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This Hero Saved Numerous Dogs and Trained Them to Hunt Truffles

Mackenzie Freeman

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Dogs and mushrooms go together surprisingly well. Of course, we’re not talking about as a meal but instead using rescue dogs to hunt down truffles. Jayson Mesman of Canberra, Australia has been training rescue dogs to hunt down truffles on his farm.

Mesman has been taking rescue dogs and putting them through school. Once they graduate, they’ll be able to work on Mesman’s farm, helping him hunt down truffles. Mesman had already worked as a trainer for police dogs. He realized that dogs could sniff down more than guns and drugs. Really, they can sniff out just about anything with the proper training.

At the same time, Mesman had moved on from police work. He set up a truffle farm in Australia, one of the few of its kind in the Land Down Under. (Truffles are extremely delicious and expensive mushrooms, costing as much as $3,000 per kilo.) Yet owning a truffle farm is hard work and it can be hard to find the truffles.

You can’t simply plant them in rows like corn. Truffles grow where they want, and that’s often hidden from view. So why not get some helping puppers on hand to hunt them down with their noses? In the past, farmers used to use pigs, which also have an extraordinary sense of smell. However, the pigs also have an appetite for truffles. Dogs usually don’t.

Now, Mesman has quite the crew on his farm. He and his pack of dogs spend their days hunting down the most delicious of truffles. During the off time, they’re a regular old dog-human family. And all of Mesman’s dog coworkers are rescued from nearby pounds.

Mesman has his eye on a particular personality when it comes to selecting a dog. This particular personality is often overlooked at the pound. He looks for active, even hyperactive dogs, with a strong hunting drive. Turns out, such doggos make the best truffle hunters.

Then, using positive reinforcement and figuring out what makes each dog tick, Mesman trains them to hunt down truffles. For most dogs praise, pats, and treats are enough. A few, however, need different stimuli but Mesman knows how to motivate each animal.

Don’t worry about the dogs being overworked, either. Mesman says the trick to getting dogs to perform tasks is to make those tasks fun, something the dogs want to do. They don’t really even see it as work, but more playing with the pack.

So why does Mesman need dogs to find mushrooms?

Here’s the thing, dogs have a much, much better smell than us. Many of us humans struggle to smell what’s cooking up in the kitchen down the hall. Dogs can smell substances measuring just 1 or 2 parts per trillion. This allows them to smell things from up to a mile away.

In fact, dogs can even smell things underwater. While rather morbid, dogs are used to find bodies in water, and can successfully smell said bodies even when they are 80 feet under the water. Dogs are able to do this because they have separate tissues in their nose for smelling and breathing. A small bit of air is diverted to the bony smelling structures inside the nose where sensitive smelling tissues reside.

Humans on the other hand, rely on multi-purpose tissues and don’t have such elaborate small apparatuses. In other words, we don’t make very good truffle hunters, at least not with our noses. Then again, a dog couldn’t exactly write up a story on truffle hunting, so mark one point for us.

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Animals

These Incredible Hybrid Dog Breeds Will Have You Ready To Adopt!

Lea Lomas

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If you are considering adding a new pet to your family, you have quite a few options available to you! While some families like purebred pups, and who can blame them, there are so many other breeds to consider. Today, we are going to introduce you to several fascinating hybrid breeds that make great family pets. By the end of our discussion today, you’ll be ready to adopt them all!

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Animals

Owner Returns from 6 Months Overseas to the Delight of Adorable Dog

Sherry Rucherman

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Many people have seen the heartwarming videos that get posted of soldiers returning from a tour of duty overseas to the delight of their loving children. These videos are enough to bring tears to the eyes of nearly everyone. In addition to these fantastic videos, the same principle is true with pets as well. Recently, a video was published showing that dogs truly are a man’s best friend. A video was posted recently of a young lieutenant who has stationed overseas in South Korea. When he left, he left behind his wife as well as their young dog. One of this young soldier’s biggest fears was that when he returned, his dog would not remember him. Even though people love their dogs and their dogs are obviously happy to see them, it can be a challenge to get inside the mind of a dog.

This is why this young soldier made time in his busy military schedule to connect with his dog. When the young soldier would FaceTime his wife, he made sure that his dog was around as well. The dog clearly recognized his face and his voice when the dog ran over to the phone. This provided for some heartwarming moments during what was surely a stressful time overseas.

Recently, the young soldier returned home to his family located in Austin, TX. His heart was pounding as he stepped off the plane and rejoined his family. Of course, his wife was waiting with open arms and was excited to see him. Fortunately, there was someone else who was waiting to see him as well. When he started talking, his dog heard his voice. The dog leaped out from around the corner and clearly could not contain his excitement at his owner returning home from more than six months overseas. 

He could be seen jumping up and down because he was so excited to greet this young soldier as he returned home. IN fact, the young soldier ended up being tackled to the floor. The dog spun around in circles. He kept barking. His tail was wagging back and forth as quickly as it possibly could. It was obvious this dog could not believe that his owner had come home. Clearly, they are best friends. Even though the young soldier was unsure of whether or not his dog would remember him, the wife stated that she never had any doubt. It was obvious the dog recognized his owner during the FaceTime videos. Therefore, he would recognize him in-person again as well.

This story serves to highlight the connection that truly exists between dogs and people. Many people think that dogs are just animals; however, there is a true connection there. The love that dogs provide is unconditional. They are very smart creatures with great hearing and a strong sense of smell. They are able to connect with people instantly and do not forget people just because they go away for a few months at a time. The way this dog responded to his owner when he returned home from overseas is evidence of that.

Perhaps this is why people say dogs are a man’s best friend. Perhaps this is why people get so upset when a dog gets hurt, sick, or passes away. People view dogs as members of their family. It was clear that the dog was every bit as excited to see this young soldier return home from his tour of duty as his wife was. It is moments like these that make people appreciate dogs even more.

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Animals

Jack- the One-Eyed K-9 Dog for a Day

Mackenzie Freeman

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A 14-year-old unique Parson Russel Terrier named Jack has captured the heart of people everywhere after his story became known online. The one-eyed dog was able to enjoy what may be his final months doing something he always wanted. Jack got to check off another item off of his bucket list, and it was all due to the big hearts and caring hands of the Wilmington Police Department in North Carolina.

A few months ago, Jack, who is showing visible signs of his advanced age, was diagnosed with aggressive cancer in his jaw. Due to his advanced age, the location of the cancer, and the aggressiveness of the disease, surgery or other treatments were not an option. Jeremy Miller and his wife, Jack’s owners.

Understandably were very upset by the news and were devastated at the thought of losing their furry friend. Especially Jeremy as he had adopted Jack when the pooch was just a pup at two years of age.  Jack had lived a long and happy life with the Miller family, and his owners wanted to do all that they could to make sure he lived out the rest of his life in comfort and enjoying every day he had with them. So the couple talked and they decided to create a bucket list for the terminally ill Jack.

In an interview with Inside Edition Jeremey said “We decided to celebrate his life rather than be depressed waiting for him to pass away because of all the years of joy and happiness he’s given us. He’s proving that despite looking down this loaded barrel we call cancer that he too can go out happy and positive rather than sad and scared.”

It did not take long for the local Wilmington Police Department to hear of Jack’s story. In no time at all they decided that they wanted to help Jack and his owners celebrate his long and happy life. They were going to grant one of the bucket list wishes: get to be a K-9 officer for the day. Some of the K-9 officers talked about how touched they were by Jack’s story and how much it made them think back and remember the times with their canine companions as well.  When someone pulled up the actual bucket list, they were excited that there was an easy and special way they could help make Jack’s final days special and memorable.

Jeremy often referred to Jack as his best friend and his wife always told her husband that the tiny dog was his “mini-me”. Jack is now gone but his final months and days were filled with fun and adventure and love. He was a fearless dog despite his size. He never backed down from a challenge, even facing cancer at the end of a long well-lived life. His fight and his story and his courage were a testament to his spirit and continue to serve and inspiration for those who are going through difficult times themselves.

Though Jack is gone, Jeremy and his wife continue to rescue dogs and advocate for dogs who are looking for their fur-ever homes.

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