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Dogs, Man’s Enemy Turned Friend

animal-portraitDogs have been Man’s best friend for thousands of years, descended from ancient grey wolves that were the perfect predator, teaming up with us forming an almost unstoppable force that could bring down large preys and defeat great predators. So how did that mighty wolf turn into the small floppy eared fur ball curled up on my couch? To know, we must go back to the very beginning, to the very first contact between dog or wolf and man.

A group of hunters returns to their settlement with the spoils of the day, they are greeted by their mates and offspring, they return from a bountiful hunt and it is decided that they will feast that night. Far away a pack of wolves looking for food seemed to have not found anything yet, with their strong sense of smell the found a trail of several scents, it smells like food and something else, another predator competing on their hunting grounds perhaps? With the lack of anything else that would lead them to food they follow the trail. Back in the settlement around the fire the humans were enjoying the spoils of the day, not knowing the danger that approaches.

As the wolves got closer, they start to smell more and more things, some of them unfamiliar. Finally they reach the boarders of the settlement… they approach cautiously, as they know they will be facing a possible rival or new prey.  They find upright almost furless apes that covered themselves with scraps of fur, surrounding some sort of bright light, they seem to be feeding. They seem to have no claws or fangs, it doesn’t look like they are anything threatening, so the pack of wolves that they will attack.

The humans were enjoying the night eating and maybe even socializing… it was the end of another day of hunting. Out of nowhere strange creatures started attacking the settlement, they quickly started defending themselves, these creatures were fast and ferocious, and they had the advantage. It seemed like the wolves might win until the hunters were able to organize and pick up their weapons. They were immediately able to create a primitive defensive perimeter and started to counter attack, pushing the creatures away.

The wolves who were at the advantage at first started to realize that they were being pushed back, seeing that some of the members of their pack has fallen they decided to retreat. Without food, dwindled in numbers, and most of their remaining capable members wounded all they could manage to do was hide near the outskirts of the settlement.

After the attack the humans remained on their guard, but with no casualty and no one seeming to be badly hurt they continued to their meal. After their eating, fearing that their scraps could attract other creatures they decided to dispose of it by throwing them away from the settlement.

Without food and a badly hurt pack, the wolves seem to be in a bad situation, they will need to find food soon. A couple of them hear something approaching; it was the humans they faced earlier. Thinking that they came to finish them off the wolves prepared to fight for one last time, a last stand if you will.

A group of humans assigned or volunteered to throw out the scraps away from the camp, came across the creatures that tried to attack them earlier. The ones ferocious looking group was battered down and wounded looked like they were preparing to defend themselves for one last time. At an act of what could only be considered pity the humans decided to not attack these already defeated creatures. They did their duty and threw the scraps and left.

The wolves lowered their guard as the humans left, it seems that they left something… it was food. Cautious at first they approach it and started eating, it was enough food for them.

After a while it seemed like it became a habit of the humans to throw their scraps away at the edge of their settlements, the wolves found it as a food source that they could take advantage. It became more common for the two to meet and interact, so much so that a bond slowly formed. Some of the wolves even decided to live near the settlements.

The more aggressive ferocious of the wolves were put down by the humans when they tried to attack, causing the more docile wolves left to mate with each other, this started their domestication. As more docile generations of wolves grew and humans started to bond, it became more common for some of the wolves to start living within the human settlements.

After thousands of years of breeding to less aggressive mates, depending on the environment and the proto-dog’s role in human society, they start to develop traits seen in most modern dogs today.

A picture of a dog

Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened, but it is an accepted theory of how the domestication of wolves began, which latter on changed them into the fluffy companions we have today. In the end we are the reason why they changed, and maybe in ways we do not understand they changed us.

Taking My Dog Yachting at Dubai

I love my dog, and take him everywhere I go. But this particular time, things were a bit more troublesome, as the requirements to bringing your pet out of the country is not a walk in the park. Though not very difficult if your dog is pure bread and has all the papers that come with such an expensive dog, it was not the case for me and Rover. Because of this I needed to run around town from one place to another just to get things set for him. Though I could have probably gotten someone to do it for me, I am the type of guy who believes that in order to get things done you have to do it yourself.

Dubai was this year’s vacation goal, and the first one abroad with rover. My friends invited me to go with them and enjoy what the city has to offer, promising to pay for most of the stuff in the trip, and they were the ones that told me to bring my dog with me, since they’ve also become very attached to rover. Lately Dubai’s yacht rental industry has been booming and the options of different yachts intrigued my boat loving friend, and with big heart and deep pockets he decided to bring us all with him, plus whoever we wanted to bring, to enjoy the trip with him and make memories.

The last time I was abroad was Barcelona, back during my college days when I decided to take a year off from school to backpack around Europe, I ended up staying in just that city for reasons that will be a story for another time. That was before I got rover, back when I had a cat that seemed to be never thankful about my taking care of him. This time though I have been given the chance to have an adventure in the Middle East with my best buddy.

 

The Pet Passport

pet-passport

As much as I would like to give you the steps of getting one in detail, the most essential parts really depends on where you plan to go with your pet. The best way to know exactly what to do and what form to fill up is by asking your Vet, most of them would have the idea of the broad strokes, one of the steps involves them and a comprehensive check-up of your pet, along with a few vaccinations. After which you will be given a few more instructions to complete a set of documents that will either allow your pet to travel to that specific country or not.

When I say pet passport though, I don’t mean an actual passport like that of a human’s, more of documents that shows your dog has had the necessary medical procedures  and legal stuff that approves of his entry to a country. In the European Union though, there is an actual pet passport that looks exactly like a person’s passport, which is really cool if you ask me.

The cost of getting such a set of documentations though will depend on a lot of things, but prepare about $200 for the whole thing, I have to warn you though that you might come up short if additional requirements or extra forms are needed.

Traveling

transporting-pet

I can tell you from experience that when it comes to traveling domestic, flights for your pet would cost no less than $125 per trip. Unfortunately I am uncertain how much it cost for getting to Dubai, as my friend decided that he would be paying for everyone’s fare, including rover. (Truth be told, my friend has been a bit generous lately when it comes to our group, hopefully he’s not sick or anything)

As always, I worried the whole 13 hour or so flight, I feel uneasy with my dog being treated as cargo thing, though I know that they are being treated with care, you just can’t take away the worry when it comes to the ones you love most. I kept on wishing he was the size of a Chihuahua, so I could just have him with me as carry-on.

When we finally got to our destination, I felt relieved when I finally saw his little doggy face. We were both exhausted from the trip so we just rested in our room for the first day.

 

In Dubai

dubai-yachts

I have to say, that I am extremely thankful for my friend, who have requested to be unnamed in this little write-up, if not for him I would have never been able to enjoy such a trip like I had in Dubai. I would certainly be able to afford going there, but maybe without my dog, in a less extravagant hotel, and eating at a decent but not very exciting hotel.

Rover had the time of his life, though the temperature was not something both of us were accustomed to when out and about, it seemed as though that he understood that he was actually a long way from home and should enjoy the new environment.

My friend also decided to treat Rover to a doggy makeover, maybe to prep him as a dog on a yacht or so that he wouldn’t stand out compared to the pets of the obviously super rich people around us.

 

Ending

Compared to the journey, our goal of spending some time on yacht was rather relatively uneventful. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t normally sip champagne while my dog eats some caviar he begged my friends for, but the trip was more exciting. But both rover and I loved relaxing at the Dubai marina, while ending another day of our adventure.

Unable to Fully Experience a San Antonio Dog Show

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting San Antonio for the AKC Dog Show Hosted by San Antonio Kennel Club. I’ve always loved dog shows, seeing well trained dogs is quite refreshing as my Labrador, though quite lovable, is quite rowdy. The breeds that year were top notch, you can clearly see the money spent on taking care of them, with magnificent physical attributes that probably cost more than my first car to maintain. Though even with all those magnificent specimen, well trained and all, nothing beats the dog you have at home, at least that was what I was telling myself.san-antonio-dog-show

I had enjoyed my brief viewing of the dog show, one that would have been longer had my back not give in. Luckily enough, I was in San Antonio, where I have a good chiropractor friend. Most chiropractors in San Antonio are actually pretty good in what they do, but my friend was by far the best chiropractor I know. One proof of this is my ordeal back during the Dog Show, I thought my San Antonio vacation was over, I gave my friend a visit so that he could relieve a bit of my pain for the trip home, when I got there he told me to lie on the table and boom, instant relief. I wouldn’t have thought that it could have been done as simply as that, had I known I wouldn’t have checked out of the hotel near the dig show venue.

I had wanted to go back to the dog show, but my chiropractor friend invited me to join him and his family out for dinner. I wouldn’t want to turn down the guy who just healed me, so I accepted his offer and enjoyed a night out in the city. I never really got to know which dog got which awards, and apparently I probably never will as I can’t find anything about it online. The San Antonio Kennel Club should really upgrade their online presence in this digital age.

Since I had gone and checked out of my hotel, I asked my friend what was the best affordable hotel in town was,  but rather than answering my question he and his wife invited me to stay in their home, which I gladly accepted as I haven’t seen my friend in ages and wanted to catch up on things.

My stay of a few days was then stretched into an entire week in San Antonio, I had planned to go home but my friend really wanted to show me around the city and experience San Antonio. I do not regret my decision to stay a few extra days, as the city was quite a beautiful and diverse place, it seemed as though I was not stateside when I was there. Great food, beautiful parks, incredible museums, one of which was a brewery turned museum, everything was great!

When it was time to go back home I realized that my friend was not only great chiropractor but a really good friend. He knew that I was disappointed about not being able to see the dog show, and did not want me to leave San Antonio without having a good time first.

An Interesting Time with My Dog in Atlanta

road-trip-to-atlanta

Okay, I always bring my dog with me when I travel, why? Because I hate for him to be alone and miss me, also he tends to ruin the furniture of whoever I leave them with, and I really don’t like kennels, I hate thinking of my dog being in some cage while I am away, though I do know that there are a lot of good places out there that would really take care of him, I’m still not really sure about the whole idea of leaving Max to some strangers. A silver lining to this though is that I have some company during my trips, though I also have to look for places that allow pets.

Luckily enough, Atlanta has a lot of pet friendly hotels, so I had no trouble of looking for a place to stay during our time there. Also, since I was staying at a place where pet lovers would stay I got to meet a lot of interesting people, one girl stood out the most, literally. She was a quite a beauty, and she loves dogs, so Max coming along the trip really helped with breaking the ice, of course I did motivate him to mysteriously get out of his leash and run towards her direction.

We got to know each other really well and ended up having a few meals together; she was great with Max and offered to look after him when I was out to do my business, which I gladly accepted. We got to be really close with each other, to the point that she told me what she was actually in Atlanta for, apparently she was there because she wanted to get some work done with her breast, when she asked a friend she was told that she should get Breast augmentation in Atlanta GA, since her friend knew people and could get her a good deal. I absent mindedly told her that her breast already looked perfect, and I froze, thankfully enough she wasn’t offended by it, so much so that… let’s just say that Max slept in my room alone that night.

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel and went around the city, there were a lot of fun places to visit in Atlanta, such as the Olympic park where we took a stroll at. Later that day we decided to go to the Aquarium, Max had to stay at the hotel though, we had a really great time and enjoyed ourselves. I had to return home the next day, she stayed behind to get the procedure done, which I totally respect her decision.

It has been a few months since then, we kept in touch, I saw her photos and she looked great. A few weeks from now I will be visiting Atlanta again, and coincidently enough she have plans on visiting the city around the same time. So, I count the days as till She, I and Max have an interesting time in Atlanta once again.

Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs?

golden-retrieverOkay so you want a trusted dog to be a fellow protector of the family, and you want it to be good to your kids and visitors, also adorable at that. Thinking this you thought Golden Retrievers are popular medium size dogs with a pretty load bark, that it would be a great choice as a family pet. Well, you are right about most of those things, except the protector part.

I am not saying that Retrievers won’t protect you, if put in a situation where their owners are in danger rover will do everything he can to help you, maybe biting that intruder. But Golden Retrievers are not designed for guarding and/or attacking, they are dogs made to be an addition the family, with their playfulness for the kids and the kid in you, their loving nature for the companionship of everyone in the family, and their special retriever skills for assisting in hunts and assisting people with disabilities.

Don’t let that make you think that they are just actually large toy dogs though, they might not be able to stop that one guy trespassing on your lawn, but they are capable of far more amazing things. Like what you ask? Well, stopping terrorist and drug cartels of course! Yes they can be like Jack Bower-esque if they are given a chance to; Retrievers, with their keen sense of smell are used for checking packages and cargo for anomalies around the world. They are one of the preferred breeds for the job. So if you are asking if Golden retrievers are good guard dogs, you have to be clearer on what scope, because some of them guards National borders. dog

If you really want a guard dog and a family pet, you might have to choose one or get two dogs. Guard dogs have the nature of being one-man master; though their loyalty extends to your family their increased aggression pose a threat to young kids and to the ones who is not feeding him. Or better yet get a solid home security system and a lovable pet who will defend you during times of great danger, who knows somewhere in your Retriever’s genes might a little Boxer in him.