply weren't up to show standards. The more common black and tan variety of shepherd became the claim to fame in the breed, leaving the white beauties in the dust.
Brave New World
After becoming an outcast within their own breed, these beautiful white pups and their owners decided to take action. The White GSD started a new step into it's own brave new world...one as a separate breed. White German Shepherd Dogs today can be found under several new aliases, such as: