By Linda Cole
I have to admit, I'm an advocate for any stray dog or cat – even the ones with aggression issues. I believe pets deserve a second chance when they've been lost or cast aside by their owners. Unfortunately, many aggressive shelter pets will never be adopted. But sometimes the right person comes along who makes a difference in an aggressive dog's life. With trust, patience, respect and love, one person can create small miracles and move mountains. We can change the plight of stray pets, one animal at a time, as long as we don't give up on them. It's worth the time to unravel a troubled mind in order to save a soul. I have worked with both an aggressive dog and cat, and that's one reason why I was drawn to the story I'm about to share with you.
When a stray dog shows up in a neighborhood or at a local shelter, we don't know what they went through living on the streets. Their history is unknown and we have no idea if they were mistreated, abused or became aggressive while on the streets in order to survive. When a dog shows aggression, his behavior is often viewed as a lost cause and he's put down. Most people won't deal with an aggressive dog because they don't know how to help him, or simply don't want to deal with trying to change the dog's behavior. A woman named Heike Munday saw something special in an aggressive dog and rescued her from certain death.
Heike first saw Josie on a snowy day in 2008. She was lost, afraid and hiding in a vacant yard near Heike's home. Josie was not looking for a friend and didn't want anyone's help. She growled to keep strangers at bay and Heike was heartbroken as she sat on a cement slab in an alley, trying and failing to make friends with an angry and fearful dog. Finally, Josie was caught by animal control officers and taken to a local shelter. But Heike had accomplished one small victory, even though she didn't know it at the time. Josie was beginning to trust her.
Josie's aggression didn't improve at the shelter and after failing a test evaluating her temperament, she was deemed too aggressive for adoption. With no hope or plans to try to rehabilitate her and only hours left to live, Heike decided Josie had been through enough. She was Josie's only hope for survival, so she decided to adopt the aggressive dog, even though she knew the road ahead would be long and difficult.
Dealing with an aggressive dog isn't easy. It requires patience and giving the dog space until she feels comfortable around you. Heike had the experience to help Josie work through her aggression issues. She knew the first step was to build trust and all of her interactions with Josie were to work towards building a bond and earning Josie's trust. Heike understood how dogs interact with each other and the importance of non-confrontational touching. Instead of petting Josie, Heike used her knees to rub up against her in the same way dogs bump against each other when they're interacting with each other. Finally, after months of patience, understanding and love, Josie learned to trust and a strong bond began to grow.
It's been three and a half years since Heike rescued Josie from the shelter. She spent hours socializing Josie with other people, dogs and situations. On March 3, 2011, Josie proved that a dog could go from an aggressive and misunderstood dog with only hours to live, to a dog who just earned her Canine Good Citizen Awardfrom the American Kennel Club.
Even a friendly pet can become aggressive in order to survive on the street. Between people driving them away from their homes, kids throwing rocks and other dogs or wild animals chasing them, it's no wonder a dog or cat becomes fearful and/or aggressive. Aggression is one way some animals deal with the cards that have been dealt to them.
Aggressive dogs deserve a second chance. They are worth our time and effort to try and help them heal. Changing a dog's aggressive behavior isn't easy and most likely it was a person who made him aggressive in the first place. Treating aggression means changing a dog's behavior. Sometimes a dog just needs someone with the courage to help him learn how to deal with his fears. Dogs act in the way they were taught and sometimes their aggression is what helps them survive, but they have to learn to let go of it to live in our world. An aggressive dog can be healed, and nothing is impossible when you take the time to understand and earn their trust.
Can your unique 'smell' (what your body smells like) change naturally? And when would this happen? I thought maybe when you were a baby and maybe puberty, but would it change if you were in love too?
If love really does change everything including body odour, women are more likely to sniff it out than men.
Our personal odour is as unique as our DNA — in fact, our 'odour print' is determined partly by a group of genes on the sixth chromosome related to immune function which are known as the major histocompatibility complex.
But while our genetically-founded odour print remains unchanged through our lifetime, our scent has other layers of complexity and people emit different odours as they age.
Anyone who has spent time around active teenage boys will agree that hormonal changes play a big part in the way we smell.
"Diet also influences the way we smell," says Dr Charles Wysocki, a behavioural neuroscientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, USA.
Vegetarians smell different to meat-eaters and eating dairy products also affects your body's odour.
Emotional experiences also influence our body odours short-term, with some research showing that subjects who have watched movie clips that made them fearful or anxious have had changes in their body odour that was recognised by other people.
"What we don't know, is whether a person will become anxious or fearful if they smell an individual who is anxious or fearful," Wysocki says.
"Love is another emotional experience. When a person is in love, does the body odour change? That hasn't been tested, but given what is known about changes in body odour, if an individual encounters their loved one, I suspect that their body odour might change," he continues.
But beware, women looking for the man of their dreams should lay off the perfume because it hides their true scent from their ideal genetic partner, according to recent research by Wysocki and colleagues.
However, women are still likely to recognise a potential mate's natural scent through any aftershave or other fragrance that a man might slap on before a hot date.
"We found that using different fragrance materials to reduce the impact of a man's body odour will work on the nose of other men — but won't work on the nose of women," says Wysocki.
"A woman's nose seems to be much more tuned into ... body odours. We can find fragrances that reduce the impact of body odour from women on men," he says.
"We think that, from an evolutionary perspective, that's because women need to gain as much information as possible about potential mates because they have a very limited number of times that they can have successful pregnancies."
Subjects asked to select a prospective date from the smell of a T-shirt they had worn usually preferred the scent of a person whose immune system was genetically quite different to their own, Wysocki says, giving potential offspring optimal protection.
"Whether this goes part way to explaining the chemistry behind physical attraction, we don't know, but it may be going on at the subconscious level."
Dr Charles Wysocki was interviewed by Fran Molloy of http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/02/13/2491011.htm