A tale for a
 Dog person 
 They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie as I looked at him lying in his pen, the shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly. 
 I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street. 
 But something was still missing as I attempted to settle into my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. 
 And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. 
 The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but
 they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people, "whatever that meant. They must've thought I did. 
 But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me
 Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. 
 See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. 
 We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to
 give him to adjust to his new home). 
 Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were
 too much alike. 
 For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of
 my other unpacked boxes. 
 I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff,
 that I'd get him new things once he settled in, but it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to. 
 I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it. 
 He never really seemed to listen when I called his name - sure, he'd
 look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. 
 When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly 
 This just wasn't going to work. 
 He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too
 stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. 
 The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be
 up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. 
 I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but
 I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me." 
 Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number,
 I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. 
 I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged,
 some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. 
 But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." 
 Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction - maybe "glared"
 is more accurate - and
 then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down. With his back to me. 
 Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I
 punched the shelter phone number. 
 But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. 
 "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice.".... 
 To Whoever Gets
 My Dog 
 Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told 
 the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner. 
 I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. 
 He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this's like he knew something was wrong. 
 And something is wrong... which is why I have to go to try to make it right. 
 So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you
 bond with him and he with you. 
 First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. 
 Sometimes Ithink he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there.
 Hasn't done it yet. 
 Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be
 careful – really don't do it by any roads. 
 I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly. 
 Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them
 Reggie knows the obvious ones - "sit," "stay," "come," "heel." 
 He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when
 you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out
 right or left. 
 "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet you could work on that with him some more. 
 He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business. 
 I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like
 little pieces of hotdog. 
 Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and
 again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand. 
 He's up on his shots. 
 Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll
 make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. 
 Be forewarned:
 Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car -
 I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he
 Finally, give him some time. 
 I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your
 daily car rides if you can. 
 He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He
 just loves to be around people, and me most especially. 
 Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new. 
 And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....
 His name's not Reggie. 
 I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at
 the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. 
 He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it,
 of that I have no doubt. but I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. 
 For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the 
 shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. 
 And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine. 
 But if someone else is reading it, well... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. 
 It'll help you bond with him. 
 Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if
 he's been giving you problems. 
 His real nameis Tank. Because that is what I drive. Again, if
 you're reading this and you're from the area,maybe my name has been on the news. 
 I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. 
 See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left
 Tank with...and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter... in the "event" tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. 
 Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon
 was headed. 
 He said he'd do it personally. 
 And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word. 
 Well, this letter is getting downright depressing, even though,
 frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. 
 I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family.
 but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. 
 And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that
 he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. 
 That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq
 as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things... and to keep those terrible people from comingover here. 
 If I had togive up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so.
 He was my example of service and of love. 
 I hope I
 honored him by my service to my country and comrades. 
 All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop
 this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. 
 I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see
 if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth . 
 Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss 
 goodnight - every night - from me. 
 Thank you,
 I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I had
 heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like
 Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning
 the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. 
 Flags had been at half-mast. 
 I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees,
 staring at the dog. 
 "Hey, Tank," I said quietly. 
 The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright. 
 "Come'mere boy." 
 He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on 
 the hardwood floor. 
 He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months. 
 "Tank," I whispered . 
 His tail
 I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his
 ears lowered, his eyes softened,and his posture relaxed as a wave of 
 contentment just seemed to flood him. 
 I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his
 scruff and hugged him. 
 "It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to
 Tank reached up and licked my cheek. 
 "So whatdaya say we play some ball? 
 His ears perked again. "Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?" 
 Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room. 
 And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in
 his mouth. 




Do Dogs Sweat?

1) "Perspiration (also called sweating or sometimes transpiration) is the production and evaporation of a fluid, consisting primarily of water as well as a smaller amount of sodium chloride (the main constituent of "table salt"), that is excreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals. Sweat also contains the chemicals or odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol).

In humans, sweating is primarily a means of thermoregulation, although it has been proposed that components of male sweat can act as pheromonal cues. Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect due to the latent heat of evaporation of water. Hence, in hot weather, or when the individual's muscles heat up due to exertion, more sweat is produced. Sweating is increased by nervousness and nausea and decreased by cold. Animals with few sweat glands, such as dogs, accomplish similar temperature regulation results by panting, which evaporates water from the moist lining of the oral cavity and pharynx."
Source and further information:

2) "Unlike wolves, but like coyotes, domestic dogs have sweat glands on their paw pads."
Source and further information:

3) "There are two kinds of sweat glands: apocrine (or epitrichial) glands and
eccrine (or atrichial )glands. Dogs have both. When it is said that dogs
sweat mainly from their foot pads, this refers to the eccrine glands. Since
dogs do not sweat as a method of regulating their body temperature, the
amount of fluid that a dog loses by sweating is small.

"Each day a dog loses water through its urine, feces, saliva, breath, and
sweat. Unlike humans and horses, dogs do not lose much water due to

Hydration Strategies for Exercising Dogs "

""Dogs do not produce sweat for thermoregulation. However, they do have
sweat glands, called apocrine glands, associated with every hair follicle
on their body. The exact function of these is not known, but it is
suspected that these are meant to produce pheromones or chemical signals
for communication with other dogs. These sweat secretions probably produce
an individual odor signal that is recognizable by other dogs.

Dogs also have sweat glands on the pads of their paws and on their noses.
These are eccrine glands. When these glands are active, they leave the nose
and pawpads slightly moist and help these specialized skin features
maintain their functional properties. The odor associated with dog paw pads
is much more noticeable on dogs with moist paw pads than on those with dry

Dogs also have numerous apocrine glands in their external ear canals. In
this location they are referred to as ceruminous glands."


Poisoning AlertIt has come to our attention that many home improvement stores are selling a houseplant that can cause serious poisoning in pets and children. The plant is called the “Sago Palm” or “Cycad”. It is also referred to as “The Oldest Known Plant”. It is used in outdoor landscaping in Southern States, but can only survive as a houseplant in the North. All of this plant, including the seeds and root ball are toxic. Signs of illness first appear about 12 hours after ingestion and include gastrointestinal sign such as vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. The toxins in the plant lead to severe liver failure with progressive weakness, jaundice, bruising and bleeding and other signs of liver failure that lead to death. It is estimated that 75-80% of animals ingesting this plant will die in spite of aggressive medical treatment. If you have one of these plants in your home you will want to be sure to keep it away from pets and children, preferably by disposing of it safely in a covered trash can or “rehome” it with someone who does not have pets or young children in the household


The K9 above is Brutus, a military K9 at McChord.
He's huge - part Boxer and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture. Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he's slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn't stop, but he did. Brutus won the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq . His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by insurgents. Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant 'go away but come back and find me'. The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly tore the throat o ut of one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He's the first K9 to receive this honor. If he knows you're ok, he's a big old lug and wants to sit in your lap. Enjoys the company of cats.

K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Winner

Thought you'd find this interesting.
Talk about animal intelligence and bonding with humans!
Remember that they can't do a lot of things for themselves and that they depend on you to make their life a quality life!

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.
Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.

Pet Care Library

Responsible pet ownership means providing the proper care when they are ill and protecting them from parasites and other health threats. Each of the following articles offers you a quick and easy reference about common pet health issues and the roles that you and your veterinarian play in their treatment and prevention. This library will continue to grow so check back frequently for new updates! Toxic plants list in alphabetical order.

Be careful when taking the dogs out for walks... this stuff is deadly.

OADDL Identifies New Canine Parvovirus


People in the U.S. have been reporting this new strain of canine parvovirus for some time but this is the first time it's been definitely identified in a lab. It is very dangerous because, at present, the parvo virus vaccine that your dog receives as a puppy and in booster shots DOES NOT cover this strain of the virus. The previous strains of parvo primarily affected puppies, it is a heartbreaking virus which can wipe out entire litters quickly. This strain, however, also attacks ADULT dogs.


Please keep watching news reports. If you do hear about outbreaks of parvovirus in your area you should take them seriously and not expose your dog to that area or to dogs that have been in the vicinity. There is no reason to panic, but you should exercise sensible precautions. Now that the virus has been identified in a laboratory setting vaccine
manufacturers will be able to work on a vaccine to protect dogs from catching the virus. But it will take time to develop, manufacture and distribute the vaccine in a large enough quantity, therefore, we must take precaution.

OSU Laboratory First to Discover a Virus in United States
OADDL Identifies A New Canine Parvovirus


A team of Oklahoma State University (OSU) veterinarians, virologists and pathologists at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (OADDL) recently published a paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology on their findings from a Canine parvovirus (CPV) study. Led by Dr. Sanjay Kapil, the group is the first to describe the CPV type 2c variant in the United States.


We were quite fortunate to discover this variant, explains Kapil. It has been known for SIX years in Italy but nobody paid attention to it here until we found it last year. Shortly after Kapil joined the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, he received a case at the OADDL. The adult dog had been vaccinated multiple times and still became sick with Parvovirus.


This was very unusual and we were totally surprised that it was CPV type 2c, which had not been found in the U.S. until then, says Kapil. What was so interesting was that after we described this disease, we ended up with samples from other locations here in the U.S.

A patent has been filed on the characteristics of the U.S. CPV-2c. The team reports that 500 samples were submitted from locations in south California to south Florida. The published paper has been presented at national level meetings and internationally in Italy and Melbourne, Australia.


However, their work is not done.  The team work was most important. Sometimes we received ten dead puppies a day.  We are working with several veterinarians and are receiving samples from cases with a history of vaccine failure, continues Kapil. Diagnostic laboratories need to be involved to identify CPV-2c. The disease now exists in all countries except Australia because of its geographical isolation.


According to Kapil, the disease presentation is different in that normally parvovirus does not affect adult dogs only puppies. However, since publishing their findings, the OADDL has received samples from adult dogs in Minnesota. Veterinarians are confused because the in office diagnostic tests come up negative, explains Kapil. Clinically it looks like parvovirus so they send it to us. The OADDL tests it and it is parvovirus. Now world-wide (except for Australia), this particular variant can attack the heart and intestines. He goes on to say that the mortality has been quite heavy. One breeder lost 600 puppies in one night. Without further testing, it is not known if the cause was simply this virus or if other factors were involved.

We will continue to study CPV-2c. Through collaborations with others we will search for more effective vaccines, he promises. Of 80 cases tested by the OADDL, 26 were from Oklahoma puppies/dogs. Of those 26, 15 tested positive for CPV-2c. For more information on the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, visit their site.


13 Year Old Shepherd Falls


Warning for Dog Owners


If you have a dog ... PLEASE READ ... then pass it on! 

If you don't have a dog...please pass it on to friends who do!  This
knowledge can prevent a lot of suffering.

This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen
at MedVet. My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix that
ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on
Tuesday.  He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1 AM on
Wednesday  but the owner didn't call my emergency serv ice until 7 AM.

     I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal 
failure but hadn't seen any formal paper on the subject.  We had her bring
the dog in immediately.  In the meantime, I called the ER service at
MedVet,  and the doctor there was like me...he'd heard something about it,

     Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center
and they said to give IV fluids at 1 times maintenance and watch the 
kidney values for the next 48-72 hours. The dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen
level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine over 5 (1.9
is the high end of normal).   Both are monitors of kidney functi on in the
bloodstream. We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the
renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no
urine production after a liter of fluids.  At this point I felt the dog was
in acute renal failure and sent him on to a specialist for a urinary
catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care. He
started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and  his renal values have
continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a
diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still
couldn't control his vomiting.

     Today his  urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his
creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood
pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220.. He
continued to vomit and the owners elected to euthanize.

     This is a very sad case - great dog, great owners who had no idea 
raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of
this very serious risk. Poison control said  as few as 7 raisins or grapes
could be toxic. Many people I know give their dogs grapes or  raisins as
treats including our ex-handler's. Also keep in mind that chocolate,
onions and Macadamie nuts can also prove deadly to your dog.  Any exposure
should give rise to immediate concern.

Laurinda Morris, DVM
Danville Veterinary Clinic
Danville , Ohio
Even if you don't have a dog, you might have friends who do.  

This is worth passing on to them.


  Eliminate ear mites.   All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear...Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Kills fleas instantly...Dawn dishwashing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.  

Rainy day cure for dog Odor.  Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.


 A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas.  He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain.  Read on:


Click here: Hexagonal Water, Hexagonal Water Crystals, Hexagonal Water Production

The Water Vitalizer Plus™ uses the same principles Nature uses – far infrared energy, magnetic fields, vortices and turbulence – to create an oxygen-rich, alkaline, energized and uniquely structured Hexagonal Water which has been associated with:

· greater energy
· rapid hydration
· heightened immune function
· better nutrient absorption
· longevity
· weight loss
· greater metabolic efficiency


An article was published by Reuters on September 7, 2007 that is of interest to dog owners:

U.S. Free of Canine Rabies Virus 

by Maggie Fox  (Health & Science Editor)  September 7, 2007


"The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public health success stories in the last 50 years," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a statement.


For more information on the canine rabies vaccine and The Rabies Challenge Fund


   Rabies Challenge Fund Reaches First-Year Goal:

    Pets: Rabies vaccine research may save some pain,0,6559208.column

  The Vaccine Challenge 

   How Often Does He REALLY Need a Rabies Shot? 

   Get Out Your Wallets, Rabies Challenge Fund a Reality 

    Are We Overvaccinating our Pets? 

    Rabies Challenge Kicks Off Fundraiser: 

    Nationwide Campaign Launched to Fund Rabies Vaccine Study

    Challenging the Rabies Vaccine,0,1274963.column;

    The Rabies Challenge Fund 

    Rabies Challenge Fund & Master Dog Training at the Womens Podcasting Expo - Show #42 .   


Anyone wishing to have a copy of the 1992 French challenge study data from a research team led by Michel Aubert in which dogs were demonstrated to be immune to a rabies challenge 5 years after vaccination, or Vascellari's study which documented cancerous tumors in dogs at presumed injection sites of rabies vaccine, please e-mail me at .


Regards,  Kris L. Christine

Founder, Co-Trustee

The Rabies Challenge Fund  Copy and paste the link to view



This dog poison quiz was circulated through one of my other rescue groups.  Give it a try to test your knowledge .... Dogs-Don't Eat These! quiz

New Vaccination Protocol - IMPORTANT READING


As suggested by Dr. Dodd for years, the revised Vaccination Protocol for ALL 27 Vet hospitals will apparently be changing their programs.

 This is welcome news and should be taken with you to your vet should you need reinforcement against over-vaccination.

 VACCINATION NEWSFLASH [CIMDA support] Re: J Dodd's vaccine protocol

 I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.

 Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics. Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs. those concerned about potential side effects.

 Politics, traditions, or the doctor's economic well-being should not be a factor in medical decision.


 Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not "boosted" nor are more memory cells induced.

 Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.

 Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be Vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

 Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, DELAY the timing of the first highly effective vaccine.

 Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart SUPPRESS rather than stimulate the immune system.

 A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age.

 Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.




Tanzania Trains Rats To Sniff Out Land Mines





DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (NNPA) - At a Tanzanian university, African pouched rats are being trained to sniff out land mines and explosives, which can then be made safe by the rats's human handlers.


After about five years' research and training, the first sniffer rats are now being field tested in Mozambique, a country with about 500,000 buried mines left over from its 15-year civil war. Like dogs, which are sometimes used to detect mines, the rats have an excellent sense of smell. But unlike dogs, the 30-inch, three-pound rats are very light and can work without detonating the mines.


The rats are also "more mechanical than a dog and they are easier to transfer to different owners," said the project's coordinator, Christophe Cox, in an interview with the BBC.


The rats are harnessed in a frame and wheeled over suspected minefields. When the rat smells a mine, it will scratch the ground to show the location. Then a human handler will reward the rat with a piece of banana, move the rat safely out of the way, and destroy the mine. According to the Apopo, a Belgium-based research group that runs the project, no rats have been injured in the line of duty.


This story come special to the NNPA from IPS/GIN.