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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

Snapchat’s Cartoon Face Feature Is Driving Dog Owner’s Wild

Lea Lomas

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A lot of people have fun with the myriad of features that the Snapchat applications provide. Filters are the most commonly used features on the platform. Pet owners are now starting to use filters to give their dogs a Disney-ish appearance. Snapchatters of all ages and ethnicities are spending hours of their time applying various filters to their furry friend and posting them for other users to enjoy. Even some users who didn’t know how to maneuver Snapchat before are using it now just to get their Disney fix. I must admit that I was never a Snapchat user until I heard about the feature. I thought it would be fun for me to try it out on my dog. We were just sitting around down nothing during the quarantine, so I figured,” Why not? It might be fun.” I was surprised at how easy it was for me to navigate the application and use the feature to make my dog look like a Disney character. If you own a dog, you might want to try it out because it’s currently the latest new trend. You’ll get a few laughs out of it at the very least.

About the Filter

The name of the filter that people are using is called “Cartoon Face.” It wasn’t necessarily designed for dogs, but a random dog owner used it one day and somehow turned it into an overnight sensation. The person’s picture ended up getting tens of thousands of views and likes. It only takes one person’s picture getting attention for that picture to turn into a brand new trend. Now, people like me, a middle-aged dog owner, are starting to use the feature more frequently. Snapchat’s user base has probably risen drastically since this new feature has been available. I use Snapchat all the time now, and you might end up becoming a frequent user, as well. 

How the Filter Works

It’s very easy for you to use the filter. I’m not a tech-savvy person at all, and I found it to be quite user-friendly. All you need to do is to activate the lens and choose the embellishments before you snap the picture of your dog. The two features that most people are using are the “big eye” feature and the brow-changing feature. These features are making their dogs look like they came from movies such as “Lady and the Tramp.” My pooch immediately looked like she was straight from the movie. My friends and family members loved the pictures, and they started using Snapchat and its features the same day I did. We all communicate with the app all the time now. 

Other users have stated that the application features have been very easy to use. They’ve also stated that they had an easier time applying the features to dogs who were lighter in color than they did with dogs who were darker colors. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re someone who likes to play with application features that change appearances, then you will probably get a kick out of the “Cartoon Face” feature on Snapchat. It might very well be a feature that causes more people from the older generations to download the application and participate with its toys and such. 

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Animals

Shelter Comes Up With Magical Photoshoot To Help Pregnant Dogs Get Adopted!

Leslie Tander

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Did you know that there are more than 6.5 million companion pets stuck in shelters around the United States? This annual number does not even take into account more than 1.5 million shelter animals that are tragically euthanized every single year due to a lack of attention from prospective owners. With so many people opting to adopt from private owners and puppy mills, it can be hard for shelters to get attention from potential puppy-parents. In order to bring some attention to their pregnant and lovable pups, this shelter in Virginia decided to do something a little different. Keep on reading to find out how one animal shelter in Virginia changed the game by giving their dogs a fair chance at being adopted!

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is based out of Fairfax Station, VA. Like any other animal shelter, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue has continued to struggle when it comes to adopting out their older, pregnant, and physically handicapped animals. While most people fall in love with puppies when they go to the shelter, these older dogs require love and attention, too! In order to get as much attention as possible for their pregnant doggos, Homeward Trails decided to have an incredible, hilarious, and touching photoshoot!

When Homeward Trails decided to launch their photoshoot, they knew that they had to bring a bunch of fun themes into the equation. For Shelley, an older pregnant dog, the shelter decided to go with a glamorous look, as you can see here. With an adorable flower bow on her head and a pink shawl, Shelley managed to steal the attention of everyone scrolling through their Facebook feed. 

The team at Homeward Trails elected to perform a maternity photoshoot for Shelly to bring in extra clicks while they had the attention of social media. The hilarious photos that were released would quickly go viral, causing Shelley to become something of a buzzworthy pup on social media! As the mainstream media began reporting on the story, Homeward Trails received even more attention for their pregnant, old, and otherwise incapacitated dogs in need of new forever homes.

Following the maternity photoshoot that we referenced above, Shelley would give birth to ten beautiful puppies as reported by Good Morning America andPeople. The beautiful litter coupled with the stunning viral photographs would net Shelley her first and final forever home. According to workers at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, this was one of the few times that a mama-dog got adopted before any of her puppies.  In addition to the success that Homeward Trails had with Shelley, the shelter also found a home for an older pregnant pup named Fiona, pictured here as an adorable angel.

With millions of wonderful and loving animals being sent to shelters every single year, now is the perfect time to save a life. Consider checking out your local animal shelter when it comes time to adopt your next furry friend.

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Animals

Unforgettable Papillon Dogs That Look Like They Have Wings

Leslie Tander

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Lots of people are familiar with corgi dogs. In fact, corgi dogs are very popular. These dogs have a very distinctive appearance, and they’ve appeared in a lot of television shows and movies. While papillon dogs also have a very unique look to them, some papillon owners say that a lot of people don’t yet know about these dogs. 

Of course, papillon dogs have a very striking appearance, so a lot of people will still ask questions about these dogs when they see them. However, people will not always know that the dogs come from a famous breed of their own. Some people just think that papillon dogs are interesting mixed breeds. However, plenty of successful show dogs have been papillons. 

This breed actually has a few names, which is one of the reasons why they’re not as famous as they might be in the future. Some people refer to these dogs as ‘dwarf spaniels.’ They’re also sometimes identified as ‘continental toy spaniels.’ When they’re in dog shows, they’ll usually be part of the ‘toy’ category of dogs. 

Papillons are very small dogs, and their broad, fluffy ears are very recognizable. These petite dogs were actually named after the original French word for ‘butterfly.’ Anyone who has ever seen a papillon dog will immediately know why this was the case. From the front, the full and long fur at their ears looks a lot like butterfly wings. 

The dogs have small heads and relatively broad ears, which only makes their ears that much more obvious. Their fur in general is very long and smooth. The dogs might almost look as if they’re wearing silk shirts. 

Some papillon dogs have a slightly different look to them, because their ears are not as raised, comparatively speaking. Many people in Europe call these dogs ‘moths’ or ‘phalene’ dogs. While some people might assume that these sorts of dogs are part of a very different dog breed at this point, they’re still papillon dogs. Even dog breeds can be much more varied than a lot of people think. Still, once people learn about papillon dogs, it’s very easy to identify them. 

Many people now own papillon dogs. However, at one point in history, it was only aristocrats who had them. These dogs were there to provide companionship. Plenty of modern pet dogs come from breeds that were once used for hunting and working, but this is not the case with papillon dogs. They were more or less always supposed to be pets, which shouldn’t be especially surprising. 

They aren’t big enough to be guard dogs or hunting dogs. Their very long and soft fur is great for a companion dog, but it would be a liability to any working dog. However, these dogs are perfect as pet dogs, since they’re very gentle and smart. They can get along well with most people, so social dog owners shouldn’t run into any issues when they have papillon dogs. 

Papillon dogs are related to spaniels. It’s possible to see a lot of early papillon dogs in the paintings of aristocrats and merchants throughout early modern Europe. The famous Marie Antoinette may have had one, although she did have a lot of dogs, and historians aren’t sure about all of the exact dog breeds she kept.  

Many historians think that papillon dogs originally came from Italy or Spain. This breed has certainly been around for a long time by this point in history, and they should only become more popular in the future. Plenty of people are seeing them online today, and they’re a difficult breed to forget. 

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