Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dog That Cornered Osama. Got Skunked? "Special Needs" Animals. Boreal Toad. Carpet Cleaned. Princess Diana.

For Mammal Monday, but one isn't a mammal.

The Dog That Cornered Osama Bin Laden
"When U.S. President Barack Obama went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for a highly publicized, but very private meeting with the commando team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one of the 81 members of the super-secret  SEAL DevGru unit was identified by name: Cairo, the war dog.
Cairo, like most canine members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, is a Belgian Malinois. The Malinois breed is similar to German shepherds but smaller and more compact, with an adult male weighing in the 30-kilo range.


(German shepherds are still used as war dogs by the American military but the lighter, stubbier Malinois is considered better for the tandem parachute jumping and rappelling operations often undertaken by SEAL teams. Labrador retrievers are also favoured by various military organizations around the world.)


Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform extraordinary military missions by SEa, Air and Land (thus the acronym).

imageThe dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military teams to which they are attached: With a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human’s, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive material and  hostile or hiding humans.

The dogs are twice as fast as a fit human, so anyone trying to escape is not likely to outrun Cairo or his buddies.

The dogs, equipped with video cameras, also enter certain danger zones first, allowing their handlers to see what’s ahead before humans follow.
As I mentioned before, SEAL dogs are even trained parachutists, jumping either in tandem with their handlers or solo, if the jump is into water.

Last year canine parachute instructor Mike Forsythe and his dog Cara  set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment, jumping from more than 30,100 feet up — the altitude transoceanic passenger jets fly at. Both Forsythe and Cara were wearing oxygen masks and skin protectors for the jump.

Here’s a photo from that jump, taken by Andy Anderson for K9 Storm Inc. (more about those folks shortly)

As well, the dogs are faithful, fearless and ferocious — incredibly frightening and efficient attackers.
I have seen it reported repeatedly that the teeth of SEAL war dogs are replaced with titanium implants that are stronger, sharper and scare-your-pants-off  intimidating, but a U.S. Military spokesman has denied that charge, so I really don’t know (never having seen a canine SEAL face-to-face). I do know that I’ve never seen a photo of a war dog with anything even vaguely resembling a set of shiny metal chompers.

When the SEAL DevGru team (usually known by its old designation, Team 6) hit bin Laden’s Pakistan compound on May 2, Cairo’s feet would have been four of the first on the ground.

And like the human SEALs, Cairo was wearing super-strong, flexible body Armour and outfitted with high-tech equipment that included “doggles” — specially designed and fitted dog goggles with night-vision and infrared capability that would even allow Cairo to see human heat forms through concrete walls.
Now where on earth would anyone get that kind of incredibly niche hi-tech doggie gear?

From Winnipeg, of all places.image
Jim and Glori Slater’s Manitoba hi-tech mom-and-pop business, K9 Storm Inc., has a deserved worldwide  reputation for designing and manufacturing probably the best body Armour available for police and military dogs. Working dogs in 15 countries around the world are currently protected by their K9 Storm body Armour.

Jim Slater was a canine handler on the Winnipeg Police Force when he crafted a Kevlar protective jacket for his own dog, Olaf, in the mid-1990s. Soon Slater was making body Armour for other cop dogs, then the Canadian military and soon the world.


The standard K9 Storm vest also has a load-bearing harness system that makes it ideal for tandem rappelling and parachuting.

And then there are the special hi-tech add-ons that made the K9 Storm especially appealing to the U.S. Navy SEALs, who bought four of  K9 Storm Inc.’s top-end Intruder “canine tactical assault suits” last year for $86,000. You can be sure Cairo was wearing one of those four suits when he jumped into bin Laden’s lair.

Here’s an explanation of all the K9 Storm Intruder special features:


Just as the Navy SEALS and other elite special forces are the sharp point of the American military machine, so too are their dogs at the top of a canine military hierarchy.
In all, the U.S. military currently has about 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed around the world, with roughly 600 now in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Here’s the link to a dandy photo essay about U.S. war dogs that just appeared in the journal Foreign Policy.
Several of the photos I have included here are from Foreign Policy, as you will see. Other photos are from K9 Storm Inc.

image image

As for the ethics of sending dogs to war, that’s pretty much a moot point, don’t you think? If it’s ethical to send humans into combat, then why not dogs?

At least the U.S. now treats its war dogs as full members of the military. At the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. combat dogs there were designated as “surplus military equipment” and left behind when American forces pulled out."
 By Alan Parker.

Joke: Imagine living with 3 wives in one compound and never leaving the house for 5 years -

It is now believed that Bin Laden called the US Navy Seals himself.


FAR Better than Tomato Juice as a Skunk Rinse...

"Today I want to give you my skunk rinse recipe, and here's hoping you never have to use it!
If, heaven forbid, your dog or cat is ever sprayed by a skunk, you should have this recipe on hand. The sooner you apply the solution to your pet's fur, the sooner he'll get relief and smell better.

Skunk Rinse Recipe

Tomato juice isn't nearly as effective as this recipe, and it's easy to follow.
In a pail mix:
  • 1 quart hydrogen peroxide (the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide variety)
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons Dawn dishwashing liquid
If you have a large breed dog, you may need to double, triple or even quadruple the mixture.
Wear dishwashing or other household gloves if you like during the whole de-skunking process.
Don't wet down your pet. Apply the mixture to your pet's dry coat from the collar back toward the tail. Don't pour it near the eyes because the hydrogen peroxide solution can burn them.
Lather the mixture into your pet's coat and skin. Rub the solution around for about five minutes or until the skunk smell starts to dissipate.
If the front of your pet is as stinky as the back, use a sponge to apply the solution to your pet's chin, cheeks, forehead and ears, being very careful not to go near the eyes. When you rinse the head area, tilt your pet's chin upward so the solution does not run down into the eyes, instead allow the water to run back off his neck.
Do a complete rinse once the smell starts to decrease, then repeat the entire process again.
You may need to repeat the lather and rinse process up to three times, but it's a very effective method for removing the skunk smell from your pet.
Make sure to completely rinse the solution off your pet. Your final rinse should be very thorough.
You can't prepare this solution ahead of time and store it – it won't be effective when you need it. It must be made fresh, right before you apply it to your pet. So it pays to make sure you have all the ingredients ahead of time!
Good luck … and I hope you never have to use my skunk rinse recipe!"
Special Needs Animals:

Care for a special needs animal - like this wheelchair-bound basset hound
"A few animal shelters around the United States take in animals with special needs. Their residents include dogs, and even a goat, who need wheeled harnesses in order to move around, blind horses, cats with feline leukemia, and so many others.

The beautiful thing about animals with special needs is that they do not know they are disabled. With some extra attention and, in some cases, thoughtful devices, they can live as fully as any other animal.  Care for a Shelter Animal with Special Needs:
More at:


At the Water’s Edge

Deep in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, researchers are working to save the boreal toad from extinction.  By David Herasimtschuk

"With nine miles down and one to go, Erin Kenison and Leah Swartz of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) push deep into the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. Weighed down by the bulk of their overstuffed backpacks with dark brown fishing waders fastened awkwardly to the sides, the researchers hike through the thinning tree line to one of the most remote locations in this protected area, Lost Lake.

At an elevation of 10,711 feet, Lost Lake is a destination reached by only a handful of people each year, but USGS researchers have been making this trek for more than 20 years. Dedicated to understanding the factors associated with amphibian decline, the agency’s scientists come to this site again and again to monitor one of the last remaining populations of boreal toads in Rocky Mountain National Park. A once-familiar sight in this remote glacial lake, boreal toads could be found by the hundreds. This year Kenison and Swartz didn’t find a single one. "

View a slideshow of Rocky Mountain National Park’s disappearing boreal toads
"Rocky Mountain National Park is now one of only a small number of places where this high-elevation amphibian is still hanging on. But this wasn’t always the case.  In the early ’90s the USGS, led by Dr. Steve Corn and later Dr. Erin Muths, began monitoring boreal toad populations within Rocky Mountain National Park. When they first began, toad populations in the park appeared to be thriving. Sites such as the North Fork drainage, which encompasses two important breeding sites (Lost Lake and Kettle Tarn), provided habitat for more than 700 toads. But populations such as those in the North Fork drainage experienced dramatic declines between 1996 and 1999. “The year I started work, we captured and released more than 80 toads at Kettle Tarn,” says Muths. “Over the next two to five years, we found fewer and fewer toads. Now we get excited if we see one or two.”

Here, Kenison delicately rubs a cotton swab across a speckled belly, collecting a specimen from one of the remaining toads. She’s looking for the presence of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd. This type of fungus is found worldwide, but this particular strain is specific to amphibians. By producing waterborne spores that can land on an amphibian’s skin, the fungus is able to burrow in and produce more spores. Causing a thickening of the skin, Bd interferes with water uptake and the toad’s ability to regulate electrolytes, eventually leading to the death of the animal.
Bd is associated with declines and extinction in the Western United States, such as the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern California. The disease has a global presence and has had particularly devastating impacts on amphibian communities in Australia, Costa Rica, and Panama. In an effort to keep the boreal toad from going the way of so many others, the USGS has been working to understand all aspects of the fungus and its impact on the toads.
More at:
David Herasimtschuk is a Colorado-based photographer and writer who focuses on the conservation of freshwater species and ecosystems.


Jay called early, wanting me to go pick him up, said he was ready to work.  He asked me to drive to their side driveway, as he had his mother's upright Hoover carpet cleaning machine, so he could load it in the Puddle Jumper.  The day before he had said something about using it instead of mine, and I kept on telling him that I have my own. 
Knowing that he usually fiddles around drinking coffee, and rolling cigarettes when he gets here, I left the feeding of the animal's breakfasts until I returned, so that I could do that while he fiddled.  The cats and dog were relieved when I returned, but as I had left earlier than usual, their breakfast was still on time at 8.30.  Bobcat is borderline diabetic, so I have to feed her on schedule.

As it was earlier than we usually start work, and the motor home was in the shade, it was a lot easier to work on it today. With all three doors open, a breeze went through the rig.   We figured out from the configuration of the gasket for the engine cowling where it went, and snapped it in place, installed the cowling, and bolted the passenger seat down on it's pedestal.  Somehow I broke my glasses, during this procedure.  Fortunately, they were my everyday store-bought ones, not the prescription ones, and I have spares.  First-pile

Now the motor home is back in it's shady RVport, away from the harsh TX  sun.  It still cannot be parked in my side driveway until the stacks of the 5 felled dead pine trees are moved off it.  Not my call, the neighbor is the one who ordered the trees down.  We can't even burn any of the small limbs, as there is still a burn ban.

Then, as he cleaned my two rooms of carpet, I was moving the coffee table, Prime's table, dining chairs, computer chair, dog beds, toys which mysteriously jumped out of the toy basket in the night, etc, to them out of the way. 
Prime has a special vinyl covered table where she eats, as Paco would have pushed her out of the way to scoff it himself if her bowl was on the floor. (Absolutely no cats allowed on my countertops, that is disgusting.)  Even now that Paco has a new home, she jumps up on her table, and patiently waits for her food.
Prime was getting shuffled out of the way, too, as she thought the noisy machine was a monster that needed taming. 
Jay also cleaned the area rugs in the kitchen, middle room and hall.
Pebbles.17-Jul-2011Pebbles and Precious, in the Middle Room, jumped up out of the way.   Misty just stayed under my bed, and watched from there.  For Bobcat, it was just another machine, and she stayed out of the way in my bathroom.

When I reiterated how I had a machine just like it, he had completely forgotten that I had it, even though he was with me when I bought it 2 years ago.  He was thinking that he was going to have to use the old canister carpet cleaner that I have had for years.  His memory is really failing, that's what excessive drinking will do to you. 

I hadn't intended to watch The Queen (2006) (Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair try to reach a compromise in determining the royal family's public reaction to Princess Diana's death), but when it happened to come on the living room TV, I was impressed by Helen Mirren's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, so I changed the channel in here, and watched it while I was writing this. 
We were thinking about building this house, and I was still living in my 40' RV when Diana died.,28757,1650830,00.html  
Another one of those "Where were you when JFK was shot?" memories.  

How time flies, July 17th was my oldest son's 54th birthday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Slow down a bit and smell the flowers. Sounds like you are really busy and have so very much to do.

Gypsy said...

I enjoyed reading about the military canines. When you think that just about every dog alive would do anything for their human, it is shameful how many dogs are abused and neglected. They wouldn't abuse or neglect us, yet we think nothing of doing it to them.

An English Shepherd said...

Love the bit about the US army dogs :-)

Patty said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! We live and compete in Northern California, Region 16 for NAFA and no clue how UFli breaks things down. Very interesting post on the army dogs!

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Just so that everyone knows, as they don't have it on their blog's profiles, Wizz, An English Sheepdog is in England, and Patty's Sophie is in California. They both compete in Fly-ball.

Gyspy, It really hurts me to my core, how a dog has to rely on the people who neglect it, but the dog still gives them their unconditional devotion.

I am glad that you enjoyed the article.
Happy Tails and Trails, Penny.