Dog and Cat Buddies-More Proof That Animals Have Relatiionships

Look carefully in each picture for the cat as it makes its way down from the roof to the dog. 

This is such a beautiful story!  Even non-pet lovers can appreciate this. Every day – at the same time – she waits for him. Sometimes she barks to call him.

He comes; they rub and greet each other and they go for a walk. They have done this for 5 years and no, they don’t belong to the same owners. The owners didn’t know until neighbors seeing them together so frequently commented to the cat’s owner, who then followed the dog home which was a distance away – not in a house close or next door. How it started no one knows.

Wouldn’t it be great to have friends like this – always There, no words needed, they just intuitively recognize the value of each other in their lives and act accordingly.
Live, Laugh, Love
Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is.
The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

Bye-Bye to the Airport TSA Backscatter Machines

By Dr. Mercola   airport

Rapiscan “backscatter” screening machines, which project x-ray beams onto your body using ionizing radiation, are being removed from U.S. airports.

Since ionizing radiation causes DNA damage that can lead to cancer, and its effects are cumulative, even the supposedly small levels of exposure from the backscatter machines was concerning… so much so that the European Commission banned x-ray body scanners that use backscatter radiation from airports back in 2011.

But it was privacy, not safety concerns, that prompted the U.S. removal… and despite what many media outlets are reporting, the same type of machine, made by a different manufacturer, may be showing up in Rapiscans’ place.

Privacy Concerns Prompt Removal of Rapiscan Backscatter Machines

The Rapiscan backscatter machines create a detailed reflection of your body that is displayed on a monitor viewed by a remotely located TSA officer. Because the pictures are so detailed, they earned the moniker “naked body scanners” and have prompted retaliations from privacy rights activists, who liken the pictures to a “virtual strip search.”

To remedy this, as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, all U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) body scanners were supposed to be equipped with a type of software called Automated Target Recognition (ATR), which turns the graphic images into generic outlines of a human body, by June 2012

This was later pushed back to June 2013. Rapiscan was unable to meet this Congressional mandate, and as a result TSA terminated their contract with the company.

According to the TSA blog, most of the backscatter units being removed will be replaced with millimeter wave units,1 which use electromagnetic waves to create a generic image of passengers. The millimeter wave unit looks more like a round booth (the backscatter machines look like two large blue boxes) and is subject to less controversy because it does not use dangerous ionizing radiation and therefore likely does not carry the same health risks.

However, TSA has also reportedly signed a $245-million contract with American Science and Engineering, which uses the same backscatter technology as Rapiscan for their machines, but has the updated software to address the privacy concerns. As the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) reported:2

“In other words, while passengers may not have their privacy violated any more, they still will have their health endangered.”

As for the Rapsican machines that are being removed… don’t expect them to disappear entirely. The TSA reported:3

“All Rapiscan AIT units currently operational at checkpoints around the country, as well as those stored at the TSA Logistics Center, will be removed by Rapiscan at their expense and stored until they can be redeployed to other mission priorities within the government.”

Did the U.S. Government Ignore Backscatter Safety Concerns?

In 1998, a panel of radiation experts convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the safety of backscatter technology raised serious questions about their safety. It had long been accepted that humans should not be exposed to x-ray radiation of any kind unless medically justified.

Yet, despite concerns that even low-level exposure to the radiation could contribute to cancer, the machines were employed for use in airports – a decision made not by the FDA but by the TSA. According to a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation:4

“Research suggests that anywhere from six to 100 U.S. airline passengers each year could get cancer from the machines. Still, the TSA has repeatedly defined the scanners as ‘safe,’ glossing over the accepted scientific view that even low doses of ionizing radiation – the kind beamed directly at the body by the X-ray scanners – increase the risk of cancer.

…Because of a regulatory Catch-22, the airport X-ray scanners have escaped the oversight required for X-ray machines used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The reason is that the scanners do not have a medical purpose, so the FDA cannot subject them to the rigorous evaluation it applies to medical devices.

Still, the FDA has limited authority to oversee some non-medical products and can set mandatory safety regulations. But the agency let the scanners fall under voluntary standards set by a nonprofit group heavily influenced by industry.

As for the TSA, it skipped a public comment period required before deploying the scanners. Then, in defending them, it relied on a small body of unpublished research to insist the machines were safe, and ignored contrary opinions from U.S. and European authorities that recommended precautions, especially for pregnant women. Finally, the manufacturer, Rapiscan Systems, unleashed an intense and sophisticated lobbying campaign, ultimately winning large contracts.”

Backscatter Radiation Levels May be Higher Than You’re Being Told

A letter written by five professors5 revealed that there has not actually been any verifiable scientific testing of the safety of airport scanners – and that the levels of radiation being used are likely much higher than the public has been led to believe. These scientists believe that the high-quality images produced cannot possibly be obtained with the low levels of radiation described, and that the actual level may be 45 times higher than what the manufacturer is claiming.

The supposed “testing” of the Rapiscan Secure 1000, the most widely deployed X-ray scanner, was actually performed on a mock-up of spare parts “said to be similar to those that are parts of the Rapiscan system.” In addition, none of these tests have ever been peer reviewed – the data and even the names of the researchers who carried out the tests have been kept secret from the public.

Not to mention, the former Homeland Security chief and co-author of the PATRIOT Act, Michael Chertoff, has been one of the primary promoters of full-body scanners, and is, not so ironically, a highly paid consultant for the companies that sell them… Even if we’re not being lied to, common sense would dictate that we need to proceed with caution and not expose millions of travelers of all ages, and with any number of medical conditions, to unknown risks – including risks from human error or technological malfunction. Already, ANH reported:6

“A report from the Department of Homeland Security7 found inconsistencies in how the machines are calibrated to ensure radiation safety and image quality, and noted that not all TSA screeners have completed required radiation safety training.”

What are Your Options for Safer Airport Screening?

In the United States, although the Rapiscan backscatter units are being removed, other backscatter technologies may soon take their place, so remember that you always have the right to opt-out of x-ray body scanners while traveling and can choose to have a manual pat-down instead. Personally, as a very frequent air traveler, I ALWAYS opt-out of the x-ray scanner. Remember, the European Commission has already banned scanners that use backscatter radiation, noting:8

“In order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorized methods for passenger screening at EU airports.”

If you’re a frequent traveler, you can also sign up for Global Entry to become a “trusted traveler.” It costs $100 to join, and requires a background check and interview before you’re approved, but once you’re accepted you may be able to bypass security screening at airports. The interview is typically done at the airport and takes quite a while to schedule, usually a few months, so overall it will take you about 3-4 months to get this security clearance after your initial application.

Additionally, if you’re concerned about radiation exposures when traveling by air, one way to reduce your radiation exposure is to fly at night. In addition to opting out of the full-body scanner. I also take 8 mg of astaxanthin every day, which is believed to profoundly limit damage from ionizing radiation.

Can Owning a Dog Prevent Cancer?

There’s no doubt about it. A canine companion can keep you healthier and more active as you age.dogsprevent

Research shows that if you own a dog you’re more likely to have a better body mass index, fewer chronic health conditions and less risk of depression.

In fact, people who regularly walk their furry companions have about a third the risk of diabetes, are less likely to have high blood pressure and have fewer cholesterol worries.

And today there is even better news.

The more time you spend enjoying recreational physical activities– like walking and playing with your dog – can dramatically decrease your risk of colon cancer.

Just last month two revealing studies were released that helped connect the dots for us.

In the first study, which involved 109,046 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 47,684 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers uncovered some disturbing news.

Men and women who are less physically active have a much higher risk of colon cancer. Obesity and a high body mass index are also significant factors.

The second study was even more revealing. People who walked 150 minutes each week – a mere two and a half hours every 7 days – were less likely to die of colon cancer than their couch potato counterparts.

One of the best ways to get moving, lose weight and gain control over your health is to get moving. And heading outdoors with your tail-wagging friend is a great way to do it.

Spending time romping with your pup is a fun way to spend your time. And it’s not just good for you. Your dog will get the health benefits, too.

Like you, he or she will be become happier, sleeker and more muscular. And as an added benefit, your happy companion will likely become better behaved when all that canine energy is released.

So get up off the couch and take the dog for a walk. Once you begin going out every day, it will become easier and easier to stay motivated. Especially since your dog will begin expecting it – and won’t let you forget that he’s anticipating his daily workout!

In addition to walking, here are some fun exercises that will keep both you and Fido strong, fit and potentially cancer-free for years to come…

Ditch This Pet Food Now – Can Be Deadly to Your Pets

dog food picBy Dr. Beckerdog pic

In an article last November, I reported on the very real danger of future widespread aflatoxin contamination of commercial pet food, primarily dry dog food. Thanks to the very hot, dry summer of 2012, experts predicted U.S. corn crops would be heavily infested with two types of mold — Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.

These molds produce metabolites called aflatoxins. Aflatoxins cause acute lethal illness and cancer in animals and humans, and are among the most carcinogenic substances on earth. Aflatoxins poison the liver, and their carcinogenic properties can lead to tumor formation.

Recalls of Aflatoxin-Contaminated Dog Food Have Begun

Reuters reports high levels of aflatoxins have been discovered in bags of dog food on store shelves in Iowa. And according to Michael Wright, the CEO of Pro-Pet, a pet food company in Ohio that recently learned some of its product was contaminated with aflatoxins, “Last year’s corn crop – it’s a huge issue. We test every load coming in. And we reject a lot of loads.”

During the last week of February, the Hy-Vee Inc. grocery chain was forced to recall five different products in its private dog food line due to high levels of aflatoxins in the corn used in the formulas. The dog food was produced at a Kansas City Pro-Pet plant and distributed across eight Midwestern states.

As I explained back in November, the behavior of the A. flavus and A. parasiticus molds makes it very difficult to control or minimize aflatoxin contamination, or to accurately assess the extent of the problem. There can be pockets of plants that are heavily contaminated, while the rest of the crop is relatively mold-free, so analyzing occasional random samples of corn plants can give misleading results.

The corn used in the recalled Hy-Vee formulas had been tested before it was added to the dog food, and the finished product was reportedly tested as well. But the contamination wasn’t discovered until a random bag was pulled from a store shelf in Iowa by an inspector for the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

According to, Hy-Vee officials say the recall is only a precautionary measure and no illnesses have been reported. The recalled products were distributed to Hy-Vee stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin between October 26, 2012, and January 11, 2013. Specific details of recalled products can be found here.

If you happen to have a bag of recalled product, you should stop feeding it to your pet. You can also return the food, opened or unopened, to a Hy-Vee store for a full refund.

How to Avoid Aflatoxin-Contaminated Pet Food

Aflatoxin-related illness is seen much more often in dogs than cats because more commercial dog foods than cat foods contain corn products.

To be very safe, I recommend you transition your pet away from all dry food. Replace it with a high quality canned food, a commercially prepared raw diet, dehydrated raw, a balanced home cooked diet, or a combination.

If you want to continue to offer dry food to your dog, I recommend you study the ingredients carefully and avoid products containing corn in any form, including corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, corn flour, etc. Corn is not only highly susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, it is also allergenic and difficult for most pets to digest.

Dr. Karen Becker, is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian.

Driving School For Dogs!

dog driving

In a unique strategy aimed at attracting adoptive families, a charity in Auckland, NZ teaches homeless dogs to drive. It’s a process of teaching 10 specific behaviors to the dogs over a 7-week period, and putting the learned gestures together in a sequence. Monty, a giant schnauzer, demonstrates his ability to control the steering wheel, gear shift and brakes.