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POULSEN: Monsanto is invading... plus love hormones and your dog

Image Credit: Chuck Poulsen
April 23, 2015 - 7:58 AM

Minster of Lands Steve Thomson announced last week that the province will spend $1.7 million to combat invasive and troublesome plants.

This includes eight projects in the Thompson-Okanagan, using a combination of management methods.

It took a bit of coaxing to get the name of a herbicide that will be used, but the name was finally coughed up by the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society: glyphosate, more commonly known by the brand name Roundup.

Roundup is reviled by the Greenists and I hardly need tell you what they think of the company that developed it, Monsanto.

All of this is approved in our own backyards, by our own government!

Protests, anyone?

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Scientists have just shown that dog owners love their animals in the same way they love their children.

Dog lovers have always known this, although they keep it quiet because of the guilt of putting their mutts on the same emotional plane as their kids. But the dog is out of the bag, and the report appears at the same time the SPCA readies for the inexplicable and contrary reality of owners who subject their canines to the deadly heat that can build up in a vehicle.

An article in last week’s Science magazine reported that when owners look their dogs in the eyes – and the dog looks back – both brains produce oxytocin, known as the love hormone.

It’s the same hormone that triggers feelings of unconditional love and protection when parents give their kids a hug or look into their eyes. A mother’s oxytocin levels rise when she’s giving birth or breastfeeding. Researchers put dogs and owners in a room and documented interaction between them, such as talking, touching and gazing.

They then measured levels of oxytocin in urine and discovered increased eye contact between dogs and humans drove up levels of the hormone in both species.

There was no increase in oxytocin when the experiments were done with wolves, indicating that the response evolved during the domestication of dogs that began 34,000 years ago.

Evan MacLean, a scientist at Duke University, said dogs learned to “hijack” the bonding pathway between parents and their children.

“They became attuned to our social cues in the way that young children are. Our relationships with dogs are very much like parent-child relationships.”

Prairie voles, one of nature's most monogamous species, produce oxytocin in unusually large amounts, in case you didn’t know that.

Image Credit: BCSPCA

So why do people who love their dogs occasionally exhibit such carelessness in exposing them to danger in a vehicle? It’s perplexing. As the B.C. SPCA’s manager responsible for animal cruelty Shawn Eccles put it: “Most people don’t take their dog in the car if they don’t like the dog.”

The B.C. SPCA gets roughly 230 complaints a month in the summer about dogs left in hot cars.

A disclaimer is necessary here. There is no data in B.C. on how many of these complaints are legitimate or just machinations of those prone to hysteria or the cult of PETA. My dog goes with me most places. I know where there are shade trees and at what time of day I can catch the shadow of a building while my dog waits in the car.

Last summer, I left my dog in the car while I did grocery shopping. The car was parked on the road in complete shade, all windows half-way down, bowl of water on the floor.

When I came back, a woman growled at me that she had just called the police to report that I endangered my dog.

I asked her if she wanted to sit in my car for a bit and cool off.

Point being, we don’t know how pervasive, or maybe how rare, the problem of dogs in hot vehicles might be.

For instance, some people will lock their dogs in the vehicle with the A/C running although passers-by may not know the dog is okay. It might pay to put a sign under the wiper saying: “Don’t panic, AC is on!”  (I’ve done this on the rarest of occasion and then only when I know I’ll be gone 10 minutes max. I worry about the A/C screwing up).

There is no province-wide legislation addressing dogs in hot cars but last year the Regional District of the Central Okanagan became the first jurisdiction in B.C. to enact a bylaw fine for it.

Officers handed out eight of the $150 tickets last summer.

Not a lot of tickets, but as RDCO spokesperson Bruce Smith comments: “Eight times more than should have happened.”

— Poulsen can be contacted at poulsenc30@hotmail.com

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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