Maremma sheepdog

MAREMMA SHEEPDOG (in Italian : CANE de PASTORE MAREMMANO – ABRUZZESE), also nicknamed MAREMMA, is a breed of livestock guardian dogs indigenous to Central Italy, particularly to ABRUZZO and the MAREMMA region of Tuscany and Lazio.
Maremma sheepdogThe literal English of the breed derives from that of the MAREMMA and ABRUZZO region.  The English name of the breed derives from that of the MAREMMA marshlands, where, until recently, shepherds, dogs and 100s of 1000s of sheep wintered, and where the breed is today abundant although sheep-farming has decreased substantially.  The breed is widely employed in ABRUZZO, where sheep-herding remains vital to the rural economy and the wolf remains an active predator.  Similar breeds include the PYRENEAN Mountain Dog, the KUVASZ of Hungary, the TATRA of Poland, the CUVAC of Slovakia and the SARPLANINAC (although not white), with all of which it may share a common ancestor, and the AKBASH Dog of Turkey.
The MAREMMA sheepdog has a solid muscular build, a thick white coat, a large head and a black nose.  According to the breed standard, males should weigh 35 to 45kg and stand 26 to 29inches at the shoulders, while females weigh 30 to 40kg.  The coat is long and thick, it is rough to the touch, and forms a thick collar around the neck.  It should be solid white, some minor yellowing may be tolerated.

Maremma sheepdog

Descriptions of white sheep defence dogs are found in ancient Roman literature in works such as those of Columella, Varro an Palladius.  Similar dogs are depicted in numerous sculptures and paintings from Roman times to the present.  Among the earliest, is the series of large statues (2 in Rome, 1 in Florence, 1, the DUNCOMBE DOG —– in England) copied from a Hellenistic Bronze from PERGAMON.

The first registration of the MAREMMA in the LIBRO del ORIGINI Italiano of the Kennel Club Italiano, as it was then called, was of four dogs in 1898.  The traditional use of the MAREMMA is as a guardian for the protection of sheep flocks against wolves.  The dogs work in groups ——- 3 to 4 dogs are an adequate defence against wolves.  Their function is mostly “dissuasion”, actual physical combat, with the predator, being comparatively rare.  Nevertheless, working dogs may be fitted with a ROCCALE ( or VRECCALE), a “spiked iron collar” which protects the neck in combat.  The ears of working dogs are normally “cropped”.
MAREMMA, used as livestock guardian dogs, are introduced to sheep flocks as puppies, so they bond to the sheep ( puppies as young as 7 – 8weeks old).  Although it is easiest to bond MAREMMA to sheep and goats, cattle ranchers have found that the dogs bond with cows too, and so they are used to protect range cattle.  Some ranchers have found success training MAREMMA to protect chickens from predation from both ground threats such as coyotes, stray dogs and foxes, as well as aerial threats such as raptors (hawks, eagles and owls)
In WARRNABOOL, Australia, the world’s first trial utilized a MAREMMA to guard the dwindling “little penguins” also called “fairy penguins” (penguins standing at 30 – 40cm tall).

Pearly gates


Looking back across the years I see how important dogs have been in my life.  I had been an ordained minister only a few weeks when I received a call from an eight-year-old boy.  His dog had ben killed by a car.  “Mr. Turner,” the lad sobbed, “do you do funerals for dogs ?”  I didn’t quite know how to respond, but I recalled the scriptures’ affirmation of God’s knowing when even a sparrow falls.
I replied, “Why not ?” and I conducted a little ceremony for the boy’s pet.  He was very pleased and then asked, “Is my dog going to heaven ?”  I wasn’t prepared for that question, but my love for animals got me through it.  I’m sure I made the child feel better.
Several years later, I had my own personal experience that provided the answer I had never been sure of.  Our wonderful dachshund, Greta, died, and we were eager to bring another dog into our home.  We went to the pound to get the dachshund whose photo had appeared in the paper.  By the time we arrived, he had been claimed.  Another puppy, sensing our mission, poked her nose through the wire fence.  The look in her eyes seemed to say, “Please pick me.”  We did and we named her Pick.
Whenever I came home, Pick was there to greet me.  I’d say, “Pick, you’ve got it made.  Other animals work for their keep.  A canary sings, cows give milk, chickens lay eggs, but you don’t have to do anything but hang around.”  After 14 years, Pick became very sick, and there was nothing to be done except put her out of her misery.  With a heavy heart I drove her to the vet’s, who did what had to be done.  I then went back to my study and wept for hours.  A few days later, a parishioner who knew of my grief sent me this poem.  It healed my sorrow.  Perhaps it will help others.  I’d like to share it : —–


I explained to St Peter
I’d rather stay here
Outside the Pearly Gates
I won’t be a nuisance
I won’t even bark
I’ll be very patient and wait
I’ll be here.
chewing on a celestial bone
No matter how long you may be
I’d miss you so much
if I went in alone
—–Dan Turner.

Selfless love for strays

Prema arrived in Bengaluru in 1979.  Now homeless, she devotes her time to taking care of strays.
She struggles to make ends meet, let alone feed and shelter herself properly, yet this compassionate woman ensures that her 30-plus dependents are always well-fed and medicated whenever they are ill, and buries them at the Shantinagar pet burial ground after they’ve breathe their last.
Bangalore strays65-year old Prema is a blessing to nearly 30 community dogs —— some of whom she has taken care of  since they were pups — in and around Johnson Market, and near the back gate of Baldwin boys’ high school in Richmond town.  Fondly called “Mary” by most residents of the area, Prema has no family or friends in the city, and was forced to fend for herself and began working as  a part-time maid.  She also began picking up rags and recyclable waste to sell at the market, and with an income of barely 600 rupees per month has managed to feed, love and nurture 30 dogs over the last 36 years.
“No camera, no camera”‘ she says in English, with a shy smile creasing her small wrinkled face. A little hesitant to open up at first, she sheds her inhibitions when three of her “best friends” —–Suresh, Babu and Michael —— come bounding towards her with tails wagging at the sight of a box of biscuits in her hands. She says, “the others are near Johnson Market, where I get scraps of meat to feed them.  I sleep in the compound of a nearby bank, but my dogs are not allowed there.  I have to leave before the bank opens and can go back only after it closes.”
Prema feeds her pooches twice a day with leftover meat, and occasionally, treats them to bread and biscuits as well.  She personally picks out the ticks from their fur and tends to any injuries the dogs may have sustained in fights or accidents.  She has christened her other dogs with names like Peter, Jimmy, Giraffe, Zebra and Johnny.  “Since she cannot afford collars for the dogs, she uses pieces of coloured thread or ribbon to tie around the dogs’ necks, and many residents know the dogs by their names too,” says Deena Nagesh, “I first met her 5 years ago, while dropping my son off to school.  He and I are ardent animal lovers too, so we stop by every Sunday and help Prema however we can.  We sometimes give her tick powder and de-worming tablets.  At other times we give her biscuits and food for the dogs.  Otherwise, we just give her money whenever possible.”
Deena is not the only one.  There are numerous other locals who make it a point to do their bit by helping Prema and the dogs.  In fact, many children from the nearby school even give her their pocket money on a regular basis, just to help her nurture her pooches.
Deena adds, ” We want people to help however they can.  As for Prema, her selflessness despite coming from an underprivileged background is SOMETHING THAT SHOULD NOT GO UNNOTICED.”
——- Praveen Kumar

Canine confusions

While our dogs love us too much and endure the love we give them, research has shown that they really hate some of the stuff we do out of love.
Here is a list : 
dogs(1) Using Words More Than Body Language :  We’re a vocal species, states  We love to chatter, even at our pets, who can’t understand the vast majority of what we’re saying.  Dogs might be able to deduce what a few key words mean — walk, treat, toy, off —- and may even learn hundreds of words as some border collies have done.  But they can’t understand ‘human language’.  What they rely on to figure out what we mean is our ‘body language’.  For instance, telling a dog to “stay” while leaning forward toward the dog and holding out a hand like  a traffic cop is, in body language, actually inviting the dog to come towards you.  But when the dog does, it gets reprimanded for breaking the ‘stay’ command.  It’s all so ‘confusing’.  Try communicating with your dog just with your body, instead of saying anything.  You will be surprised at how much your pooch will obey you.
dogs pets(2) Hugging Your Dog :  While you might love wrapping your arms around a furry canine friend, MOST DOGS HATE HUGS.  Rather than camaraderie, if a dog places a foreleg or paw on the back of another dog, this is considered an ACT OF DOMINANCE.  No matter your intentions with hugging, a dog is ‘hardwired’ to view the act of hugging as you are exerting your dominance.
(3) Petting A Dog’s Face Or Patting Its Head :  Do you like to be patted on the head ?   Our guess is ‘no’.  So, why should a dog like it ?  Yet most humans think that dogs like being patted on the head.  The reality is that while many dogs will put up with this, if it’s someone they know and trust, most dogs DON’T ENJOY IT.  It’s a personal ‘space issue’ for dogs, just as much as it is for us.
dogs pet(4) Not Providing Structure And Rules :  Dogs want, need and love having rules.  You might think having strict rules makes life boring or unhappy for your dog.  But dogs really want to know ‘what’s what’ according to their leader.  Rules make life a lot more predictable, a lot less confusing and a lot less stressful.  And speaking of confusion, doge DON’T UNDERSTAND EXCEPTIONS TO RULES.  They don’t understand they’re allowed to jump on you when you have leisure clothe.s on, but not when you have work clothes on.  Forcing your dog to interact with dogs or people it clearly doesn’t like is not done.  Just like so many other social species, dogs have their favourite friends and their enemies.  It is easy to see what other dogs, and people, for that matter, that a dog wants to hang out with whom it would rather not associate.  Yet, there are a lot of dog owners who go into denial about this or simply fail to read the cues their dog is giving.
——- Bengaluru Chronicle.

This & That

Gluta-The-Happy-Smiling-Dog-11(1) Gluta,  is a dog who was abandoned on the streets of Bangkok.  Sorasat Wisetsin, who was residing in a dorm that did not allow pets at that time, met Gluta in the parking lot frequently and even fed her, reports Viral Nova.  Wisetsin eventually realised that Gluta was suffering from some medical issue —— she was diagnosed with metritis, gluta-story-dooddot-4following which her uterus was removed, and it was also discovered that she had cervical cancer.  After a year and a half of laser surgeries and chemo, she was nursed back to health.  Today, Gluta accompanies Wisetsin on his travels.  What’s more, she even sportingly poses for pictures with all sorts of accessories and themes as seen on her Facebook and Tumblr accounts. This has earned her the title of the HAPPIEST DOG IN THE WORLD. 
(2) It is illegal in many countries to perform surgical procedures on an Octopus, without anaesthesia due to their intelligence.  That hurts !!!  
strad guitar in case(3) Three violin manufacturers have done business, for years, on the same block, in an Italian town.  After years of peaceful co-existence, the AMATI family decided to put a sign in their shop window, saying, “We make the best violins in Italy”.  The GUARNERI family soon put a sign in their window proclaiming, :We make the best violins in the world”.  Finally, the STRADIVARIUS family posted this sign outside their shop, “We make the best violins on the block.” 
(4) Why is the letter ‘F’ like an ox’s tail ? Because it comes at the end of beef.  Why is the letter ‘T’ like Easter ?  Because it comes at the end of Lent.  Which two letters are definitely not too hard ?  The letters EZ..
(5) BUBBLE WRAP, invented in 1957, was designed to be a wallpaper, but flopped.  Now, it’s a 400 million dollars a year business as PACKING MATERIAL!

Quotes on ‘dogs’

(1) Dogs really are ‘perfect soldiers’.  They are brave and smart, they can smell through walls, see in the dark and eat Army rations without complaint —– Susan Orlean.

(2) If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face —— you should go home and examine your conscience. —— Woodrow Wilson.
(3) To his dog, every man is Napoleon ; hence the constant popularity of dogs. —– Aldous Huxley.(

4) If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because HE IS FOND OF YOU ; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because YOUR LAP IS WARMER. ——- Alfred North Whitehead.

(5) I wonder if other dogs think POODLES are members of a weird religious cult. —- Rita Rudner. 

(6) Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. ——- Ann Landers.

(7) If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater —— suggest that he wear a tail. —— Fran Lebowitz.
  (8) My little dog —- a heartbeat at my feet. —– Edith Wharton  (9) Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. ——- Max Eastman.

(10) The trees, in Siberia, are miles apart, that is why the dogs are so fast. —- Bob Hope.

(11) There are all sorts of cute puppy dogs, but it doesn’t stop people from going out and buying Dobermans. —— Angus Young.

(12) Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job. —- Franklin P. Jones.

(13) Do not make the mistake of treating your dog like humans or they will treat you like dogs. —- Martha Scott.

(14) Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that a child cannot do much harm, one way or the other. ——– Robert Benchley.
(15) I’m looking more like my dogs everyday —- it must be the shaggy fringe and the ears. — Christine McVie.

(16) I always pet a dog with my left hand, because if he bit me, I’d still have my right hand to paint with. — Juan Gris.

Accept your dog

What does your dog think about you ?  Successful ? Conscientious ? Beautiful ? Generous ? Grouchy ?  It does not matter, your dog loves you no matter who you are.  That’s why You should be just as accepting.
Dogs do have innate qualities and they need us to be accepting.  A dog’s innate quality is partly breed characteristics, part history and part individual personality.  LABRADORS are, often, overtly friendly and sometimes a bit too much at that.  INDogs (street dogs) can be a bit suspicious.  BOXERS can be obsessive with toys and play.  BEAGLES can be far too focused on their sniffing.  COCKER SPANIELS can be a bit aloof.  HUSKIES can be asocial at times.  Identify what your dog is really about and graciously accept it for who it is.  It’s all about management.
A Labrador, for example, does not have to be trained to be mellow.  Instead, when the exuberance of the dog gets too much to handle, the dog can be restrained for a short while and kept busy with something to occupy the dog’s mind, ill that burst of energy passes.
An INDog could be given his space, and allowed to approach strangers at his own pace.  Avoid physical contact with the dog altogether.  A Boxer could be given plenty of toys, even simple objects fashioned from everyday objects at home like socks and boxes.  A good way to make a Beagle happy, is to lay out interesting trails and put rewards at the end of each trail.  The trail could be laid out of all kids new smells —- flowers, twigs, a dab of curry, a bit of paneer dragged across the rooms in a trail.  Cockers Spaniels hate to be hugged.  Instead they prefer long conversations and staring into space with you.  Introspective people might love the company of such dogs.  Huskies could be given things to tear apart to strike a chord with their ancient hunting instinct.
A dog loves us, irrespective of who we truly are.  Would it be too much for us to love and respect our dogs for who they are ? –
— Sindhoor Pangal, trainer.