Friday, September 7, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #43: Dog Edition

I did cats last time I did one of these (which was the Friday before last, because, it pains me to admit, I have issues with commitment), and cats and dogs go together like...two things that do not go together very well, actually. Oil and water. Husbands and mothers-in-law. Something like that. I dunno, you guys, I'm grasping for straws here, since I'm pretty crap at coming up with topics for these things, anyway. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about dogs, but were afraid to ask, because you have irrational and very oddly specific fears, presumably.

On an unrelated note, I am currently obsessed with Check it.

1) Dogs may have emerged as a species distinct from gray wolves as many as 100,000 years ago, although the oldest known specimen of a dog is only 33,000 years old. the lineage of modern dogs can only be traced back about 15,000 years. Older lineages of dogs died out during the Last Glacial Maximum, a period between 19,000 and 26,500 years ago when glaciers covered large portions of Asia, Europe, and North America.

This shit just got complicated, fast. ~ Robert A. Rohde

2) Sargeant Stubby, a pit bull (we think), became famous nationwide for his acts of heroism in France during World War I. Stubby entered the service when he befriended Corporal Robert Conroy at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut, during military drills. Conroy became so attached to Stubby that, when he shipped out, he smuggled the dog onto the boat. Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry Division, 26th Yankee Division for 18 months, starting on 5 February 1918. He fought in 17 battles.

And got all these medals.

In addition to improving morale, Stubby also learned to warn his unit of incoming artillery shells – his sensitive ears were able to detect them far sooner than his humans could. When Stubby was wounded in April 1918, he didn't lose hope – instead of moping around, like a stupid human would do, Stubby cheered up the other wounded until it was time to return to the front. When Stubby suffered from a gas attack, he used his new knowledge to warn the others of impending poison gas clouds. He located wounded soldiers in no man's land and, in the Argonne, he single-handedly (footedly?) captured a German spy. When American troops liberated Chateau-Thierry, the ladies of the village made Stubby his spiffy jacket, giving him, at long last, something to pin his medals on.

His many, many medals.
When the war ended, Conroy smuggled Stubby home again, where he was feted as a hero. Stubby led parades across the nation and was received by Presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Harding. When Conroy began attending Georgetown University Law Center, Stubby went too, and became the football team's mascot. He was decorated with over a dozen medals, and honored with a lifetime membership to the American Legion, among other organizations. Stubby died at the age of ten (or eleven), in his owner's arms. His remains are on display at the Smithsonian, and, on 11 November 2006, he was given a brick in the Walk of Honor at the US WWI monument in Kansas City.

OMFG now I'm crying.

3) As King of the Hill fans will already be aware, dog dancing is a thing. It's officially called musical canine freestyle and is described on Wikipedia as a “mixture of obedience training, tricks and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners.” It emerged in the late 80s and early 90s in the US, Canada, England and the Netherlands. The first official group, Musical Canine Sports International, appeared in British Columbia in 1991. While British groups apparently focus more on training the dog to heel (to music?), American groups incorporate more flashy tricks and elaborate costumes.

Because we can't hear you over the sound of our freedom. ~ Mary Jo Sminkey

In freestyle heeling, the dog remains close to the handler while mimicking his or her movements, almost as if they are invisibly linked. In musical freestyle, the dog learns to jump, do tricks, weave through the handler's legs, and other elaborate stuff. To music.

People spend time on this. Then they hold competitions. ~ Mary Jo Sminkey

4) Dogs are apparently doing yoga now (known as “doga,” ha ha ha) by which I mean, there are special classes into which you can take your dog and manhandle it into all sorts of pretzel shapes. Participants also use their dogs as yoga props, because exploiting living things is totally in the spirit of yoga.


Critics call the practice a “fad” and claim that it has trivialized an ancient and sacred spiritual practice (never!). Proponents argue that doga helps owners bond with their dogs, as well as providing extra weight resistance, when you flop them on top of you like a sack of beans.