Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tibetan Mastiff Tidbits

I was thinking about that Tibetan mastiff... he/she reminded me of someone else.

Tibetan mastiff
Then it came to me...

Lara and Yuri in Doctor Zhivago (1965)

This got me wondering about Tibetan mastiffs. Do they all look morose and fashionably bedecked in a Russian fur hats? Not so much... But I learned some interesting things along the way. 

Tibetan mastiffs come in all sorts of colors and weigh 150-200 pounds.

Tibetan mastiffs are not actually mastiffs. But then Tibeten terriers aren't terriers and Tibetan spaniels aren't spaniels. Those darn Westerners just make stuff up on sight. 

Big Splash, a red Tibetan mastiff, is the world’s most expensive dog, sold as a pup for 1.5 million. Read more about that. 

Big Splash, the most expensive dog in the world.

But buyer beware when shopping for Tibetan mastiffs: Wikipedia explains, 

"There have been other similar reports of dogs sold for astronomical prices; however, most of these appear to be breeders' attempts to drive up the prices of their dogs. Photos of dogs shown on web sites are frequently Photoshopped to exaggerate color intensity, size, and "bone". Buyers have reported getting their dogs home only to find that bathing removes both color and "hair extensions" from the coat."

Can you imagine me in hair extensions? 

I feel like a million bucks.

The last tidbit that I know my friend DN3 will appreciate is that Harry Dresden's dog Mouse is a Tibetan mastiff. Funny though, I always pictured Mouse more like a Neapolitan mastiff.

Neapolitan mastiff

The final fact I learned about Tibetan mastiffs is that they "don't smell bad like other dogs." Huh. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Shake Those Booties

Today's topic must be The Cold, as the State of Minnesota is pretty much closed today and tomorrow. And why not? Frozen flesh in minutes is pretty daunting. Though I imagine Minnesota school children are staying plenty warm dancing jigs.

I am not a cold weather dog. I'm just a southern-born, hound mix. When I boarded the Kentucky rescue van, back in the autumn of 2008, I had short, short fur.

My adoption photo.
Back then, I had very short fur and a gorgeous, muscular physique.
Feel free to comment that I still retain the latter.

Needless to say, when I got to Minnesota, I got right to shivering and growing some more fur. But even after six winters in Minnesota, I just don't have the undercoat of say...my neighbor Johann.

Johann has an impressive undercoat, which he needs help disposing of each spring.

There are certainly dogs better suited to arctic temperatures than me. Here are The 20 Best Cold-Weather Dog Breeds according to Outside.

My favorite is the Tibetan Mastiff.                 credit

Today is too cold for my guys for walkies so I am making due with backyard forays and pacing the house. That is not to say I want to wear my stupid dog coat, as I have made perfectly clear in my previous post: Dog Coats are from Hell.

But staying warm its not just about fur. If it was, we'd all have feet like an arctic fox.

Arctic fox foot
Carmella's foot

Looking at my lovely paw pads, you might think I need to wear booties to keep my feet warm. You would be WRONG.

You might be thinking, well, those tough sled dogs wear booties so Carmella must really need them. You would be WRONG. Those hardcore racing dogs wear booties to protect their paws from the abrasive snow but they do not add warmth. Dog feet stay warm the same way penguin wings and dolphin fins stay warm.

When humans get cold, their bodies shut off the extremities to protect vital organs. Since dogs (and penguins and dolphins) are more sensible than that, we have evolved a different system than humans. Scientists call it a "rete mirabile" or "wonderful network" of veins in dogs' feet and legs that work as a heat exchanger, warming cooled blood to maintain a constant temperature.

Using electron microscopes (and very cooperative dogs), Japanese scientists found:

"that the very close proximity of the arteries to the veins in the footpad meant that heat was conducted from one blood vessel to another. So when blood in the paw's veins cooled on contact with the air or ground, warm blood pumping from the heart - through the neighbouring artery - transferred its heat. The blood was therefore "warmed up" before it returned to the body - preventing the dog's body from cooling down, whilst also keeping the paws at a constant temperature." Pet dogs keep their feet from freezing by Ella Davies, Reporter, BBC Nature

So cancel that Amazon order, your dog does not need booties to get through the winter. Although a patch of sunshine would be nice.

YouTube compilation of dogs in booties

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Breaking Badly

I'm back. Or shall I say, my typist is back and available to assist. My Susan has been "too busy" lately to help a little brown dog get her thoughts posted. New job...blah blah blah.

But now she is laid up with a busted ankle in the dead of winter. I am a huge fan of bones. So it breaks my heart that Susan mashed hers up so thoroughly. No zoomies for her. Heck, she can't even drive until spring.

Merry Christmas, Susan!

It wasn't my fault. Everyone hears she slipped on the ice and thinks I had something to do with it. I wasn't even there. Which is good because I don't think I would have been as grateful to the paramedics as they loaded her up and took her away. FOX News would have loved that headline: "A Little Brown Dog Takes Out Ambulance Team on Grand Avenue."

I just don't think Bones McCoy would approve of 21st century medicine.

Susan came home from the hospital all goofy, smelling funny, with a leg full of metal. Worst of all, she stopped walking me, feeding me, or even letting me out the back door. Good thing we have a pack!

No walkies for Carmella.

Our pack has grown a lot bigger these last weeks. A stream of friends and family come by with food, household assistance, social time, and back scratching...mine, that is. I admit I find the comings and going a bit stressful. But I am trying my best.

The extended pack brought Christmas to our house this year.
I approve. I just wish they weren't all such skilled feeders
these days. Kids are much better at sharing.

The cats are pleased. She thinks they are sweet. But I know better. Now they have round the clock access to her body heat. Sorry Susan, nothing more.

Even with her confinement, it has been hard to convince Susan it is time to get back to my blog. I have been giving her non-stop adorable eyes for over 20 days now.


Finally, she has relented. So we're back.

I leave you with this link which made Susan laugh harder than I have heard in awhile. I have never seen The Graduate, but she says that one is the funniest. Man Passes Time At Work By Recreating Romantic Movie Scenes With His Boss’s Dog.