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Tag: doberman pinschers

Doggie OCD may provide clues for humans

Scientists studying compulsive behaviors in Doberman pinschers have located a gene they believe is associated with OCD — a finding that could lead to pinpointing a genetic source of obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans.

In dogs, compulsive behavior includes tail chasing, licking their legs until they develop infections, and pacing and circling — canine versions, perhaps, of repeated hand washing and other behaviors displayed by the 2.2 million Americans estimated to be affected by the disorder.

The Doberman study was done by researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and the Broad Institute, according to the Boston Globe.

Scientists took samples from 92 Doberman pinschers that displayed compulsive behavior. Dogs with the disorder compulsively suck their flanks or blankets. Researchers also used samples from 68 normal dogs, and did a genome-wide scan, searching for spots that varied between the two samples.

They found a genetic hot spot in dogs with the compulsive behavior — within in a gene called Cadherin 2, known to be active in the brain and in a family of genes recently implicated in autism.

Dr. Dennis Murphy, a laboratory chief in the National Institute of Mental Health, said he is working to follow the research by studying the same gene in more than 300 human patients with OCD, 400 of their relatives, and about 600 people without OCD.

“Identifying a specific gene that could be a candidate gene for a complex disorder like OCD is a gift to have,’’ Murphy said. “This might be a quick route in to a meaningful gene that just could be involved in the human disorder, as well.’’

NYC bans pits, large dogs from public housing

New York’s Housing Authority has managed to discriminate against dogs and poor people — all in one vast, over-reaching swoop.

Effective today, pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers are banned from all city housing projects. 

“Finally someone is realizing that these potentially dangerous animals have no place in a confined urban space,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens), who has unsuccessfully lobbied state legislators to ban the dogs.

The new Housing Authority regulations also bar residents from owning any dog over 25 pounds; previously the limit was 40 pounds. (Housing Authority residents who already have the breeds will be able to keep them as long as they register by today.)

City housing officials said residents urged them to ban the dogs because they are vicious and threatening, the New York Daily News reports. But dog lovers who have pit bulls and the other targeted pooches are upset.

“He’s my baby,” Jose Hernandez, 32, who lives in the Lillian Wald Houses on the lower East Side, said of his 6-year-old pit bull, Chopper. “These are not bad dogs.”

The ASPCA and other groups opposed to the ban have been working with the city housing agency to ease some of the restrictions. “We are opposed to breed-specific bans,” said Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA senior manager of advocacy and campaigns. “And we find the weight restriction is too oppressive.”

Stubby’s tale: When pit bulls were heroes

Given the Pentagon’s decision to ban pit bulls and other “dangerous” dog breeds from Army housing, we thought it would be a good time to revisit Stubby, the stray pit bull who became the most decorated canine soldier of World War 1.

At war’s end, Stubby was treated like a hero. Doors were opened for him, as opposed to being slammed in his face. Today, in light of a recently approved Pentagon policy, soldiers returning home — if they have a pit bull, Rottweiler, chow or Doberman Pinscher in their family — won’t be allowed to keep them if they live on a military base. (Thanks for fighting for our “freedom,” though.)

It’s just the latest breed-specific slap in the face to pit bulls, a breed that once served not just in battle (Stubby saw action in 17), but as corporate mascots (Nipper for RCA Victor) and TV show characters (Petey on “Our Gang”).

Stubby, though he entered the armed forces surreptitiously, was the only dog to be promoted to “Sergeant” through combat.

Stubby was found on the Yale campus — parts of which were being used as a training encampment — in 1917. He was taken in by John Robert Conroy and other soldiers, marched alongside them through training and, when time came to ship out to France, was smuggled aboard the USS Minnesota in an overcoat.

Overseas, he served as a morale-booster, sentry and more.

In April 1918, Stubby, along with the 102nd Infantry, participated in the raid on the German held town of Schieprey. As the Germans withdrew they threw hand grenades at the pursing allies, one of which wounded Stubby in the foreleg.

In the Argonne, Stubby was credited with ferreting out a German spy and holding on to the seat of his pants until soldiers arrived to complete the capture.

Stubby eventually ended up in a hospital when his master, Corporal J. Robert Conroy, was wounded. After doing hospital duty, he and Conroy returned to their unit, and served for the remainder of the way.

At war’s end, he was smuggled back home.

Upon his return, he was made a lifetime member of the American legion. He marched in every legion parade and attended every legion convention from the end of the war until his death. He met three presidents — Wilson, Harding and Coolidge.

In 1921 General Pershing, commander of American Forces during the War, awarded Stubby a gold hero dog’s medal that was commissioned by the Humane Education Society.

One New York City hotel, the Grand Hotel Majestic, lifted its ban on dogs so that Stubby could stay there enroute to one of many visits to Washington.

When Conroy went to Georgetown to study law, Stubby went along and served as mascot for the football team. Some say his halftime antics — he would push a football around the field with his nose — was the origin of the halftime show.

Stubby died in 1926. His obituary in the New York Times ran three columns wide for half a page.

His remains were mounted by a taxidermist and presented for display at the Smithsonian. From 2000 to 2003, he was loaned to the Connecticut National Guard Armory, where he was exhibited for three years.

All that history seems to be lost on the Pentagon — as does that of Rottweilers and Dobermans who have served the country, and continue to.

If remembering Stubby’s life isn’t enough to persuade the Pentagon that their action was rash, ill-conceived and discriminatory, then they should borrow from another chapter of his legacy, that being the last one:

They should take their new policy and stuff it.

(Photos and source material: Connecticut Military Department)