Sputter, choke, gasp, blurp! That's the sound of a little bit of information going the wrong way.

"All dogs start out as perfectly normal puppies,ready and eager to learn, as malleable as clay."

~ Dr. Ian Dunbar

Sigh... this came across my desk today, as the tagline for the Dog Star Daily Woof from Dr. Dunbar and staff. As a breeder working on her 7th generation of German Shepherds, it made me roll my eyes, as it is a typical statement from non-breeders who seem to have a very skewed and unrealistic view about puppies and what they are or are not. But then I had a stronger reaction, as a trainer. The more I thought about it, the stronger my response.

I realize that in some groups, there is a current taboo on saying NO to a dog. This has led me to consider briefly the idea of naming a dog Noh after the Japanese theatre form.  But recently I made a crack about the famed artist Christy Brown and his drinking escapades in a wheelbarrow (look it up! even I can't make this stuff up). Another trainer standing nearby looked absolutely shocked at my comment.

There are a few phrases that really push my buttons. When talking to trainers, the one that will always get a reaction from me is this explanation for why the trainer used a specific technique or piece of equipment: "I had to."

On Nov. 10, an immeasurably large crowd gathered at the gates of Heaven to meet someone special. There were dogs, horses, cats, goats, birds, snakes, lizards, ponies, sheep and more, animals of many descriptions, all bright eyed, tail wagging, prancing in glorious bodies. There were people too, smiles on their faces, arms open in greeting.  All had their gaze turned on the gates as a bright, shining figure approached.  The murmur rippled through the vast crowd, "Dr. Sharon is here... she's here!!"

A recent article in Science News simply blew me away: for rats who had strokes induced, the simple stimulation of a single whisker proved sufficient to completely prevent the damage in the brain typical of strokes. The touch of a whisker was done at intervals during the 2 hour window from onset of the stroke. Total "whisker" time? Less than 5 minutes within that 2 hour time frame.

One whisker. A simple touch.

So much prevented.

The implications for human stroke victims are enormous. Treatment that is free. Easily provided. So much potential for good.