Entries in Dogs (5)


Jurassic Blood-Sucking Fleas Discovered in China

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hide your dogs, hide your cats! The discovery of monstrous “Jurassic fleas” in Northern China is enough to make even Twilight’s vampires quiver.

A team of researchers has unearthed the fossilized remains of blood-sucking mini-beasts dating back at least 65 million years. They found them to be especially suited for sinking their teeth into dinosaurs. Nearly an inch long, the prehistoric critters were more than ten times the size of today’s average household flea.

“It really appears as though they were specialized for working their way into some heavy hides,” said Michael Engel, a palaeoentomologist at the University of Kansas who co-authored a study on the discovery. “It was a big critter. I can’t even imagine coming home and finding my miniature schnauzer with one or more of these things crawling around on it.”

When thirsty, these fleas were built to feast. They had stout “sucking siphons” used to pierce the tough hides of feathered dinosaurs such as the Pterosaurs. Unlike the fleas you may find on Fido, these creatures were not able to easily hop from meal to meal. Instead, researchers believe their hind legs were designed to take running leaps, enabling them to latch onto their prey.

Once feasting, their strong mouths may have made it hard for even a dinosaur to shake them loose.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Toy Poodles Join Japanese Police Force

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The dogs, one-year-old Karine and two-year-old Fuga, passed their canine training tests last month, and made their police debut over the weekend. They will be used in the same roles as other K-9 dogs, and their trainer insists the poodles won’t be at a disadvantage because of their size.

“Their trainers thought the dogs had keen senses and responded exceptionally well to commands,” said a spokesman, according to Agence France-Presse.

Japanese usually use larger dogs, such as German shepards, for their canine force. But the earthquake and tsunami in March proved that smaller dogs can also be useful for search and rescue operations.

In July, a Shiba Inu joined the police force Japan’s Okayama prefecture. The dog was the first of her breed ever to work for a police department in Japan.

Last year, a long-haired Chihuahua named Momo, which means ”Peach,” became Japan’s first Chihuahua police dog. Momo weighs less than seven pounds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jose Baez: Too Late to Use Dogs in Search for Maryland Woman

Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- The defense attorney for Gary Giordano believes it is a waste of time for Aruban authorities to just now bring in cadaver dogs to search for the remains of his client's missing travel companion.

"I think it's grossly incompetent for cadaver dogs two plus months after the fact," Jose Baez told ABC's John Quinones. "Whatever scent of decomposition they expected to find is long gone."

Robyn Gardner, 35, has been missing from Aruba since Aug. 2. The man she was vacationing with, Gary Giordano, 50, has been detained there for five weeks now for questioning, though he has not been charged with any crime.

Cadaver dogs were brought in from Holland last week to search the Aruban shores for forensic evidence and any sign of Gardner's remains. Giordano has denied any wrongdoing and claimed Gardner was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.

Baez earned nationwide fame after successfully defending Casey Anthony, the Florida woman found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. He talked about his defense plan for Giordano's case.

"It's unfortunate what's happening to him and it angers me, which is why I got involved," Baez said.

There has been no welcome party for Baez in Aruba. For a nation that depends on tourism, a big shot attorney and another missing woman are unhelpful.

Giordano can be legally held for questioning until Oct. 31, at which time he could be allowed to go back to the United States, unless a judge decides there is evidence produced to continue to keep him there.

The solicitor general of the island is now saying he plans to ask for an extension to keep Giordano there longer. Authorities are not convinced he is telling the whole truth about exactly what happened to Gardner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adolf Hitler Commanded Dogs to Speak German, Claims Author

Photos [dot] com/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Adolf Hitler was a well-known dog lover.  But a new book suggests that the Nazi dictator was really nuts about mutts.

Building on an earlier theory by German psychologists that dogs were nearly as intelligent as humans, Hitler set up an Animal Talking School near Hanover, Germany to recruit "educated dogs."

The Fuhrer's idea, according to historian Jan Bondeson in his book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, was that canines would one day would be able serve alongside German soldiers and even guard concentration camps on their own.

Legend grew that an Airedale terrier named Rolf learned how to spell by tapping his paw on a board and became so smart he picked up foreign languages and was able to ask a noblewoman, "Can you wag your tail?"  Rolf even reportedly wanted to serve in the German army because he hated the French.

There were stories of other incredible dogs as well, including one that could supposedly say "Mein Fuhrer" when asked to describe Hitler.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Soldiers Talk about the Comfort of Having Dogs with Unit in Afghanistan

Chris Amaral/ThinkstockReporter's Notebook
By Karen Russo

(KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) -- I fell in love with Lily the moment I saw her. She had a big goofy smile and one of her ears was crooked. We stood in an air-conditioned hallway staring at each other. Then I reached out my hand and leaned over to kiss her -- until a voice from down the hall interrupted.

"The last girl who did that got her face bit off," said the soldier who trained her.

I met Lily while I was on assignment for ABC News in Afghanistan in 2009. Lily, the adorable brown and tan Belgian Malinois, apparently didn't like women.

She worked with Special Forces in Afghanistan and was trained to do "secret" things. (I assumed she sniffed-out bombs and learned to attack enemy combatants, but her trainer would never reveal her skills.)

But when Lily wasn't on missions with the team, she spent much of her time chasing a red ball and, when I was lucky, joining me on long walks at night in Kandahar province.

Even though Lily was specially trained by the military to work with soldiers, her presence in the field -- and that of many other dogs in a war zone -- was in some ways therapeutic. The military does not allow soldiers to have pets in the war zone, but I saw one on nearly every base I reported from in Afghanistan. I've read blogs about dogs who saved soldiers' lives by alerting them to attacks on their bases.

Athena, a tiny mutt found on a base in Kunar province, gave soldiers the affection and comfort they often craved with their families thousands of miles away. She was adopted by a group of soldiers who cared for her during their 12-month deployment.

One of the unit's commanders explained that even though it was against the rules, the dog helped the soldiers get through difficult times.

"The health benefits of having a dog moral-wise is just huge," he said. "I have a lot of soldiers that are very quiet. I can't tell that they okay. But then they'll see the dog and then smile and just light up."

Usually when soldiers complete their tours, local dogs are handed off to incoming teams. Athena was officially adopted by one of the soldiers and now lives in the United States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio