They say dogs are a man’s best friend, and millions of pet owners around the world would agree. There are about 90 million pet dogs in the U.S. alone, and these beloved canines brighten people’s days, especially during the continued uncertainty and isolation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic resulted in the complete upheaval of daily life right around the globe, with scientists racing to find a vaccine and treatments that work. The virus has infected more than 18,000,000 people globally with nearly 700,000 deaths thus far according to the John Hopkins University of Medicine. What makes the virus so complicated is that people can be infectious before they show symptoms, and some may have the virus and recover with no symptoms at all.
As countries continue to look at testing and treatment options, some new heroes are emerging in the fight against COVID-19, and that’s none other than the dogs humans love so much. Research from University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover shows that dogs can be taught to sniff out the virus with an unprecedented 94% accuracy rating.
This isn’t the first time the incredible intelligence and ability of dogs has made a difference to humans. With as many as 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, dogs have been used to sniff out missing people, criminals, drugs, bombs and much more, although their COVID-19 detection capabilities may prove to be some of the most important of all.
As the virus continues to spread and wreak havoc on communities across every continent, the need for strong testing and detection isn’t going away anytime soon, which explains why the results of the dog study were so exciting. The researchers took saliva samples from upwards of 1,000 people, some who have confirmed COVID-19 cases and others who were not infected and had no history of respiratory problems or disease. The dogs came from German armed forces and were introduced to the samples using a randomized process.
Within five days, the research team had successfully trained the dogs to identify the infected samples with a 94% accuracy level. The researchers believe COVID-19 generates a metabolic change in the human body that dogs can recognize even if people cannot.
With a sense of smell 1,000 times stronger and more sensitive than humans, dogs have the potential to make a massive difference in medical detection by separating infected and non-infected individuals. A similar study by Medical Detection Dogs in the U.K. demonstrated the canine ability to detect humans carrying malaria, a mosquito-borne illness that kills thousands every year.
Now, more studies are being conducted to explore canine COVID-19 detection and how it could be implemented in airports and other busy places, especially as countries look to get air travel back up and running. British researchers have given dogs face masks worn by humans instead of saliva to confirm if they can detect the disease from those surfaces while taking precautions to keep the virus from spreading to the dogs.
It’s believed each detector dog could screen as many as 250 people each hour, with the results available immediately, especially for asymptomatic people who may not raise any concerns with a temperature or symptom screening checking. By isolating the infected people from the greater community, hopefully, disease transmission will decline and hard-hit industries will be able to get back up and running, with the support and reassurance of highly trained and hardworking dogs.
A Pit Bull Who Had Ten Puppies
On average, dogs will have litters of around five puppies. If the litter has more than six puppies, than it’s officially a litter that’s larger than the statistical average for almost any dog breed. Some dog breeds can handle comparatively large litters.
Pit bulls are certainly large and powerful dogs. Some of the biggest dogs ever found have been pit bulls specifically. While most pit bulls will still only have individual litters of just five puppies, some of them can actually have litters that are twice that size. The pit bull that arrived at the Blackdog All Breed Dog Rescue certainly falls into that category.
The shelter is located in Chicago, and the staff members are used to helping a wide range of different dogs. They have certainly worked with pit bulls who didn’t have homes. Certainly, some of the dogs that they have rescued in the past have been pregnant. However, they’re not usually as hugely pregnant as this pit bull was.
This pit bull was already very close to giving birth entirely. Fortunately, the staff members at this dog rescue center were able to give her the help that she certainly needed at this point.
The pit bull is called Bonnie, and she isn’t much more than one year old. She was actually quite thin otherwise, which can be the case for pregnant dogs. It might mean that she wasn’t able to get a lot of food during the pregnancy. She may also have been overly active throughout that pregnancy. Of course, given the sheer size of the litter that she was carrying, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it may have been difficult for her to get all of the food that she would have needed.
When Bonnie arrived, the staff members at the dog rescue gave her a sonogram right away, since they needed to know how large her litter was going to be, making things clearer. Knowing those sorts of details in advance can help with the delivery process.
However, most sonograms are not as surprising as this one was.
Sonograms show images of skeletons, and there was several of them in this image. It seemed as if there were just too many to count at first.
Fortunately, Bonnie was going to have ten puppies. Having a much larger litter might have been risky for her. Even in that situation, the veterinarian and the staff members were concerned about her health.
Underweight dogs can sometimes face risks when giving birth, and Bonnie certainly qualified as thin. Still, having access to great veterinary care is what matters the most, and Bonnie had that going for her.
After only a few more days, Bonnie was able to give birth, and she did so successfully. Her ten puppies were all healthy. Bonnie clearly loves all of them, and gives them plenty of attention all the time.
Bonnie has actually had puppies before on one occasion. She will not have a litter after this one, since she has since been spayed. Dogs who have had several litters still don’t usually have as many little puppies as Bonnie probably has. Her first litter may have been just as large as this one was.
Now, Bonnie has a forever family herself, which should only make her story that much happier. She’ll never have such difficult circumstances again, and neither will any of her ten little children.
Of course, her sonogram may be remembered forever. It has been shared virally, with people all around the world commenting on it. Cats and dogs become very famous on the Internet all the time, and not always like this.
Magawa the Rat is a Hero
When people think of heroic animals, they typically imagine dogs. They might think of cats or horses on occasion, but dogs tend to be regarded as the most heroic animals. These are animals that humanity has been training for thousands of years by this point. They’re also smart and social, and they’re good at responding to various problems.
Of course, cats and horses have also been trained by humans for a while. It’s easier to train cats than a lot of people think, and these are certainly animals who have helped with different emergencies. Horses have warned humans about fires and other issues. Still, it’s hard to compete with dogs, who are regularly used by search and rescue teams to help people.
Rats still have a fairly negative reputation, although it has improved somewhat over the years. Most of the heroic rats that people know are purely fictional at this point. The little rat Magawa may change things for all rats.
Magawa is in Cambodia, and is a giant pouched rat. This gives him a very distinctive appearance. Undetonated land mines are a huge threat worldwide, and Magawa is actually helping to clear them. If fact, he’s managed to do so a total of thirty-nine times, which would be impressive for anyone. He’s done so over the course of five years at this point.
APOPO is a non-profit organization that specializes in using animals to be part of a team that locates land mines. These animals can also detect tuberculosis, which kills a lot of people worldwide. Many animals have the sorts of sharp senses that humans tend to lack, at least compared with many species. They can use these senses to locate different sources of infection all around the world.
Magawa has certainly been able to do so, and he is finally starting to be recognized for all of his great efforts. People online are now familiar with him, so it is not just the non-profit professionals who are aware of all of the rat’s hard work.
Land mines have killed countless people all around the world. In Cambodia, sixty-four thousand people have died from them, at least. Exploding land mines have also caused forty thousand people to lose their limbs.
It seems miraculous that it is even possible for something like this to happen. However, it is important for people to not underestimate the sense of smell that a lot of animals have, including Magawa.
Land mines are formed using certain very distinct chemicals. Magawa is actually able to smell these chemicals himself. He has been trained to go back to his human handlers when he has pinpointed the location of an undiscovered land mine by using this method. At that point, the land mine has officially been detected. It can be removed and eliminated safely from that point onward.
Magawa is able to move at a very quick rate, since rats are fast in general. These sorts of rats can also get around hazardous scrap metal, which would be more of a problem for humans.
It takes this little rat around a half an hour to get through with searching around an area that is as big as a tennis court, which is an impressive rate. It only took around nine months to train this little rat, demonstrating how efficient it is to use a rate for something like this in the first place.
Magawa deserves all of the recognition that he has already received, and that he shall surely receive over the course of his life. He is able to save thousands of lives this way.
A Frozen Food Brand Helps a Large Cat Get a Home
Fans of Garfield may already think of cats when they think of lasagna. The idea that a cat would like lasagna more than regular cat food may have seemed surprising years ago. Lots of cat owners are used to giving their cats and dogs leftovers from the table, even though it isn’t healthy to do so.
Plenty of cats are picky eaters, and it’s difficult to find a type of cat food that they will like. Other cats will seemingly eat anything that their owners get for them. They’ll nibble on different parts of the lasagna. Cats are natural carnivores, and they’ll probably just pick at the lasagna if it has enough meat in it. Of course, some cats might surprise people with what they’ll eat.
‘Lasagna’ is also the name of a cat who has now become famous online. She weighs in at a good twenty-nine pounds. The average cat weighs about ten pounds, and not usually more than seven pounds. Lasagna is certainly a big cat, and she has the sorts of markings that a lot of people would associate with Garfield.
She has a striking combination of orange and brown stripes, and very large eyes. Some people might think of her as being a sort of genuine version of Garfield. Sadly, she was left abandoned when cat rescue workers found her. She was in an old dog crate at the time. This was in Philadelphia, near a nice animal shelter called ACCT Philly.
Usually, the cats that have short fur do not have a difficult time grooming themselves, but this was not the case for poor Lasagna. Cats her size will sometimes struggle with this activity. Lasagna was also a nearly immobile cat who could not walk or move easily.
Lasagna has a lot of terrible medical problems now. Being unable to move will automatically cause health problems, since physically activity is very important for members of all species. The animals that are healthier at larger weights are usually very physically active. Lasagna had gotten to the point where this was no longer possible for her, so she also could not truly care for herself.
Cats who are larger can still often get adopted, but a lot of people are nervous about adopting a cat that has health problems. Many people are just not able to care for a cat who has unique medical needs. Pets already require a lot of attention and care, and this is certainly true for disabled pets.
While cats are popular, dogs have been the most popular pets for a while. People might not guess that if they spend a lot of time online, where cat videos seem to be everywhere. However, when it comes to actual pet ownership, it seems that dogs still win. This seemed to have been another strike against Lasagna.
Of course, the fact that people on the Internet love cats so much has probably managed to help Lasagna. The ACCT Philly staff members just had to post a nice picture of the cat Lasagna on a social media website, and the picture got viral attention.
The Stouffer’s brand of frozen food actually got involved. If Lasagna had a slightly different name, it’s possible that this company would not have heard of her at all. The connection between these keywords may have been enough. Now, they’re more or less helping to promote the cat themselves.
They’re sending Lasagna their best wishes, and saying that anyone who gives Lasagna a home will be sent some lasagna.
It all worked, and the cat Lasagna has now been adopted for real.