Dogs are called “man’s best friend”–women’s, too–and scientists say the bond between people and their pooches may be deeper than you might think.
Researchers in Japan said oxytocin, a hormone that among other things helps reinforce bonds between parents and their babies, increases in humans and their dogs when they interact, particularly when looking into one another’s eyes. Sometimes called the “love hormone,” oxytocin is made in a brain structure called the hypothalamus and secreted from the pituitary gland. It is involved in emotional bonding, maternal behavior, child birth, breast-feeding, sexual arousal and other functions.
“Oxytocin has many positive impacts on human physiology and psychology,” said Takefumi Kikusui, a veterinary medicine professor at Japan’s Azabu University.
“I personally believe that there is a tight bond between the owner and dogs,” Kikusui said.
“I have three standard poodles. I strongly feel the tight bonding with these dogs. Actually, I participated in the experiment, and my oxytocin boosted up after the eye gaze, like 300 percent,” Kikusui added.
The study involved dogs of various breeds and ages including the miniature schnauzer, golden retriever, border collie, Labrador retriever, Shiba Inu, standard poodle, beagle and others.
Dogs have been found to have 98% reliability rate in sniffing out prostate cancer in men, according to newly-published research. The Italian study backs up tests carried out by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which is based in the UK. Its co-founder Dr. Claire Guest said its own research had found a 93% reliability rate when detecting bladder and prostate cancer, describing the new findings as “spectacular”.
The latest research, by the Department of Urology at the Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre in Milan, involved two German shepherds sniffing the urine of 900 men–360 with prostate cancer and 540 without. Scientists found that dog one got it right in 98.7% of cases, while for dog two this was 97.6%. They said the dogs are able to detect prostate cancer specific volatile organic compounds in the urine but said an important question remains of how a dog would find it in daily practice. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
Dr. Guest said: “These results are spectacular. They offer us further proof that dogs have the ability to detect human cancer. It is particularly exciting that we have such a high success rate in the detection of prostate cancer, for which the existing tests are woefully inadequate.”
She said there is currently a “reluctance to embrace this tested, time-old technology” but dogs can pick up a scent in a dilution of one to a thousand parts. There is no single test for prostate cancer, but the most commonly used are blood tests, a physical examination or a biopsy.
“Over the years, millions of pounds of NHS funding has been poured into the traditional test methods, and yet there has been little improvement in their reliability,” Dr. Guest added. “This has caused a huge waste of resources, not to mention the distress to the impacted individuals. Moreover, the detection dogs provide alternative solution that yields consistently accurate results. If our detection dogs were a machine, there would be huge demand for them.”
Medical Detection Dogs, which is based in Milton Keynes, trains specialist canines to detect the odour of human disease. They also train Medical Alert Assistance dogs to help people with life-threatening health conditions go about their daily lives. The research is published in the Journal Of Urology.
Farmers have nearly always relied on the skills of wise old sheepdogs when it comes to rounding up their flock. But it seems that the role of a sheepdog could now be facing the unlikeliest of threats–a drone.
That’s if a video is anything to go by, which shows what happens when a drone is flown near a flock of sheep.
In the video, the drone essentially becomes a flying sheepdog as it manages to herd a flock of sheep through a gate and into a neighbouring field. The drone, which has been nicknamed ‘Shep’, captured the footage on a farm in Carlow, South-East Ireland.
Since ancient times, canine warriors have served as military sentries, messengers and scouts. During World War I, media frequently reported about acts of bravery and heroism on the battlefields by dogs pressed into service.
Following the War, there was a public outcry to have a monument built to honor the 7,000 military canines who had served with such great distinction in the conflict. Hartsdale Canine Cemetery was honored to be chosen as the location for this memorial.
The War Dog Memorial was erected in 1923. The original cost of the monument was $2,500, which was considered to be an enormous amount of money at the time. And interestingly, Robert Caterson, the sculptor, was also a relative of current Cemetery director, Edward Caterson Martin, Jr.
Using the finest granited a majestic ten-foot-high monument with 10 tons of granite, which is topped with a bronze statue of a handsome shepherd dog, wearing a Red Cross blanket. At the shepherd’s feet are a bronze helmet and a canteen. A huge American flag waves proudly above. A simple inscription graces the memorial:
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE WAR DOG ERECTED BY PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION BY DOG LOVERS. TO MAN’S MOST FAITHFUL FRIEND. FOR THE VALIANT SERVICES RENDERED IN THE WORLD WAR
1914 – 1918
Past ceremonies have honored canines who assisted in the rescue mission in conjunction with the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1994 as well as seeing eye dogs and police dogs.
See ” Tracks” for the June War Dog Celebration.