Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Introducing Baby To Dog - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Tuesday, 29 November, 2011



Has he/she ever showed any signs of aggression towards anything?

If the answer is no then you have nothing to worry about - you just need some help in understanding dogs a little - which I will provide you with below.

Having said that the biggest mistake people make is being nervous, anxious, fearful or expecting/anticipating problems.
I am going to give you a few articles to read. Please read them as it is critical that you understand how dogs communicate and how we unintentionally communicate to them. And below I am going to coach you on introducing your dog and baby in more detail. Also, the same methodology can and should be used when introducing your new dog to your toddler, or older children.

Here are the articles and then I will continue with an explanation below. You can either read them now or continue on and read them after - but to read them is a must!

First I want to share this with you...when my daughter was a toddler strangers would criticize me for leaving her in the car with Shanny (my first German Shepherd x Malamute) while I stepped into the pizza place to pick up the pizza I had called ahead to order. Shanny would have done anything and everything she could to protect my daughter if the need ever arose. Shanny would never have harmed her - I had nurtured Shanny's balanced state of being and enabled the best attributes of a dog. I had respected her as a dog and as a non-human person. I had every reason to trust in Shanny. Not only did Shanny never let me down, but she often astonished me with her kindness, instinct, intuition and great intelligence.

When I was in the hospital, having just delivered my daughter into this world, I took one of the little hats that she wore on that first day and gave it to my Mom to take home (while I was still at the hospital) so Shanny could meet my daughter for the first time - not in actual physical presence - but instead by her scent on the little knitted hat. This is of great importance to the dog - it should be allowed to meet the baby by scent first. (If you are introducing your new dog to children rather than baby, you can skip this step!).

Now I would have had no trepidation about my Daughter and Shanny meeting in physical presence first, but because I was still at the hospital, I wanted to send Shanny something to let her know what was going on. If you can do this first it is a wonderful way to start.

Why the nose first...well please read this to understand...

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE with babies, children and dogs
I end up with quite a few clients who retain me to help because their dog has become child reactive. This is so easily avoidable, but people in not understanding how and what they communicate create this situation, which gets exponentially worse if allowed to continue and then results in aggression. So let’s make sure you do not accidentally create this situation.

How does this type of behaviour start? Well, when a child's parents are nervous of their child being around a dog...the dog learns that when children are near, people are nervous, anxious and/or fearful. Dogs look to their humans for leadership…if you are uncomfortable it tells your dog that it should be on guard. So the dog learns to associate children with tension and fear and eventually this turns to aggression. The dog does not create the situation of aggression - people do!

This has nothing to do with training your dog - it has everything to do with training yourself. What this is about is the psychology of humans and the psychology of Dogs.

Reading the articles that I provided links to above, will ensure that you can get a good understanding of what follows below…but read on and then you can go back to the linked articles after.

Make sure you are not tense, stressed or anticipating reactive behaviour (what you probably think of as aggression) from your dog. Your dog has absolutely no reason to be aggressive - unless you create the aggression! To lead by example you must be without any such emotions. You must be (calm) and have confidence in yourself and in your dog. Your state of calm confidence will set the framework for your dog’s state. If your thoughts and body language are relaxed and confident you indicate to your dog that you are confident with the situation - this allows your dog to relax and normalize the experience of meeting your baby. Dogs are naturally good with children and babies - it is only when the human creates tension and bad associates, when the human has failed to enable balance in their dogs that dogs are aggressive to children.

I am going to ask that you also read about Leadership and debunking the Alpha Myth here - a whole understanding is very important as it will foster a relaxed and informed state for you!

Encourage your dog to use its nose to greet your baby. A dog’s sense of smell is acute. In its natural state, dogs greet each other by smelling each other - not by jumping all over each other in an excited state. Excited greetings occur because the human has taught the dog that greeting (a human - child or adult) requires excitement. This is not a dog’s way. It is a human’s way. To teach this type of greeting de-normalizes the experience for a dog. Make the greeting normal and comfortable.

RELAX AND ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL MEETING - by doing so you will make it what it should be.
So train yourself to control your thoughts, your emotion and direct your focus. Only then can you properly support your dog. Remember, you communicate with your state-of-mind, and hence your body…not just by the words or tone you use to speak.

If your dog is truly a little too eager/pushy you need to disagree with your dog’s behaviour. For instance your dog places his paws on the baby with a little too much energy or wants to lick the baby’s face too much. Touch your dog and say 'no' and then say 'gentle'. Touch gets his attention, 'no' to indicate the behaviour is not appropriate and 'gentle' to provide the right direction. This is coaching/mentoring. It is all your dog requires. As long as you do so from a calm and confident state your dog will understand. It is really simple - the energy behind what you do is everything and has an immense impact on creating a positive, normal, happy greeting and future relationship!

I cannot state enough how important it is to be relaxed, calm, confident and patient - it is everything!

This meeting should be enjoyed, it should be beautiful - and not infused with stress, tension and nightmare scenarios in your mind. Remember, it is the human who creates the situation, good and bad!

I have had to rehabilitate too many dogs who have become aggressive to children simply because they were not socialized using all of the methods I note above. Instead of socializing and normalizing them to greeting and being with children - the people fear from the get-go and lock the dog in another room or never allow the dog to greet a baby. Well guys, what do you think will happen - of course you make the dog aggressive. You make the dog frustrated and confused. Dogs are highly intelligent, sensitive animals - take advantage of their natural nature, work with it, don’t destroy it.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Those Detestable Hospital Parking Tabs

Makes a lot of good sense. To finally do away with exorbitant and irritatingly stupid parking fees at area hospitals. As though people do not experience enough distress and stress as it is, attending a hospital clinic or meeting a scheduled appointment, or arriving for a surgical procedure, either as an out-patient or for a stay; people really do not appreciate the aggravation of worrying about parking fees.

It isn't convenient for many people to take public transit to get to a hospital, even for those patients - perhaps particularly for those patients - who must attend regularly for something like chemotherapy or kidney dialysis. Fretting about the nuisance of finding a parking space, and paying for the privilege of parking their vehicle reasonably close to where they're getting treatment is an additional burden for people.

Let alone the exorbitant price to park; $3.50 a half-hour, a $13.00 limit each day. Even passes for a week or a month are hefty and represent another financial burden. Which some have pointed out is simply yet another surtax on top of already-burdened taxpayers who have little other option than to pay and get on with it. Worrying all the while if they're going over their limit on parking.

An editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, written by its interim editor-in-chief, Rajendra Kale, addresses this very issue. And comes out squarely in favour of abolishing the hated tariff. "And what about parents who have to drive sick children to hospital?" Dr. Kale, an Ottawa neurologist writes: "a more civilized society might offer volunteer-run valet parking."

He's right there. The tally for parking amounts to roughly 1% of a hospital's income. Not too much of a burden, it seems, that it cannot come from another source. The Canada Health Act guarantees Canadians access to health care without financial barriers. It can be stated that the burden of paying for repeated and necessary visits to hospitals can impose a real hardship through expensive parking fees.

Hospital administrators point out that the money collected for parking is streamed directly into purchases of new technological devices to benefit the hospital and its patients. That's food for thought, that there is a defined usefulness involved in the additional taxes imposed on already-stressed individuals. But it's not good enough.

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Marketing Monopolies

If you think about it, and it needn't take too much of your time to do so, it was a sound and intelligent arrangement. For a micro-brewery to enlist the assistance of Operation Come Home, an Ottawa charity whose function it is to assist homeless young people - in deliveries of the brewery's product. Of course, those who made this agreement more or less 'forgot' Ontario law which forbids clients from purchasing directly from the source.

There is a provincial monopoly on the sale of both hard liquor and wines, and beer products. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has established by law its retail outlets through which all such products are sold. Harking back to the unlamented days of prohibition and the state solution of government control of such products, which could then be controlled, taxed and sold through government sources.

More than a trifle outdated, to say the least. But it is still the law. Under the Liquor Licence Act. Which, as a matter of provincial law, requires delivery services or individuals to purchase liquor products, whether wine, beer or spirits from the LCBO outlets or The Beer Store outlets, owned and operated by that very same Liquor Control Board.

So that when Micro brewery Beau's beer, a specialty brew, contracted with the charitable group that it would receive a good portion of the delivery price for its program, it was turned in to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario by a competitor for unfair and illegal practises.

As it happens, Beau's specialty beer selections are not very well represented at the LCBO, and this partnership had the potential of enlarging their business as well as profiting the charitable enterprise, and helping young people, in the process gain some work experience along with dignity and modest earnings potential.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario took immediate steps to shut down the newly-launched delivery service. In one foul swoop, cutting off potential earnings for young homeless kids looking for employment, and charitable funds for a private group looking out for their interests, along with the brewery that came up with such an enterprising solution.

The service was to have profited Operation Come Home by $8.25 of every $15 delivery order. Operation Come Home's venture into business profitability to assist in their charitable work was put to an immediate stop. But, it seems, perhaps a little common sense may yet prevail. It would appear that word of the imbroglio has reached the ears of Premier Dalton McGuinty.

And it is just possible that he may see the practicality of altering a law that has grown hoary with monopolistic use and abuse.

"We're in the process of looking at the legislation now and the wording of it to determine how we can make some changes to make sure that this great initiative continues to move forward", said a Liberal MPP representing the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, where Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. is located.

Here's hoping...logic and practical necessity coincide to produce a workable solution.

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Me, An Opportunist? - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Monday, 28 November, 2011


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Monday, November 28, 2011


Not that long after Barack Obama became President of the United States he was faced with a situation that seemed to highlight the uneasy divisions between black and white in his country. A well-known academic who just happened to be black, entered his home at night, by means certainly devious if they had been employed by anyone other than the homeowner.

Professor Henry Louis Gates
and Sgt. James Crowley

Henry Gates, a professor at Harvard University, had just returned to Cambridge after an international trip, to discover his front door was jammed shut. He attempted to force it open. Someone witnessed this, calling police to report a burglary in progress. Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley responded, did not believe Professor Gates' explanation that this was his own home, and charged him with disorderly conduct.

In the ensuing public melee when the incident was reported, President Obama became involved, implying that the incident was an example of racial profiling, and a national debate resulted over whether this represented a legitimate charge. Eventually the charge against Professor Gates was dropped, both he and the arresting officer who was chagrined and insulted that he might be thought of as a racist, were invited to have an informal chat with President Obama over a shared beer.

The incident was an unfortunate one. Many people find themselves locked out of their homes. And they seek means by which they can effect entry that may include trying to open a basement window to slide into the house, or breaking a window to unlock a door, or accessing a ladder from a neighbour to climb to an open second-story window. This incident occurred at night in an otherwise-quiet neighbourhood; it could have happened anywhere, to anyone.

It was embarrassing, all the more so as it gained national attention. In the end, however, the public discussion settled down, and both the arresting officer and the taken-aback professor marked it as a life experience, one they might far preferred to have missed. It might have had far more serious consequences, improbable as that might seem, for the relatively simple and innocent act of attempting ingress to a home of one's own.

It certainly turned out extremely ill for one man, whose home was in Windsor, Ontario, when he found himself locked out of his house. Forty-nine-year-old Reeve Cuerrier, attempted to clamber through a second storey window next to a porch in the backyard of his home. He managed to get his feet and his torso through the window, and must have thought he was 'home-free', and had succeeded in his initiative.

What happened next certainly proved him wrong, and proved also that we never know what comes next. The window slammed down on his chest. And the impact somehow took his life. The man was trapped, incredibly, fatally, within the frame of the window. A call was placed to police when someone in a nearby building looked out on the scene. But when police arrived the man was dead.

And the cause was listed as misadventure, awaiting a post-mortem.

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Canine Persons - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer


Oh, I am going to make some people very angry at me, but I truly do not care...


Why do I think this?

Because I have seen, felt, sensed, experienced that dogs are capable of and do deploy immense intelligence - intelligence that can match and better the capability of many a human.

Because I see the facial expressions of dogs...smiling, happy, depressed, fearful.

'Tasha' my Aussie is smiling!

Because I have seen and experienced my dogs when they are dreaming and when they are having nightmares…just a gentle word from me - their human mom - and the nightmare stops.

Because I have seen and experienced that they could, can and do teach me things about myself and about others that no human ever took the time to teach me.

Because I have seen and experienced that they do grieve, they do care, they do each have their own unique personalities. They do know right from wrong, they are not cruel, they are always ready to do better, they do not hold grudges.

Because I have seen and experienced that they help others without the motivation of monetary reward or any other reward other than wanting to please and just be themselves.

BECAUSE I ASSIGN AS MUCH WORTH TO A DOG AS I DO TO A HUMAN...and sometimes more...depends on the human!

Because when a human takes a dog’s life away through neglect, abuse - cruelty, it is no different to me than taking a human’s life away.

Tasha and Carmen

All dogs have so much that they are willing to share with humanity.

If we are willing to open our minds to see, we can learn so much from them about ourselves. They can help us be more aware of our own behaviour and give us a second chance to grow into better, wiser and happier individuals. When you help a dog it is not just the dog that gets a second lease on life and a new is also the human.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ikea's Manipulative Success

Free advertising and huge public notice is always good news for any commercial enterprise. Although it hardly seems that this particular global commercial enterprise needs any assistance from the local independent media. Their own public relations and what they pay up front for advertising is more than capable of addressing the !exciting! issue of a huge new warehouse-market for Ikea products about to open locally - my goodness, what impeccable timing - before Christmas.

The Swedish mega-marketer that has established a giant marketing foothold on the global market and is such a favourite of householders and university students for their much-vaunted frugal, simply-designed, functional furniture and household accoutrements seems to appear on everyone's top list of shopping experiences. Oh well, that should be corrected: not everyone's.

Certainly not my family's. There isn't much about this vendor of Swedish-inspired goods that I find personally attractive. Their cute habit of naming each and every object may seem inspired to some, but it's gag-inducing to me. The conformity of their straight-design (some, inspired by turning a sow's ear into a silk purse, consider the design, 'sleek', and 'elegant', which says much for their aesthetic sense) is boring.

The new store will comprise 398,000-square feet in size; a temple to showcase the mediocre design and inexpensive construction of goods. Remember Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer being clever enough to entice other kids to believe his wily assertion that fence-painting is not as tedious as it looks, but is actually a lot of fun? This wry and absurd poke at the intelligence of some and the naivete of others is an instructive tool.

One that Ikea uses to their advantage. Manufacturing knock-down components which the purchaser must labour to assemble, even simple as the designs are, enables the manufacturer to save in the manufacture, assembly and in shipping and packaging costs. Which they are able to convince shoppers represents a huge bonus for them, in buying cheap and having a hand in the construction of their acquisitions.

The very worst excess of their ability to manipulate is the manner in which they teach people to react like sheep whom a working sheep dog channels into a specific routine to manage the flock. In this case, Ikea uses the huge labyrinthine warehouses (cheap construction there, too) in which their products are showcased and sold from (arrange your own delivery) to use directional corridors to herd people through the store before they are able to escape its confines.

Counting on people viewing other merchandise on their long and tortuous way out of the warehouse on their way to eventually reaching the cash and check-outs, to select from among other objects that are placed to entice shoppers' well-honed acquisition-instinct, and maximizing Ikea's profits.

The racks inside the IKEA warehouse.
The racks inside the IKEA warehouse. Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen

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Dawgs Chewing Grass - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Wednesday, 23 November, 2011


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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Religion of Polygamy

Well, although not everyone is completely satisfied by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman's 300-+-page carefully-considered explication in defence of his ruling in defence of Canada's polygamy law, as opposed to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing freedom of religion, it does represent a logical decision, one that reflects Canadian values.

There has been a slow erosion of such values with the introduction through immigration of people coming from sources in Africa and the Middle East, knowingly introducing 'extended family' members such as purported cousins or sisters or other relatives to the country, who are in actual fact, part of a polygamous family situation.

Islam does permit a man to marry multiple wives. And although Islam also decrees that such men should take on the responsibility of extending their families through additional wives and children with the proviso that the men must be able to afford to support such large families, it has been seen that men gravitate to the multiple-wife attraction and disregard the affordability nuisance.

Living in Canada, those who practise polygamy have learned to hide it, and in some instances, to manipulate the system of public services such as welfare, to fund separate living quarters for disparate wives and children. But of course, pre-dating the more recent incursion of Muslim polygamous relationships there has been the fundamentalist Mormon sect in British Columbia.

Which, although the parent Mormon Church set aside polygamy as socially inappropriate in the 19th Century, a few offshoots have embraced it. These are largely men who have pedophilic tendencies, men who enjoy dominating women, and who believe they have a right to acquire as many tender young wives as possible, fathering countless children in the process.

Young girls are victimized by their fathers being complicit in the process, offering them up for marriage as soon as they become nubile, and even before they can legally do so, to men far older than they are. These are the same fathers who themselves select for their sexual gratification other men's (who are loyal to the sect) daughters.

Although men like to feel that it is their divine right to own as many females as possible, women who are coerced through custom and their lives within a rigidly cultish, quasi-religious, isolated group, have little other yardsticks of normalcy to believe in, and they submit to the will of the patriarchy. Living their cloistered, abnormal lives.

For many, fear and loathing results. Fear of the oppressive lives they live, loathing of other female contestants for the attention of a sole husband and father to the many children that result. And the young boys who grow to maturity and who represent as potential suitors for the young girls as would occur in a normal society, discover that they are persona non grata.
"Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychical harm. They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse. Early marriage for girls is common, frequently to significantly older men. The resultant early sexual activity, pregnancies and childbirth have negative implications for girls, and also significantly limit their socio-economic development."
Polygamy is an offence against social normalcy, against the normal maturation of the genders and their relationships. It represents an insult to the concept of gender equality. It is, above all, an offence against the children that result from these abnormal alliances, who grow up into a predestined lifestyle that curtails their most basic human rights.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman's ruling firmly set aside the notion that polygamy represents a perquisite of permissibility through religious right. It was the only decision he could have reached morally and in recognition of Canadian human rights values.

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Puppy, Stop Chewing! Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Tuesday, 22 November, 2011



Puppies, just like human babies, get itchy sore gums when their teeth are growing in. Chewing also helps to remove loss teeth (which can be very uncomfortable) so adult teeth can grow in. You can provide a few seconds of temporary relief by rubbing your puppy's gums; this is also a great way to build puppy's trust in you! Make sure puppy has safe items of his own to chew.

Teenage and Adult Dogs
It is normal for a dog to chew - chewing is a dog's way of gaining and maintaining strength in its jaw - essential to survival! Depending on what they are chewing on, chewing can also help keep a dog's teeth healthy and clean.

An anxious dog may chew to expend some of it'\s anxious energy. To resolve this type of chewing you must understand, address and cure the root of the anxiety.

A dog may chew as an outlet to expend unspent energy. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise on a daily basis. Unspent energy can lead to frustration, anxiety and reactivity, along with aggressive behavior.

Remember that we do not always learn or choose to do as we are asked to do the first time either! Dogs are intelligent, they have a mind, will and personality of their own - just as humans do. Shift your expectations to understand that they are independent, intelligent and very sensitive beings who require coaching and mentoring by a leader, not a dominator. And by the way, dogs do not like hypocrisy any more than humans if you yell, get angry, get frustrated - you loose your audience.

Robbie chewing a stick on the trail

Punishing a dog for chewing on an object (irregardless of whether the dog is anxious, or just does not know any better) is akin to severely reprimanding a person who is trying to learn a new skill and does not get it quite right. Once burned, twice shy...aggressive correction takes away a person's confidence to move forward and can cause psychological harm. It is exactly the same for a dog!

As guardians to our dogs it is our role to coach and mentor our dogs - to teach with patience and understanding - not with tension, frustration and anger. When we attempt to instruct a dog and we are not calm, confident, firm and fair we are setting the dog up for failure. Instead, when we correct and follow-through with calm confidence, we are providing the dog with the information it requires to make better choices.

So if your dog is chewing something you do not want it to chew...
One - Make sure you are calm (without excess emotion),and ready to coach with fair, firm confidence. Don't be aggressive, don't raise your voice in anger.
Two - Lead...addressing from a distance is not leadership - calmly, but with assurance, get up and walk over to your dog.
Three - get your dog's attention; you can touch your dog firmly but quickly with your fingers - at its neck or waist; you can snap your fingers and say 'hey' firmly, but not with anger. Never touch or talk in anger as you then lead by the wrong example!
Four - Tell your dog what you want: i.e. 'no, don't touch' and then say 'leave it'. I have ten dogs - different breeds, from tiny to large - they all understand this type of do the dogs I work with for my clients.
Five - Tell your dog what you would like it to do instead: i.e. 'go sit down' etc.
Six - Follow through...if your dog goes back to the object and starts to chew again - don't get angry, simply correct as per the steps above.
Seven - Depending on the circumstances, as a final step to this process, you may want to offer your dog something that is safe and acceptable for it to chew.

Jordie chewing rawhide

Providing your dog with the right things to chew ensures that this need is met in a safe and healthy way. Dogs that are in a balanced state of being are unlikely to chew other items such as your shoes or your hands if they have safe, durable chew toys and rawhide. The same toys and rawhide can also help to keep your dog's teeth clean.

The basket shown above contains some of my packs' chew toys. The pink, orange, red and blue chew toys are soft, durable and non-toxic; they also make a squeaky noise when chomped on at the right place. Kongs are another very popular dog chew toy. Even the smaller parts on these toys cannot be chewed off - these are chew toys that the dogs can have unsupervised.

The pink toy is Sarah's favourite. If I ask Sarah "where's your Piggy?", she will go get this toy and bring it to me. If she has lost her piggy under one of the couches (when she tosses it in the air it often ends up rolling under), she will show me which couch and where along the length of the couch the Piggy is.

The blue two-tone bone and the orange ball with feet are Buddy's favourites.

The various types of rawhide shown in the basket are all natural rawhide (no chemical flavour additives or food colouring). These are only given to the dogs when I am around to supervise.

It is very important that rawhide be given to dogs only when you are around to supervise.
Some dogs are really good about taking their time to chew properly and others are not so cautious and will not chew the entire rawhide properly. They will attempt to swallow larger pieces. These pieces can become lodged in the dog’s throat and cut off their air supply. Most of my dogs are careful, but Robbie is a repeat offender. There have been occasions when I have had to put my hand down his throat to remove a good size piece of rawhide.

As an added and nutritious treat, I put natural peanut butter on their rawhide.
nutrients in the peanut butter are good for them. The peanut butter also encourages them to take their time and lick the rawhide, helping to soften it before they chew. I choose natural peanut butter as the only ingredient in it, is peanuts. Other peanut butters include sugar and salt - ingredients that are not so good for your dog.

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