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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The wonders of nature - amazing!

What is Ulcer...?

Ulcer: What Is It?

Ulcers are holes that form in the lining of the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When they occur in the stomach, they are called gastric ulcers. If they form in the first part of your small intestine, the duodenum, they are referred to as duodenal ulcers.

“An ulcer is a wound in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, but really any part of the gastrointestinal tract can ulcerate,” explains Patrick I. Okolo, III, MD, MPH, chief of endoscopy at Johns Hopkins Hospital and assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “It’s a chronic injury where the lining has been disrupted. However, when people refer to an ulcer they are usually referring to peptic ulcer disease.” The word peptic refers to digestion. A peptic ulcer is the umbrella term for all types of GI ulcers.

Technically an ulcer is at least 0.5 centimeters wide, but can be much larger. Duodenal ulcers mainly occur in people between 20 and 50 years old and gastric ulcers typically appear in people over age 40. Duodenal ulcers are about four times more common than gastric ulcers.

Ulcer: How It Forms

Your stomach is a very hostile environment because of the acids that help in digestion, acids that are as toxic as car battery acid. The lining of your stomach and duodenum usually is well-protected from these acids by a layer of mucus.

Peptic ulcer disease begins when a weakness in your stomach or intestinal lining allows acid to create an erosion or sore in the lining. It is the most common type of stomach disease, according to the American Gastroenterology Association.


“We know that ulcers occur because there has been a disruption in the balance of factors that injure the digestive tract and those factors that protect it from injury,” says Dr. Okolo.

Basically, the factors that injure your stomach lining become stronger or more numerous than those that protect it.

The cause of about two out of every three ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are another common ulcer cause; they damage the protective mucus layer of the GI tract.

Ulcer Symptoms

At first you may only feel mild discomfort (technically referred to as “epigastric pain”) in the pit of your stomach, about halfway between your ribs and your navel.

Without treatment, your ulcer can continue to grow, become very painful, and may bleed. If not treated early, it may eat entirely through the lining of your stomach or intestine (this is called a perforated ulcer) and need surgery to repair. At its worst, a perforated ulcer may lead to significant bleeding and death.

If you have multiple recurrent ulcers, they can cause swelling and scarring as they heal, which may one day cause problems with your digestion. You may:

Lose your appetite and be unable to eat a normal amount
Start vomiting because of a complete blockage by scar tissue
Shed pounds unintentionally



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why giraffes have long necks...?


The giraffe's long neck may have evolved to help the male compete for mates, suggests new research.

Nearly 15 million years ago the giraffes were antelope-like animals roaming the dry grasslands of Africa. They had no distinguishing characteristics, except that some their necks were a bit long.

But within 6 million years, they had evolved into animals that looked like modern giraffes, even as we know the modern species only emerged around 1 million years ago. Today's giraffe, the tallest living land animal, stands between 4.5 and 5 metres tall with its neck making up nearly half that height.

It is largely believed that giraffes' long necks evolved to help them eat leaves on tall trees that their rivals couldn't reach.

But the evidence supporting the high-feeding theory is surprisingly weak.

The latest theory is that the long necks are the result of sexual selection - they evolved in males as a way of competing for females.

Male giraffes fight for females by "necking". They stand side by side and swing the backs of their heads into each others' ribs and legs. Helping them are their unusually thick skulls and horn-like growths called ossicones on the tops of their heads.

A long and powerful neck would be an advantage in these duels, and it has emerged males with long necks tend to win, and also that females prefer them.

The "necks for sex" idea also answers why giraffes have extended their necks so much more than their legs. If giraffes' long necks evolved to reach higher branches, their legs should have been lengthened as fast as their necks, but they haven't.

The only problem for the sex idea is that it implies that female giraffes shouldn't have long necks, and they plainly do.

Research conducted last year by Graham Mitchell of the University of Pretoria in South Africa and colleagues apparently debunked the "necks for sex" theory. Mitchell's team demonstrated that, in Zimbabwe at least, males and females had necks that were almost exactly the same length, and that if anything the females' necks were longer.

However, Rob Simmons and Res Altwegg of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, have reviewed Mitchell's results and are not convinced. According to them, the figures do show that males have proportionally longer necks, and that "Mitchell et al. appear to have misinterpreted this result", reports The New Scientist.

They point to a study in Namibia which found that males consistently had heavier necks than females with the same body mass, and that only the males' necks kept growing throughout their lives. Males' heads were also heavier than females', which is what you would expect if they were being selected for their ability to fight.

Simmons and Altwegg believe giraffes' necks may have begun growing as a way of eating hard-to-reach food, but that they were then "hijacked" for mating purposes. Once the necks reached a certain length, males could use them for necking and clubbing - and at that point sexual selection took over, driving the necks to their current extreme lengths.

Simmons and Altwegg's research appears in Journal of Zoology. (ANI)


Owl City - Galaxies - HD Music Video

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Top-20-world-famous-animals

There is a special bond that exists between animal and human. Studies have shown that human to animal contact will reduce characteristics of stress and lower levels of blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and tension. People will not tolerate animal cruelty or abuse. In the last 150 years, a large number of animals have made their mark on history. In times of war, humans and animals have worked together to defeat a common enemy. This article will examine twenty world famous animals.

It was difficult to highlight only 20 animals with so many options. There are literally thousands of creatures that could have been used. Some honorable mentions include Adwaita, who was a male Aldabra giant tortoise that lived in the Alipore Zoological Gardens until he died in 2006. At the time of his death, Adwaita was estimated to be around 255 years-old, which makes him the oldest tortoise of modern times. Heather the Leather was a 50 year-old scaleless carp. Before her death in 2010, she was described as “Britain’s most famous fish.” Heather was one of the oldest and largest carp in Great Britain and weighed 52 pounds (24 kg).

Mancs was a male German Shepherd Dog that was the most famous rescue dog in the history of Hungary. Crème Puff was a female cat that is the oldest ever recorded. She died in 2005 at the age of 38 years and 3 days. Huaso is a horse that set the high jump world record on February 5, 1949, by jumping 2.47 m (8 ft 1 in) in Viña del Mar, Chile. Huaso’s record remains one of the longest-running unbroken sport records in history. Karvardi was a bull and the champion of nelore. Fukutsuru was a Wagyū bull that helped grow the U.S. Kobe beef market. Little Yellow Jacket is the most successful riding bull in the history of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Association.

20
Heidi


In the past couple years, a large number of animals in German zoos have made international headlines, including Knut, Flocke, Paul the Octopus, and Heidi. Heidi was a cross-eyed North American opossum that was given to the Leipzig Zoo by Denmark’s Odense Zoo in May 2010. Heidi was originally raised at a wild animal sanctuary in the U.S. state of North Carolina after being abandoned. In 2011, she was placed at the Leipzig Zoo in a tropical wildlife exhibit. Heidi lived alongside two other opossums at the zoo, which is a bit unusual because opossums are solitary and nocturnal animals.

Heidi’s eye condition did not affect her health, but did make her vulnerable in the wild. After photographs of Heidi were published on the Internet, she quickly became one of the most popular members of the Leipzig Zoo. Heidi inspired a popular YouTube song, a line of stuffed animals, and gained over 332,963 followers on Facebook. Before her death, she had three times more Facebook admirers than German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In 2011, Heidi received an offer to appear at the 83rd Academy Awards via video broadcast. Instead she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in a series of pre-taped vignettes, in which she predicted the winners of three Oscar categories. In September of 2011, it was announced that “The cross-eyed opossum Heidi had closed her eyes forever.” Heidi was euthanized by the zoo on September 28, 2011 after suffering from an unspecified health condition. Sadly, it was not the first time that a famous German animal has died prematurely; both Knut (polar bear) and Paul the Octopus died very young.


19
Bobbie the Wonder Dog


In 1923, Bobbie traveled with his family from Silverton, Oregon to Indiana. He was a two year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix. During the vacation, Bobbie was separated from his owners and became lost. After an exhaustive search, the family could not find their dog and was forced to return home to Oregon. Six months later, in February of 1924, Bobbie appeared on the doorstep of his home in Silverton. He was extremely skinny, dirty, and weak. His feet were worn to the bone and Bobbie had walked 2,551 miles (4,105 km) across the United States to return home.

During the voyage, Bobbie covered huge plains, desert, and mountains. His story quickly spread around the country. People from all over the world started to send Bobbie letters and he was given the nickname Bobbie the Wonder Dog. He was featured in newspaper articles, books, and film. Bobbie was given a jewel-studded harness and collar. At one show in Portland, Oregon, Bobbie attracted a crowd of 40,000 spectators. In 1927, Bobbie the Wonder Dog died at the age of six. He was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society’s pet cemetery in Portland. A week after Bobbie’s death, the famous German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath at his grave.


18
Oliver



Many articles have featured the story of Oliver, who was a common chimpanzee that displayed some human-like characteristics. In the 1960s, Oliver was acquired by trainers Frank and Janet Berger and raised in their home. He was an unusual looking chimp and had a flatter face. Oliver was habitually bipedal and did not walk on his knuckles like other apes. In 2006, he was the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary in which Janet Berger claimed that by the time Oliver was 16, he had become sexually attracted to her, so she was forced to get rid of him.

Oliver was then sold to Ralph Helfer, who owned a theme park called Enchanted Village in Buena Park, California. He was displayed at the park in a show that labeled Oliver a human-ape hybrid or possible new sub-species. In 1982, his unusual characteristics were featured in a Los Angeles Times article and he was later transferred to a scientific and cosmetic testing facility. In 1998, Oliver was sent to a spacious, open-air cage at Primarily Primates in Bexar County, Texas. His DNA was tested by a geneticist from the University of Chicago, who reported that Oliver had a normal chromosome count for a chimpanzee. Oliver’s bizarre cranial morphology, ear shape, freckles, and baldness are said to fall within the range of variability exhibited by the Common Chimpanzee.

On June 2, 2012, Oliver died peacefully in his sleep at Primarily Primates. He was at least 55 years old, with the average lifespan for a male chimp in captivity being 35. Africa’s oldest known chimpanzee was Gregoire, who died in 2008 at the age of 66. After his death, Oliver’s handler responded with the quote: “He was just on a different level. He had very humanlike traits. He loved coconut sorbet and that food got the biggest hoots and hollers. But if he didn’t like something, he’d hand the bowl back to you, like the time he tried sugar-free pistachio pudding.” After his death, Oliver’s body was cremated and his ashes were spread over the grounds of Primary Primates. In 2011, the character of Caesar in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes was based on Oliver.


17
Smoky




In 1943, Smoky was born in an unknown location. She was a Yorkshire Terrier, which is an extremely small breed of dog that was originally developed in Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills. In February 1944, Smoky was found by an American soldier in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. She was only 4 pounds (1.8 kg) and stood 7 inches (180 mm) tall. It was initially thought that Smoky was a Japanese war dog, but she did not understand commands in Japanese or English. For the next two years, Smoky back-packed through the jungle with Corporal William A. Wynne.

Smoky slept in Wynne’s tent and she shared his rations. Smoky served in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force and participated in 12 air/sea rescue and photo reconnaissance missions. She survived 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Smoky even parachuted from 30 feet (9.1 m) in the air, out of a tree, using a parachute made just for her. In 1944, Yank Down Under magazine named Smoky the “Champion Mascot in the Southwest Pacific Area.” Her largest contribution to the Allied forces was with her incredible hearing and sense for danger. On multiple occasions, Smoky saved the life of Wynne and warned soldiers of incoming fire.

In 1944, Smoky made national headlines when she helped engineers build an airbase at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. During the construction, a Signal Corps team needed to run a telegraph wire through a 70-foot-long (21 m) pipe that was 8 inches (200 mm) in diameter. Wynne attached the line to Smoky and she got the job done. According to an Animal Planet investigation, Smoky was also the first war therapy dog on record. At the end of World War II, Smoky was smuggled back into the United States hidden in a modified oxygen mask carrying case. After her return, Smoky became a national celebrity and performed her skills for crowds, which included walking a tightrope while blindfolded. On February 21, 1957, Smoky died unexpectedly at the age of approximately 14.


16
Fido


During World War II, a huge number of dogs were killed in military attacks. People’s pets were forced to flee their families and live on the streets. One of the most famous street dogs from World War II is Fido. Fido is a Latin word that means “faithful one.” In November 1941, on his way home from the bus stop, a brick worker in Borgo San Lorenzo, which is in the Tuscan Province of Florence, Italy, found Fido lying injured in a roadside ditch. Not knowing who the dog belonged to Carlo Soriani took him home and nursed Fido back to health.

After Fido recovered, he followed Soriani to the bus stop every day and watched him board the bus for work. When the bus returned, Fido was always there to greet Soriani with great joy. The pattern repeated for two years until December 30, 1943, when Borgo San Lorenzo was subjected to a violent Allied bombardment and many factories were hit. Thousands of people were killed, including Carlo Soriani. Despite his friend’s death, Fido returned to the bus stop looking for Soriani every day for fourteen more years (more than 5,000 times).

People began to notice the dog and he became a media sensation in Italy. Fido came to symbolize extreme loyalty. He died on June 9, 1958, while still waiting for his master. The news of his death was announced by multiple newspaper articles. Fido is not the only dog to have become famous for public acts of extreme dedication to an individual person. Some other dogs have showed their ending love include Hachikō, Shep, and Greyfriars Bobby.

15
Gua


Gua was born on November 15, 1930 in Havana, Cuba. On May 13, 1931, she was donated to the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Orange Park, Florida. The center specialized in the study of chimpanzees. At the age of 7 1/2 months Gua became the first chimpanzee to be used in a cross-rearing study when she was taken to the home of scientists Luella and Winthrop Kellogg and placed alongside their 10 month old child Donald. The goal of the experiment was to give Gua the same environmental advantages as Donald and then compare the similarities/differences between the two.

For nine months, the Kelloggs recorded the development of Gua and Donald. Gua often tested ahead of Donald in reading and understanding. She learned to walk faster and used a cup and spoon before Donald. The two differed in their perception of human recognition. Gua recognized people from their clothes and their smell while Donald recognized them by their faces. In physical tests, Gua performed better at jumping, climbing, and at using her feet. However, the two were similar in overall strength at such a young age. As they matured, Gua would become much stronger.

By the age of 16 months, Donald was starting to communicate, but Gua could not speak. After nine months the experiment was stopped when Donald started to copy the vocalizations made by Gua. She was eventually returned to the primate center in Florida. Gua died on December 21, 1933 from pneumonia and was only 3 years-old. Sadly, in 1972, the human subject Donald Agger Kellogg committed suicide.


14
Shrek




In 1994, Shrek, who is a Merino male sheep, was born in Bendigo Station near Tarras, New Zealand. In 1998, Shrek decided to leave Bendigo Station and enter the high country of Central Otago on the South Island. For six years, Shrek lived off the land. In the winter, he had little to no food available, but survived. In 2004, Shrek was found hiding in a rock cave near the Bendigo high country ranch by a team looking for sheep. When discovered, the workers could hardly believe the sight of the sheep. He had avoided being sheared for six years, which is normally an annual process for a male Merino.

Shrek was practically unrecognizable. The wool covered over 75% of his body and his fleece contained enough wool to make suits for 20 men. It total, Shrek’s coat weighed 27 kg (60 lb), with an average Merino fleece weighing around 4.5 kg (9.9 lb). Merino sheep are known for having some of the finest and softest wool in the world. Due his abnormal size and fun attitude, Shrek was named after the television ogre.

In New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people by more than 10-1, Shrek became a major celebrity. He was taken to the parliament to meet the New Zealand Prime Minister and became a national icon. A few days after his capture, Shrek’s shearing was broadcast live on national television. It took a professional shearer 20 minutes to cut the 60 pounds of wool from his body. The giant fleece was auctioned off for children’s medical charities. After the event, Shrek became a hero and raised over 150,000 dollars for kids. “He had an unbelievable personality. He loved children and was really good with the elderly in retirement homes.” Sadly, Shrek was euthanized on June 6, 2011 on the advice of a veterinary surgeon. He was 16 or 17 years-old.


13
Congo



Congo was a chimpanzee that is considered the greatest animal painter in history. He was born in 1954 and produced about 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of 2 and 4. His artwork provoked strong reactions during the 1950s, ranging from scorn to skepticism. Pablo Picasso was a big fan of Congo and had one of his paintings displayed in his studio. In the late 1950s, Salvador Dali saw one of Congo’s canvasses and gave the famous quote: “The hand of the chimpanzee is quasi-human. The hand of Jackson Pollock is totally animal.” The artwork of Congo falls under the category of abstract impressionism, which is similar to Jackson Pollock.

Congo was a natural artist and understood the notion of color balance and scrubbing. He was a purist and could make unique pigments. If his art was taken away before he considered it complete, Congo would scream and throw a fit. Also, if the ape considered one of his drawings to be finished, he would refuse to continue painting even if someone tried to persuade him to do so. Congo is one of the best selling animal artists in history. On June 20, 2005, three of his paintings were included in an auction at Bonhams alongside works by Renoir and Warhol and were sold for more than US$26,000. In 1964, Congo died of tuberculosis at the age of ten.


12
Wheely Willy


In 1991, Wheely Willy, who was a Chihuahua, was born in Long Beach, California. From a very young age he was abused by his owner, who attempted to murder him. Willy was found inside a cardboard box with spinal injuries and a cut throat. He was taken to a veterinary hospital and saved, but Willy would never walk again. He was nicknamed Chilly Willy, because before his hair grew back, he shivered all the time. Willy was eventually adopted by groomer Deborah Turner, who did everything she could to make him happy.

In one case, Turner tried to help Willy walk by attaching a large helium-filled balloon to his hindquarters and putting him on a skateboard, but the experiment had little success. When K-9 Carts became commercially available, Willy was fitted with one of the smallest models. He adapted quickly to the cart and could move around with ease. His story caught the attention of local media and Willy became a national celebrity. He was featured on the Animal Planet television network and multiple talk shows.

Wheely Willy became a model for people with physical disabilities and made frequent public appearances promoting mutual understanding. He traveled the world and visited hundreds of hospitals to make children feel better. He was extremely popular in Japan. When Willy met Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako, the royals got down on the floor to greet him, which caused a minor sensation in Japan.

Willy became the subject of two bestselling children’s books. He had a great personality and was an inspiration for everyone he touched. Sadly, on December 22, 2009, Willy died from injuries he sustained after Turner slipped on her porch and Willy fell out of her arms. He was 18 years-old. Wheely Willy’s message will not be forgotten: “Life is what you make of it.”


11
Unsinkable Sam



The battleship Bismarck was one of the Germans largest vessels during World War II. It was used in only one offensive operation, in May 1941, when the ship was sent to raid shipping routes from North America to Great Britain. During the voyage, the Bismarck was detected by Allied forces and attacked during the Battle of Denmark Strait. During the fight, the Bismarck destroyed the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which spurred a relentless pursuit of the vessel by the Royal Navy.

On May 27, 1941, the Bismarck was spotted by a pair of British destroyers and sunk. In total, 2,200 German soldiers were on the ship when it went down and 115 people (1 cat) survived. The surviving cat was a black and white patched cat named Unsinkable Sam (Oscar), who was discovered floating on a board by British troops. He was the only survivor found by the British destroyer HMS Cossack.

For a couple months, Sam served on the HMS Cossack and provided the crew with moral support. He was known to walk on the ships rails with ease and was a friendly cat. On October 24, 1941, the Cossack was severely damaged by a torpedo fired by the German submarine U-563. In the attack, one third of the forward section of the ship was destroyed and 159 crew members died. Sam survived the explosion and was brought to the shoreline of Gibraltar. He was then transferred to the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which coincidentally had been instrumental in the destruction of the German Bismarck.

On November 14, 1941, the Ark Royal was torpedoed by the German submarine U-81 and sank 30 miles from Gibraltar. The slow rate at which the aircraft carrier sank meant that all but one of the crew could be saved, including Sam. He was found clinging to a floating plank by a motor launch and described as “angry but quite unharmed.” The loss of the Ark Royal proved to be the end of Sam’s military career and he was sent back to the United Kingdom. In total, Unsinkable Sam survived the destruction of three major vessels during World War II and died in 1955. The other ships Sam visited in 1941 the HMS Lightning and the HMS Legion were also both sunk later in the war.

10
Jim the Wonder Dog



In 1925, Jim was born in Louisiana and purchased by Sam Van Arsdale. He was a Llewellin Setter, which is a strain of English setter that was bred to hunt upland game birds. The dogs are not naturally aggressive and are very smart. At a young age, Jim quickly made his mark as a great hunt dog. He was so good that Outdoor Life Magazine termed him “The Hunting Dog of the Country.” However, Jim became world famous after it was determined that he could perform some amazing acts on command.

When told to do so, Jim could go out into the street and locate a car by make, color, and license number. Among a crowd of people, Jim was able to identify the “man who sells hardware,” the “man that takes care of sick people,” and the “visitor from Kansas City.” He could understand instructions in any foreign language, shorthand, or Morse code. Jim also displayed psychic ability. If asked, he could guess the sex of an unborn baby. He picked the winner of the Kentucky Derby seven years in a row and also predicted the Yankee victory in the 1936 World Series.

After Jim was featured in the newspapers, his psychic ability was studied by psychologists from different universities. Dr. A. J. Durant, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine, tested his ability in a public demonstration and concluded that Jim “possessed an occult power that might never come again to a dog in many generations.” Journalists from all over the world came to witness Jim’s show and were stunned. His fame spread across the United States and he was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Jim died on March 18, 1937 and is buried in Marshall’s Ridge Park Cemetery in Missouri.


9
Balto



Nome is a city that is located on the southern Seward Peninsula coast of the Bering Sea. In 1924, a major diphtheria epidemic existed among Inuit in the Nome area. Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness that is treated with diphtheria antitoxin. In the summer of 1924, the only doctor in the city of Nome, Alaska, was Curtis Welch. Welch ordered a new supply of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome in 1924, but it was not able to arrive before the port closed for the winter. Without the diphtheria antitoxin, the younger populations of Nome were at risk, so a massive rescue effort was carried out by sled dog teams to bring the medicine to Nome.

In total, 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) across Alaska in five and a half days. The serum was transported by train from Anchorage to Nenana, where the first musher started the relay. The teams all faced blizzards and extreme temperatures. After the event, both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the media. The most famous dog to emerge was Balto, who is named after Samuel Balto. Balto was a Siberian husky that led the final sled dog team into Nome. During his trek, Balto saved his team in the Topkok River. He was also able to stay on the trail in near whiteout conditions and worked almost entirely in the dark.

In the 1920s, Balto became the most famous canine in the world after Rin Tin Tin. To honor his achievement, a statue of the dog was placed in New York City’s Central Park. It should be mentioned that the longest and most hazardous stretch of the 1925 serum run was actually covered by a dog named Togo. Togo covered a total of 261 miles (420 km) from Nome to Shaktoolik and back to Golovin, which is much farther than Balto. Many mushers today consider Togo to be the true hero of the run. In 1973, the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was started to commemorate the 1925 serum run to Nome.


8
Betsy



Border Collies are often cited as the most intelligent dogs in the world. In January 2011, a Border Collie named Chaser was reported to have learned 1,022 words, and acts instinctively with human use of the words. Betsy is a black and white longhaired Border Collie that is regarded as one of the smartest animals in history. She was born in 2002 and lives in Vienna, Austria. At the age of ten weeks, Betsy was able to sit on command and retrieve objects by name. She can decipher a word after hearing it only twice.

Betsy learns in the same way that human toddlers do, if not faster. She is capable of finding the similarity between a two-dimensional photograph and the object it depicts. If you show her an image, she can find the object without any training, which displays greater intelligence than great apes. Betsy can identify 15 separate people by their name and is extremely attentive. In the last 15 years, multiple dog breeds have become smarter and more connected with humans.

It has been predicted that Betsy’s “understanding of human forms of communication is something new that has evolved. It is something that has developed in the dogs because of their long association with humans. This is not trivial, but it means that evolution can invent similar forms of advanced intelligence more than once. It is not something reserved only for primates or mammals.”

Modern scientific research has provided links between human diseases and dogs. In 2009, it was discovered that Lou Gehrig’s disease is similar to the genetic mutation responsible for degenerative myelopathy (DM) in dogs. In 2011, it was found that the same gene mutation found in Tibetan Terrier dogs can also be found in a fatal human neurological disorder related to Parkinson’s disease. Basically, researchers believe that identifying the genetic causes of cancers in dogs can lead to possible treatments for humans.


7
Sergeant Stubby




Sergeant Stubby was the first war dog used by the United States in World War I. He is noted as being the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. It is unknown exactly when Sergeant Stubby was born, but he was a Pit bull breed. In 1916 or 1917, Stubby showed up at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut, while a group of soldiers were training. He made friends with Corporal Robert Conroy and when Conroy was deployed to fight in France, Stubby went along. Once in France, Sergeant Stubby was used for a wide range of military tasks.

He served with the 102nd Infantry in the trenches of France for 18 months. Stubby participated in four offensives and 17 battles. He was able to detect sound and smell from an incredible distance, so Stubby was used to warn soldiers of incoming mustard gas and artillery attacks. On many occasions, he saved the life of multiple men. Stubby was also able to locate and comfort wounded soldiers who were separated from the group and located in no man’s land. On one occasions, he was solely responsible for capturing a German spy in the Argonne.

Sergeant Stubby was the most famous U.S. dog used during World War I. In 1918, his exploits were front page news in every major newspaper in the United States. Stubby was wounded on several occasions during the conflict, but survived. After the war, he was smuggled back to the United States and became a celebrity. Sergeant Stubby marched in parades, met U.S. Presidents, and was named the official mascot of the Georgetown Hoyas’. He was also made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA. In 1926, Stubby died at the age of 9 or 10. His body was stuffed and put on display at The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit at the Smithsonian.


6
Huberta




Huberta is one of the most famous hippopotamus in the history of South Africa. In November 1928, Huberta was living near a waterhole in the St. Lucia Estuary in Zululand when she decided to start a 1600 km (1000 mi) journey to the Eastern Cape of Africa. The voyage took over three years and captured the attention of huge crowds of people. She was constantly followed by curious journalists and became extremely famous. Huberta was not shy. She crossed roads, railroads, and visited towns. She ate her way through parks, gardens, and farms, and even trampled over golf courses.

During her journey, Huberta eventually settled at the mouth of the Mhlanga River for several weeks and seemed to enjoy the area. People would visit the hippopotamus and give her fruit, sugar cane, and other treats. Since she was so popular, the decision was made to try and capture Huberta and place her in the Johannesburg Zoo, but she proved elusive and the attempt failed. Huberta then traveled south to Durban where she visited a beach and country club. Due to her celebrity, the Natal Provincial Council declared Huberta royal game and it became illegal to catch or hunt her.

In March 1931, Huberta arrived in East London, South Africa. On her voyage she crossed 122 rivers. One month after arriving in East London, Huberta was shot and killed by a group of hunters. The men were tracked down and arrested. They were fined £25 for killing royal game. Huberta’s body was recovered and sent to a taxidermist in London. In 1933, the body of Huberta was returned to South Africa. The event was highly publicized and over 20,000 people came out to greet her. Huberta was eventually placed in the Amathole Museum in King William’s Town, where she remains on display so that everyone can enjoy her remarkable story.


5
Endal


Endal was a pedigree yellow Labrador retriever that was trained as a fully operational assistance dog. He was able to respond to hundreds of instructions and signed commands. Endal could go shopping, operate electrical switches, run an elevator, and work a washing machine. He was the first dog to use an ATM card and could put a card into the cash machine, retrieve the money, and place the cash into a wallet.

In the late 1990s, Endal became the service dog for disabled ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Allen Parton. Parton suffered serious head injuries during the Gulf War, including a 50% memory loss. Endal was assigned to Parton in order to help him with daily activities. Since he was so intelligent, Endal was featured in multiple television documentaries. He was used as the animal ambassador for service dogs and appeared at training centers and charities.

Endal soon became the most decorated dog in the world. He was named the dog of the Millennium and awarded the PDSA’s Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry. During his lifetime, Endal was filmed by over 340 crews and featured on numerous television shows in Japan, Australia, USA, Canada, Europe, and China. He has been called one of the most famous dogs in the history of the UK and was the first dog to ride on the London Eye.

In 2001, Endal received worldwide attention when it was reported that he helped save Allen Parton’s life. During the event, Parton was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car and left unconscious. Endal pulled Allen into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone, fetched a blanket, and covered his friend. He then barked for help and ran to a nearby hotel to notify the authorities. It was an amazing act of bravery. Sadly, On March 13, 2009, Endal died at the age of thirteen. He is remembered as one of the world’s greatest assistance dogs.


4
Lonesome George



The Pinta Island tortoise was a subspecies of Galápagos tortoise that was native to Ecuador’s Pinta Island. They were first described by herpetologist Albert Günther in 1877. By 1900, most of the Pinta Island giant tortoises had been wiped out due to hunting. The species was also devastated by the introduction of goats, which destroyed the natural habitat. By 1971, it was assumed that the species was extinct until Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island.

For his safety, George was relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. For decades, multiple attempts were made to mate George with females from different subspecies, but it failed. At one point researchers offered a $10,000 reward for a suitable mate. While George was in captivity, the Pinta tortoise was pronounced functionally extinct, which made him one of the rarest creatures in the world. He was a star attraction of the Galápagos National Park and served as a symbol for animal conservation efforts.

On June 24, 2012, it was announced that Lonesome George had been found dead by his caretaker Fausto Llerena. It was shocking news because George was relatively young for his species. While his exact age was not known, it was estimated that he was about 100, which made him a young adult. The subspecies of Pinta Island tortoise can live up to an age of 200. The body of George was embalmed and he will be conserved for future generations. Today, some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies live on the Galapagos.


3
Cher Ami




Pigeons have played an important role in the history of war. They are extremely talented military messengers because of their homing ability, speed, and flying altitude. A full article on famous war pigeons could be made, including the likes of Commando, Paddy, William of Orange, and Mary of Exeter, but I chose to focus on Cher Ami. Cher Ami (French for “dear friend”) was a Black Check Cock homing pigeon that was trained by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I.

On October 3, 1918, U.S. Army Captain Charles Whittlesey and more than 500 men became trapped in a small depression in the Forest of Argonne behind German enemy lines. The men had no food or ammunition and were at a strong disadvantage. For over four days they were attacked by grenades, flame throwers, and waves of sniper fire, but held off the Germans. The soldiers were also beginning to receive friendly fire from Allied troops. To try and stop the onslaught, Captain Whittlesey dispatched a series of messenger pigeons, including Cher Ami.

The German troops were well aware of the pigeon’s capabilities as a messenger, so they were constantly looking to shoot them down. After Cher Ami was released, his two partners were killed instantly, but Cher Ami escaped. At one point during the voyage, he was shot in the chest and fell to the ground, but Cher Ami got up, took flight, and made it back to his loft at division headquarters 25 miles to the rear in just 65 minutes. When he arrived, Cher Ami was found with a note in a canister on his left leg that read: “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it!”

Cher Ami was covered in blood and had a gunshot wound. He was blinded in one eye and his leg was hanging on by one tendon. The message delivered by Cher Ami allowed Allied troops to enter the area and save the life of 194 men. After the event, Cher Ami became the hero of the 77th Infantry Division, which was named the “Lost Battalion” by the media. Army medics worked hard to save his life, but Cher Ami lost his leg. He was fitted with a carved wooden leg and became the mascot of the U.S. Department of Service until he died on June 13, 1919, from the wounds he received in battle. To American school children of the 1920s and 1930s, Cher Ami was as well known as any human World War I heroes. His body was later mounted by a taxidermist and enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.


2
Xiang Xiang


The population of captive pandas has jumped considerably in the past 30 years, which is largely due to a successful breeding program. However, wild populations remain in crisis. There is no biological difference between a panda raised in captivity and those in the wild, but they can’t live together. In fact, there are very few if any examples of a bear species being bred in captivity and then being successfully introduced to the wild. This is because bears tend to be opportunistic in their use of resources and struggle to cope. Panda experts have long agreed that more research needs to be made in order to understand the lifecycle of wild pandas.

In 2006, a male panda named Xiang Xiang became the first giant panda to be returned to the wild after being bred and raised in captivity. Xiang Xiang was born in 2001 at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in the Sichuan Province. At a young age he endured a three year training regimen intended to equip him with the skills necessary to survive in the wild. He learned how to build a den, forage for food, and mark his territory. Xiang Xiang also developed defensive skills such as howling and biting.

Xiang Xiang was released in April of 2006 and equipped with a radio-collar to track his movements. He weighed 176-pounds (79 kilograms) and reportedly hesitated for a second when let go, but then scampered off into a nearby forest. Despite the extensive preparation, Xiang Xiang was found dead less than a year after his release. His body was discovered with multiple scratches and it is believed that Xiang Xiang died after falling from a tree. He might have been running away from other pandas when he died. According to the professionals “Xiang Xiang died from fighting for territory or over a female mate with other male pandas.”

The next potential candidate for a release into the wild might be Tao Tao, who is a male giant panda that was born on August 3, 2010 in a semi-wild training base in Hetaoping. According to the new plan, Toa Toa must excel in three different sized training fields before he can finally be released into the wild.

1
Marjan


Marjan was the most famous resident of the Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan. In the late 1960s, the Kabul Zoo was extremely popular and held more than 500 animals, but it suffered from the violence of Afghanistan. In 1978, Marjan the lion was given to the Kabul Zoo by a group from Cologne, Germany. For 23 years, Marjan lived at the zoo and experienced intense conflict. He survived the arrival of the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the Great Saur Revolution, and the USSR invasion.

After the Russians left Afghanistan in 1989, a civil war ensued. The fighting left the area in total chaos and the zoo was shelled on many occasions. In 1996, a man snuck into the zoo and entered Marjan’s cage. After he tried to touch the lion, Marjan killed him. In retaliation, one of the man’s friends entered the zoo and threw three hand grenades into the lion’s cage. The explosion rendered Marjan blind, deaf, and permanently disabled. The man who threw the grenade was violently attacked and murdered a few weeks after the incident.

Once western forces moved into Afghanistan, the bad conditions of the Kabul Zoo were revealed to the world. Marjan, the blind lion, became an instant celebrity. Animal rights organizations traveled to Afghanistan to help the lion and other animals in the Kabul Zoo. Despite the overwhelming response, Marjan died in January 2002. He was given a public ceremony and buried on the zoo grounds. On his grave is posted: “Here lies Marjan, who was about 23. He was the most famous lion in the world.” In March 2002, China donated a pair of lions to the Kabul Zoo to replace Marjan.

SOURCE : http://listverse.com/2012/08/08/top-20-world-famous-animals/

Sisindri_Animal Videos

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pandu Trust inspired by VSPCA - Visakapatnam.


Since 1996, the Visakha Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) has been hard at work, determined to improve the conditions for animals in India. The VSPCA works to stop the illegal trade in internationally-protected sea turtles, rescues cows and water buffalo too old or injured to be kept by their previous owners, as well as provides permanent happy sanctuary to hundreds of dogs, cats, birds, monkeys, horses, rabbits, tortoises, ducks and other animals who had been suffering severe abuse or neglect.
We currently have over 1300 large and small rescued animals in our sanctuary near the city as well as our new "Kindness Farm". We have provided spay and neuter procedures, as well as vaccines and health checks to more than 80,000 street dogs. The population of street dogs in this area is smaller, healthier and ever shrinking as a result of this wonderful program. Please help us continue to help these animals.

see more here : http://www.vspca.org/

Amazing Animals for Olympics.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ANTS



1.Like all insects, ants have six legs. Each leg has three joints. The legs of the ant are very strong so they can run very quickly. If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse. Ants can lift 20 times their own body weight. An ant brain has about 250 000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million so a colony of 40,000 ants has collectively the same size brain as a human.

2 The average life expectancy of an ant is 45-60 days. Ants use their antenae not only for touch, but also for their sense of smell. The head of the ant has a pair of large, strong jaws. The jaws open and shut sideways like a pair of scissors. Adult ants cannot chew and swallow solid food. Instead they swallow the juice which they squeeze from pieces of food. They throw away the dry part that is left over. The ant has two eyes, each eye is made of many smaller eyes.

3 They are called compound eyes. The abdomen of the ant contains two stomachs. One stomach holds the food for itself and second stomach is for food to be shared with other ants. Like all insects, the outside of their body is covered with a hard armour this is called the exoskeleton. Ants have four distinct growing stages, the egg, larva, pupa and the adult. Biologists classify ants as a special group of wasps. (Hymenoptera Formicidae) There are over 10000 known species of ants. Each ant colony has at least one or more queens.

4 The job of the queen is to lay eggs which the worker ants look after. Worker ants are sterile, they look for food, look after the young, and defend the nest from unwanted visitors. Ants are clean and tidy insects. Some worker ants are given the job of taking the rubbish from the nest and putting it outside in a special rubbish dump! Each colony of ants has its own smell. In this way, intruders can be recognized immediately. Many ants such as the common Red species have a sting which they use to defend their nest.
5 The common Black Ants and Wood Ants have no sting, but they can squirt a spray of formic acid. Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites. The Slave-Maker Ant (Polyergus Rufescens) raids the nests of other ants and steals their pupae. When these new ants hatch,they work as slaves within the colony. The worker ants keep the eggs and larvae in different groups according to ages.

6 At night the worker ants move the eggs and larvae deep into the nest to protect them from the cold. During the daytime, the worker ants move the eggs and larvae of the colony to the top of the nest so that they can be warmer. If a worker ant has found a good source for food, it leaves a trail of scent so that the other ants in the colony can find the food. Army Ants are nomadic and they are always moving. They carry their larvae and their eggs with them in a long column.

7 The Army Ant (Ecitron Burchelli) of South America, can have as many as 700,000 members in its colony. The Leaf Cutter Ants are farmers. They cut out pieces of leaves which they take back to their nests. They chew them into a pulp and a special fungus grows it. Ants cannot digest leaves because they cannot digest cellulose. Many people think ants are a pest but I like them. To stop them coming into my kitchen I put some sugar outside. They they have so much to eat that they are not interested in coming into my kitchen.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hollywood Top 10 Animal Movies.

Since the beginning of time there has been a love affair between animals and people. We just can’t seem to resist those cute animal faces that are filled with personality. Hollywood has been quick to cash in on this animal obsession and has given us many favorites over the years. Here is my list of the top 10 most famous animals from Hollywood, in no particular order. See if you remember these:

1. Willy


This famous Orca Whale won our hearts in the movie, Free Willy in 1993. Willy was actually played by an Orca Whale named Keiko. Keiko went on to star in the movie sequels Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and Free Willy 3: The Rescue.








2. Babe

The movie that showcases this famous pig, was based on the novel by Dick King-Smith. The famous pig was actually played by 48 different baby pigs as well as an animatronics model. This was the number of pigs needed during filming as baby pigs grow very quickly.








3. Taco Bell Chihuahua

Gidget is the name of this famous Chihuahua who was featured in the successful ad campaign launched by Taco Bell.











4. Spuds McKenzie

This Bull Terrier launched its career during a Bud Light Beer commercial during the Super bowl in 1987. The dog was often seen surrounded by three beautiful women known as “Spudettes.” Interestingly, the dog was actually a female dog by the name of Honey Tree Evil Eye.







5. Morris the Cat

The spokescat for 9Lives Cat Food has actually been played by several cats over the years. The first Morris was adopted from the Humane Society in 1968. Since then, every cat who plays Morris must be from an animal rescue.




6. Geico Gecko

This little green gecko was born out of a brainstorming session at Geico during a strike by the Screen Actors Guild. The strike precluded the use of live actors and made it possible for the gecko to make his debut. In 2005, the little green gecko was voted America’s favorite advertising icon.






7. Mr. Ed

A horse is a horse, of course, of course…but no horse was as unique as Mr. Ed, the talking horse. The Palomino actually did most of his own stunts and received the on-screen credit: Mr. Ed, Himself. How did they get him to talk? The horse was fed a mouthful of peanut butter, which he loved. He would lick his lips continually which gave the impression that he was speaking.


8. Lassie

This Rough Collie can claim fame for starring in a short story, book, radio program, several movies and a long-running television show. The television show aired on CBS for 20 years, from 1954 to 1974.









9. Flipper

This dolphin was the star of a television show on NBC from 1964 to 1967. The original Flipper was not very athletic, so had to have a stunt double to do the tail walking.






10. Benji

Originally adopted from an animal shelter, this little mutt dog went on to win our hearts in both movies and television. The role has been played by many of the original Benji’s descendants over the years.

Wild life Bridges

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Krishnastami

The word Govinda, which is a famous name of Lord Krishna, means “one who brings satisfaction to the cows”. And Lord Krishna has many such transcendental names which reflect His relationship to the cows. Gopala means “the protector of the cows”, and Krishna is famous throughout India as bala-gopala, “the child who protects the cows
Nanda Maharaja had 900,000 cows. Visvanatha Cakravarti gives this description of the cows of Vrindavana. Krishna knew every cow by name. If any cow was missing Krishna would immediately chase after the missing cow and call her by name. The cows were divided into herds by color, black, white, red, or yellow. In each color there were 25 further divisions making a total of 100 herds. There were also eight herds of cows that were spotted or speckled or had heads shaped like a mridanga or that had tilak marks on their foreheads. There was a total of 108 different herds of cows. Each of the 108 herds had a herd leader.
“Thus when Krishna calls out, ‘Hey Dhavali’ (the name of a white cow) a whole group of white cows comes forward, and when Krishna calls ‘Hamsi, Candani, Ganga, Mukta’ and so on, the twenty-four other groups of white cows come. The reddish cows are called ‘Aruni, Kunkuma, Sarasvati, etc., the blackish ones ‘Shyamala, Dhumala, Yamuna, etc., and the yellowish ones are Pita, Pingala, Haritaki, etc. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.19 purport)
“As described in the Brahma Samhita (surabhi apbipalayantam), Lord Krishna on His planet, Goloka Vrindavana, engages in tending the surabhi cows. These cows are the Lord’s pet animals.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.8.2 purport)
Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavatam, “I can be worshiped within the Cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the Cows, and one may worship Me within the Vaishnavas by offering loving friendship to them and honoring them in all respects.”
[Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.43]

A cow benefits all; its provides a lot for the welfare. Lord Krishna is also the creator. He created cows with a special mood. It is completely pure. Milk is a complete meal and its Sattvic. Its ghee is used for all ceremonies. Even cow dung and urine are purifying due to its sterilizing effect. Thus the cow is very unique. It’s the topmost living being. It is beautiful, gentle and generous. Cows are sinless (they can never cause offense to the Lord) and they are always giving to the society. They are worshipped by Lord Krishna. He is delighted by any service to the cows no matter how trivial. He never forgets even a little done for the benefit of cows. Krishna is directly worshipped with the service of cows. Cows need to be protected because they are very simple and gentle.
Why worship the cows?
To answer this question we have to state a principle. We worship someone due their nature and actions. Even God is worshiped because of nature and actions. Across all religions, God is described as very merciful, benevolent, kind etc. This is his nature. He is always acting for the benefit of all, he guides us through difficult times and misery, He provides protection and provides for everyone’s welfare. These are his actions.
Cows are pure by nature. They are completely satvik. How is this? We know that cow’s urine and dung are disinfectants. This is scientifically proven. If the excreta are so purifying, what to speak of the other products – milk, butter, ghee? Secondly, cows are very simple and never harm any body. They provide milk for entire mankind. These are some simple examples.
Then there is a deeper meaning. In Sanskrit, cows are called “GO”. In Vedic culture all knowledge begins with the word “Ga”. Guru and Gayatri are the beginnings of all knowledge. All auspiciousness activities also start with the cows. No sacrifice can be done without Ghee; sacrifices are considered auspicious and ghee is required. The “Ga” signifies cows, this is a secret meaning.
For Vaishnavs (people worshiping Lord Krishna in his personal form) there is a still deeper meaning. The meaning is within the words – Govinda, Gopi, Govardhana, Goloka Vrindavan. It is clear these are the greatest. Govinda is Lord Krishna, the protector of cows, Gopis are the highest devotees, Govardhana is the best servant, and Goloka Vrindavan (“go loka – the abode of the cows ”) is the highest destination . The meaning is obvious. There is nothing without the cows. They all serve cows. Cows are the dearest to Lord Krishna, they are His deities. This is the highest form of worship of Lord Krishna and available to only a very select few devotees. Even this knowledge is very rare – most people don’t understand the exalted position of cows, they see cows as animals. People who serve Krishna ’s cows are the most fortunate and achieve all results. This is the ultimate and simplest. Its how ‘goloka vrindavan’ is achieved while in the material world, in the material body.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Should Cats Eat Dog Food ?


Should cats eat dog food.?

Many people wonder about this question since many cat owners also have dogs. There are a few reasons why cat owners consider feeding their cats dog food:

1. Dog food is usually significantly cheaper than cat food.

2. Many cat owners have seen their cats stealing dog food and are confused if the food is right for their cats.

3. Dog treats come in more varieties and are usually readily available at most stores. Certain cat treats such as dental treats may not always be available at some stores.

So is it ok for cats to eat dog food? The answer to that question is simple: cats should not be fed off dog food because felines and canines have very different dietary needs, but a few nibbles from the dog’s dish won’t do any harm.

Many foods are attractive to cats. It could be the flavor or aroma of the food that triggers them to chow on it or there are certain ingredients in the food that are extremely appetizing to cats. However, tasty food does not always equate to healthy, nutritious food. It is like human snacks that are often made of grease and salt or sugar. Potato chips and brownies are not the healthiest choices but they are surely tempting to a lot of people. Similarly, cats may not have a sweet tooth, but they can develop cravings for certain foods that are not necessarily healthy to them.


This kitty is munching on the pup's food.

The dog looks so confused.
Cats are obligate carnivores that need much more protein than dogs do. This means cats need meat to sustain their life. Dogs on the other hand are omnivores, like humans, that can consume a lot of non-protein foods such as vegetables or fruits. Cats cannot digest those foods very well if they consume an excessive amount. A little bit of dog food will not do any harm, but it will have very little nutritional value for your cats. Cats may even be able to survive on dog food, but they will lack certain nutrients such as taurine (amino acid) which is essential to cats.


This kitty decided to chow on the dog food while the dogs were eating.

Cats’ liver is constantly working at a high enzyme activity which is perfect for a high protein diet. Unlike cats, dogs and humans are able to lower their liver enzyme activity when they consume low protein foods. Also, cats are not equipped with the ability to break down the cell walls of vegetables and extract the nutrients from a plant.

As long as cat owners make sure that their cats’ main meal is cat food instead of dog chow, it should be OK.

Source : http://lovemeow.com/
Thanks to Lovemeow.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

WHITE CROW


Christmas Morning with 50 Crows

A few years ago I spent Christmas in a cabin by a lake in the snow country of Arizona. I had just walked away from doing spiritual awakening seminars with a partner. I had to, I needed time for integration. All the 'teaching' and assisting others and the personal energies that had been activated in me needed time for settling into my bones and birthing a new me. A whole new side of life had been opening up for me. The 'shadow' side, the 'dark', the subconscious, the mysterious, the side we carefully have tried to contain, hide, pretend is not there in our current model of civilization-hoping somehow that if we ignore it it won't be there. This of course doesn't work. And we reap all kinds of 'wake up calls', diseases, cancer, wars, terrorism, dysfunctional relationships, school shootings, heart disease, depression etc.

So my 'shadow' self had been coming up in my life. The hidden-occluded parts of myself had been triggered and were surfacing for healing-completion-integration. It felt so good! To finally get the real healing going...and scary, and unfamiliar of course. Even though the world labeled me 'depressed' or 'angry' or even 'suicidal' that wasn't my reality. My reality was that I was finally being honest, finally talking real feelings with God, wanting to really know...my Self and God. And He was right there, God sent all kinds of help and assistance in many forms. This is the story of one of those times of real assistance.

Christmas morning I awoke early. My friend was still sleeping and I decided to go for a walk. A snow had fallen. There was that perfect quiet of a Sunday-new snow-early morning and Christmas on top of it. It felt like the whole world was sleeping and I was walking through the brand new world. Absolutely still--quiet. I felt so peaceful.

As I walked down the road it was reminding me of my growing up in Sweden with lots of snow. The Ponderosa Pine was almost the same as the pine trees of my childhood. As I 'crunched' my way down the road I would let my attention expand out, I would 'feel-sense' the whole forest around me. It felt wonderful connecting with Nature again, She's always there, waiting for us to interact with Her again. At a certain point on the road I had a feeling to walk off the road and up over a small rise. I wanted to feel pure snowy forest. As I crested the little hill I stopped in my tracks.

Below me was an almost perfect circle of young pine trees and down on the ground in the circle the trees formed were what must have been...50 crows.

I stood for a while just watching them. They were walking in a circle on the ground.

As I started towards them, they noticed me and flew up into the trees around the clearing where they remained. I, boldly in my young fearlessness, proceeded to walk right into the center of the circle into 'where angels fear to tread' and stood there. They were looking at me fiercely, some would perhaps say glaring, and not liking me interrupting them. I looked on the ground and saw their footprints in a circle around me in the snow. I stood there for a while and just felt. The crows were quiet. And then I asked them who they were and what they were doing.

"We are the No - Names. We are the part of you, the Formless, the Hollow, the Empty Robe that you have forsaken.

We are You, a part of you that is the Forever Quiet, Eternal Peace, Timeless Source, Empty Mother Womb, Space Itself. Your world has separated from this--it's Womb and therefore your world cannot last, or renew itself, and will come apart. It already is for those who look and see. Your current model of life for many is fearful of Emptiness, of the Womb of the Mother, of the Quiet, of the No-Thing, of Stillness. We, the No-Names are feared and labeled 'evil' when not understood. The truth is we only reflect back to you that which is already in you as help so you can refresh your selves, clean yourselves, heal-whole yourselves. You have asked to know this part of yourself again and this experience is given to you and all who wish it. Yes it is a 'privilege' as you would term it. We don't view it that way. It is automatic, no words, you are here, meant to be. Your innocent light is for us also an awakening. We also want to join back with you and your world, for we are One and the same and Original Intent is for Us to work together and Be One."

As they were speaking, I had closed my eyes and saw-felt them as me, as beings of God, of all of us, as Guardians holding Space open for Creation and as pieces of many of us that we had rejected and separated from. I saw the image of those paintings here in the Southwest of the 'empty robes' which is the connection still with these eternal parts of ourselves.


"To upset the conclusion that all crows are black, there is no need to seek demonstration that no crows are black; it is sufficient to produce one white crow; a single one is sufficient." --William James.

SOURCE : http://www.spiritravel.com/viewarticle.php?ID=6

The Camel

The body of a camel is so amazingly adapted to survival in the desert that it can with stand even the harshest of desert climates. Their biggest strength has to be their ability to survive without food and water for long periods of time. This unique ability stems from their body being able to store fat in their humps and water in the lining of their stomachs. These stores can be used in times of need which is ideal in deserts where both food and water are extremely scarce.
Their wide, padded feet grip well on loose sandy soil and stop the camel from sinking into the sand. An insulating wool coat keeps out both the heat of the day and the cold of the night. Hairy eyelashes, ears and slit nostrils keep out the desert dust and sand. If that wasn’t enough camels are also extremely simple about the food they eat, consuming anything from thorny shrubs to desert thistles.
 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Miracles of the Saints over Nature: -Dogs, Birds and other animals



It is absolutely amazing to see the obedience that relatively unintelligent animals often performed at the bidding of the Saints. The lives of the Saints are full of stories pertaining to the extraordinary influence of the Saints over many different kinds of animals. God, it seems, allows the Saints to have this extraordinary rapport with the animals, so as to draw their fellow man closer to Him by marveling at the wonders that He works between the Saints and the animals.

Below we have three such stories- St John Bosco and the mysterious dog "Grigio", St. Joseph of Cupertino and the story of the little goldfinch, and Father Paul of Moll and the beautiful colored messenger birds.

St. John Bosco and the mysterious dog "Grigio" who protected him on numerous occasions
Among all the amazing episodes in the life of Don Bosco, one of the greatest was the appearance of the dog "Grigio" -a huge grey dog that appeared suddenly at moments of danger, reappeared on many occasions and disappeared some years later when the danger was over. He asked for neither food nor shelter, was savage as a wolf against an enemy, but gentle as a lamb with the boys of the Oratory, and whom St. John "Don" Bosco gave the name of Grigio -"the grey one

Don Bosco was once passing through the thickly populated quarter which lay near Valdocco late at night. It had a bad reputation: shady characters could skulk behind the tufts of scrub and brushwood and burst our upon the passerby. His mother, Margaret Bosco, was always anxious when her son was our late at night. Don Bosco had passed the last buildings of the town when a huge grey dog appeared and walked by his side.

He was startled at first, but as he found that the creature seemed friendly, he accepted its company and went on to the Orarory. When he reached the door the dog turned around and trotted off in the direction whence it had come. Every night henceforward, when Don Bosco was out late, the same thing happened. He found the dog waiting for him whenever there was a lonely part of the town to be traversed.


One night, he became aware of two suspicious-looking men who were following him, matching their pace to his. When he tried to avoid them by crossing the road, they crossed too. He decided to rum back, bur at the moment he did so they were on him. A cloak was thrown over his head and a handkerchief thrust into his mouth. He struggled to free himself and call for help, but it was useless. Suddenly, with a terrific howl, Grigio appeared and rushed upon them. Leaping on the one who held the cloak, he forced him to let go, then bit the second and flung him o n to the ground. The first tried to escape but Grigio was after him, rolled him too in the mud and stood over them both, growling furiously.

"Call off your dog!" they cried to Don Bosco.

"I will call him off if you will let me go about my business," he replied.

"Yes, anything..only call him off!"

"Come, Grigio," said Don Bosco, and the dog immediately obeyed, while the two men, terrified, made off in double quick time.

Another night, Don Bosco was on his way home when a man hiding behind a tree fired twice at him at such close range that it seems almost impossible that both shots had missed. Then, throwing away the pistol, the man rushed upon him. But at this exact moment, Grigio mysteriously appeared and seized the man, and dragged him a few feet away, growling fiercely all the while. He then released the man who instantly fled in terror, and the dog once more escorted Don Bosco home.


On another occasion it was from a whole band of thugs that this mysterious companion saved him. Don Bosco had reached a lonely spot when, hearing steps, he turned to see a man close to him with an uplifted stick. Don Bosco was a swift runner in those days, but his enemy was swifter and soon caught up with him. It was a moment of action. Don Bosco, with a well-directed blow of the fist, sent the man sprawling. His howl of pain brought several others out of the bushes where they had been hiding. They were all armed with heavy sticks, and things now looked black for Don Bosco. Once more, at the crucial moment, the terrific howl of Grigio was heard. He ran around and around his master, growling and showing his formidable teeth until one by one the ruffians turned and disappeared.

One night, instead of accompanying Don Bosco, Grigio went to the Oratory and refused to let him go out, lying down across the door of his room, for once growling and showing ill temper towards Don Bosco when he made the slightest attempt to dislodge him.
"Don't go out, John," said his mother; "if you won't listen to me, at least listen to that dog; he has more sense than you have."

Don Bosco gave in at last, and a quarter of an hour later a neighbor came in to warn him that he had overheard two rogues planning to attack him.

Another evening after supper the dog appeared in the playroom, and all the boys of Don Bosco's Oratory gathered around him and made much of him. They patted him, pulled his ears, stroked his head, the little ones rode on him. He regarded them with grave eyes until at last they brought him into the refectory where Don Bosco was still at supper. "Why, Grigio, old fellow, what brings you here?" he said. Grigio went up to him, put his great head on the table, looked at him and wagged his tail.


"What do you want, old boy? A bit of cheese or polenta?" No, he wanted neither. "Then, if you won't have anything," said his master, stroking the great head, "then go home to bed."
Grigio gave him one long look, turned around and trotted out. The reason of this unusual visit of Grigio was never really known, but it does show the remarkable gentleness and kindness of this "stray dog" who was nevertheless incredibly vicious and protective of Don Bosco on numerous occasions.

The last time Don Bosco saw him was one night in Castelnuovo. He was going from Murialdo to Moncucco and it was growing dark. He had to pass some farms and vineyards that were guarded by savage dogs. "I wish I had Grigio here," he said to himself. As if the wish had suddenly produced him, Grigio appeared with every sign of delight at meeting his friend, wagging his tail, and he walked the whole way with him.

It was lucky he was there, for two dogs at a farm they passed rushed out upon them, but Grigio in a vicious offensive soon sent both of them flying with their tails between their legs. When Don Bosco reached the friend's house to which he was bound, they were astonished to see the magnificent dog and wondered where Don Bosco had picked him up. When they sat down to supper he was lying beside them, but when Don Bosco rose to give him some food, he was not to be seen. In fact, that was the last of Grigio. The enemies of the Saint had grown tired of plotting against him, and the mysterious protector was never to be seen again.

So how can the incredible timing and actions of "Grigio" the stray dog be explained? How is it that he mysteriously showed up at just the right moment on not one, but numerous occasions to literally save the life of Father John Bosco? Was Grigio an Angel in the form of a dog? Or was he simply a dog that was mysteriously guided by God to protect Don Bosco? But how then did he seem to appear out of nowhere? One thing is for sure: God was with St. Don Bosco because he had long ago given himself completely to the service of God, and God worked incredible miracles through his intercession, that he might be a holy example to all the poor boys who came to the Oratory that he had founded which literally became for them a heavenly refuge.
[Source for the above information is the excellent book “St John Bosco” by F.A. Forbes, Tan Books, 2000.]


But before we move on to the next Saint who had a remarkable way with animals who should surely at least mention probably the most well known Saint to have an extraordinary friendship with the animals: St Francis of Assisi. It was documented on numerous occasions how the birds often flocked to him, and landed on his arms and shoulders, singing sweetly all the while. He spoke to them, and they responded by singing and fluttering their wings. One can read on the Internet the book entitled “The Flowers of St Francis” which details many of the Saints remarkable experiences with nature.

St Joseph of Cupertino’s influence over the animals
Through the grace of God, St Joseph of Cupertino worked various marvels with the animals. A linnet, to which he often said, "Praise God," would praise the Lord or cease to do so at his command. Once, on setting free a gold-finch that had been caught in a fowlers net he said to it: "Go now and enjoy what God has given thee; I ask nothing more of you than that you return when I call you to praise with me your God and mine."

Obedient to these words, the bird flew about in the garden near by and, when Joseph called it, it immediately would come straightway came to praise the Creator. A hawk once killed a finch, which the saint had trained to say, "Jesus and Mary” and also "Friar Joseph, pray your Breviary." The hawk returned at the saint's command and, when he reproached it saying, "You, thief! You have killed my finch and you deserve that I should kill you!" Amazingly, the hawk remained perched on the cage as if sorry for its misdeed, and the witnesses state that it even allowed Joseph to strike it with his finger, and only flew away when he said, "Now go. This time I will pardon thee, but do not do such a thing to a pet again."

To the nuns of St. Clare at Copertino the saint presented a white lamb to watch over the discipline of the community. The lamb always was with the Nuns during their spiritual exercises and was ever alert in the Chapel to wake the sleepy by butting and jostling or to remove with hoofs and teeth any vain finery which it observed.
When the lamb had died, the saint promised to send the nuns a bird which should prompt them to love God, and thus it came to pass. One day as the nuns were reciting the Divine Office, a forest songster perched on the window of the choir and sang most sweetly. And thus day by day the merry warble of the feathered songster accompanied and encouraged the chanting of the nuns, until one day it saw two novices quarrelling and flew between them in an endeavor to part them with its outspread wings and tiny claws. One of the novices struck the bird, and it flew away and did not return, though it had been with the community for five years.

The nuns were grieved because of this and complained to Joseph, but he said: "It serves you right; why did you provoke it and chase it away? It is therefore unwilling to come again." But, at their repeated request, he promised to send the bird again. 
 At the first summons to choir, the bird not only came to the window and sang, but, grown more tame than before, and flew into the monastery. The nuns tied a small bell to its foot. When it failed to appear on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, they again had recourse to Joseph, who replied to them: "I sent you the bird that it should sing, not that it should ring a bell. It has stayed away because during these days it has guarded the holy sepulchre. I will see that it comes back again." And the bird returned once again and remained with the pious nuns until its death. Father Paul of Moll and the miraculous messenger birds
The saintly Father Paul of Moll , who is known as "The Benedictine Wonder-Worker of the Nineteenth Century," also had a mysterious experience with birds. We are told in his biography that whenever he visited Antwerp he would call upon a certain invalid lady and her servant, Theresa.

Fr. Paul, in the year 1887, told the servant Theresa that she would know beforehand of his approaching visits. At his next visit he asked, "Well, have the little birds announced my coming?"

As a matter of fact, on the eve of Father Paul's visits to the lady, beautiful little birds, varying in number from two to twelve at a time, began to make their appearance in the garden, singing a joyful air which was always the same. They would also perch on the window-sill of the drawing room which looked out upon the garden, and tap upon the window panes. Although the tune of the mysterious songsters never varied, they had at each successive visit a different plumage.

Not only did the servant, Theresa, see the birds, but also the invalid lady and her nurse. Neither of them could tell where the birds came from any more than Theresa could. But were the birds from the tropics? But in that case these delicate little creatures would hardly have ventured into our climate in all seasons, for they came in winter, when it was snowing and very cold, as well as in summer. The nurse tried repeatedly to catch one of the birds, but in vain. She spoke of it to Fr. Paul and he replied, "Oh! they won't let themselves be caught!"

When asked about the beautiful little birds, Fr. Paul replied with a smile, "They are messengers." Fr. Paul then warned Theresa not to speak of the birds to anyone except to an intimate friend of hers. He then warned, "If during my lifetime you spread the news abroad, the birds will never come again."
 On the eve of Fr. Paul's death, the birds appeared once more, but they were somewhat dejected and with drooping wings sang a melancholy song which the members of the household understood to be a presentiment of a tragic happening. Six months passed before the birds returned again, and this took place when a photograph of Fr. Paul was hung in the invalid's drawing room. At this time they sang beautiful melodies, but it is reported that afterwards their visits were infrequent.

As mentioned earlier, the birds appeared each time in a different plumage. Theresa, however, was able to give us a description as the birds appeared on Wednesday, September 30, 1897, a year and seven months after Fr. Paul's death.

“Today, at ten minutes to eleven, two little birds of incomparable beauty arrived; their plumage was blue, green and purple, their breasts and heads white, the latter with stripes of deep purple in the form of a garland.”

Another lady of Antwerp was favored with a visit of Fr. Paul. She had two small sons who were covered with horrible eruptions which the doctors could not cure. When Fr. Paul saw the condition of the children he advised the mother to make a novena and wash both children with water containing the medal of St. Benedict. Fr. Paul was a promotor of the medal of St. Benedict and often advised this remedy to those who were ill. The mother was surprised by this advice and replied, "But the physician forbade me to wash them in water." Fr. Paul repeated his advice, "I tell you, wash them twelve times a day for nine days." Before the end of the novena both children were perfectly cured. This is just one of the countless miracles worked by Father Paul of Moll, "The Benedictine wonder-worker of the nineteenth century."

The same woman tells us, "I have visited the grave of Fr. Paul three times, and on each occasion a beautiful little bird came and sang over the tomb as long as I prayed there. The bird did not fly away until the moment I left."