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Tag: mexico

Dog burial site dates to Aztec times

burialsite

A dog cemetery that goes back to Aztec times has been uncovered beneath an old apartment building in Mexico City.

Archaeologists announced the discovery Friday and said that — while the remains of dogs have been found in Aztec ruins before — this is the first time a group of dogs has been found buried together at one site.

The 12 dogs were buried around the same time in a small pit between 1350 a 1520 A.D., according to the Associated Press.

Aztecs believed dogs could guide human souls into a new life after death, and it was not uncommon for dogs to be buried under monuments under the thinking their spirits would provide protection.

The team of archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried through ceramics and other items found in nearby pits under the apartment building in the populous Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco.

Archaeologist Rocio Morales Sanchez said digging deeper could help reveal why the dogs were buried there.

Experts with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, called the find “exceptional.”

Archaeologist Antonio Zamora, who works at the excavation site, said a biologist told the team the remains belonged to medium-sized dogs, likely Techichi dogs, a breed believed to be an ancestor of the Chihuahua, and Xoloitzcuintlis.

(Photo: Courtesy of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History)

Airline loses stray dog rescued in Mexico

A Canadian couple fell in love on their vacation in Mexico — with a stray dog.

Josiah Allen and Erin Docking were sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallarta when the small white dog came up, sat down next to them and stayed all day long.

By the time their 10-day vacation ended, the couple had determined to take the dog, who they’d named Paco, back to Canada.

They filled out paperwork, took him to a veterinarian for treatment of an eye infection and tick infestation, and paid to get him the necessary shots.

But on their flight home, Delta Airlines somehow lost the dog, the Detroit News reported.

On May 3, the couple placed Paco in a pet carrier and flew from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City. At the airport there, they ran into trouble getting approval for Paco to fly to Detroit. Airline officials questioned whether the carrier was large enough for Paco but approved him for the flight once Allen signed a waiver protecting Delta from any claims if the dog was injured.

When Allen and Docking arrived in Detroit,  Paco was nowhere to be found.

“After waiting around for two hours, they told us (Paco) was in Mexico City and would be flown in on the next flight,” said Allen, 19, a kinesiology student at the University of Waterloo.

But Paco –  described as a mix between a “wiener dog and a Jack Russell terrier” — didn’t arrive the next day, and hasn’t since.

After Allen went public with the story, Delta officials called and offered to cover the expenses he’d incurred with Paco and throw in some extra cash, Allen said.

“Our staff has conducted exhaustive searches to locate the dog,” Delta officials said in a statement. “We have been in contact with the dog’s owner to inform them of the situation and to offer our sincere apologies that we have been unable to recover the dog…”

Some reports say Paco broke out of his cage at the airport and ran away — meaning he may once again be a stray, only this time in Mexico City rather than Puerto Vallarta.

Dogs from around the world headed to Haiti

Dogs from New York City and around the world are being sent to help in the search and recovery effort in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The U.S. government is sending two, 72-man search and rescue teams with dogs to help dig out survivors, said Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Business Week reports.

French teams with “sniffer dogs” were seen boarding vans yesterday, headed to the airport on their way to Haiti. China dispatched a chartered plane containing multiple sniffer dogs and 10 tons of tents, food and medical equipment. A team from the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations left Moscow, also bound for Haiti, Discovery News reports.

Elsewhere, dogs were departing from Peru, Taiwan, Mexico and Britain, where a 64-member team, including dogs and handlers was en route.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has sent at least six dog-and-handler teams have been sent to Haiti.

“Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Haiti, and we’re honored to be able to help find survivors of this terrible tragedy,” NDSDF executive director Debra Tosch said. “This is the day that our teams have trained for; when the unthinkable happens, SDF Teams stand ready to respond, bringing hope and comfort to victims and their loved ones.”

Hailing Cesar: Times looks at Millan’s empire

cesarmillan

 
With “The Dog Whisperer” starting its sixth season, his new magazine hitting the stands last month and his fourth book going on sale, the New York Times Saturday took a long and mostly complimentary look at Cesar Millan and the empire he has built since crossing the border illegally 20 years ago.

Proclaiming him a “cultural icon”  the article recounts how the once-penniless native of Culiacán, Mexico (he became a U.S. citizen this year), became a dog trainer to the stars, then the world.

One of his first clients was Jada Pinkett (before she added the Smith) who in the early 1990′s was 20 and starring in a television sitcom. Millan helped Pinkett take control of her four Rottweilers, and they went on to become friends. When Millan told her he wanted to be on TV, the article says, she told him he wasn’t ready, and needed to study English.

Pinkett and Will Smith started recommending Mr. Millan to friends in the entertainment industry, starting with director Michael Bay, who needed help controlling his 230-pound mastiff, Mason. He’d later go to the aid of  Oprah Winfrey, former Disney chief Michael D. Eisner and director Ridley Scott, among others.

In addition to books, a magazine and a television show, Millan and his wife, Ilusion, runs Cesar Millan Inc., a constellation of businesses that coordinates Millan’s speaking engagements and executive leadership seminars;, and puts out a line of products including DVD’s, collars, organic dog food, fortified water, shampoos and toys. His website, cesarmillaninc.com, grosses annual sales in the mid-seven figures, according to a company spokesman.

The Times article devotes only one paragraph — tssst! – to the debate over Millan’s macho leader of the pack techniques:

Not everyone agrees with Mr. Millan’s methods. “Positivist” trainers like Ian Dunbar reject the idea that a submissive dog is a happy dog. Mr. Dunbar advocates treating dogs as companions, not followers. While Mr. Millan uses his hand like a mother dog uses her mouth — to nudge dogs to behave — Mr. Dunbar shuns physical corrections and relies instead on treats and rewards.

Despite any controversy, Millan’s fame and empire are only expected to grow.  This summer, the National Geographic Channel struck a deal with Fox to syndicate “Dog Whisperer” next fall.

(Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

Framed: Dog detects marijuana in artworks

Eye-catching as the paintings might have been, it was their frames that caught the nose of a U.S. Customs drug-sniffing dog on the Mexico-Arizona border.

Federal officials say a man was taken into custody Friday after Customs and Border Protection officers found 90 pounds of marijuana hidden in the frames of six large paintings in his vehicle.

Officers selected the man’s vehicle for a routine inspection Friday at the border crossing in Douglas, Ariz., and their dog alerted to the paintings. An X-ray revealed the marijuana in the frames.

The man was being held pending the filing of charges, according to an Associated Press report.

The agency says the paintings were professionally done and the frames were nicely constructed.

Raise your right paw and repeat after me

Cesar Millan — star of the National Geographic Channel series “Dog Whisperer” — took the oath last week and is now an official U.S. citizen.

Millan, who passed his citizenship test earlier this year, attended a swearing in ceremony Thursday morning with dozens of others in Montebello, Calif., just north of Los Angeles.

Millan was joined by his wife Ilusion and two sons, Andre and Calvin, who attended to cheer him on (they are already U.S. citizens).

“This is the ultimate culmination of living the American dream,” said Millan. “Becoming an U.S. citizen has been a goal of mine since I first came to this great country. I have much to thank this country for, and all of the success it has afforded me and my family, and now I am proud to be a citizen.”

Millan, who shot to fame in 2003 when his series premiered on the National Geographic Channel, was born in Mexico, where his talent for rehabilitating dogs was developed on his grandfather’s farm.

He chronicles his childhood in Mexico and how he crossed the border as a young man in his first best-selling book “Cesar’s Way.” He has been a legal resident of the United States since 2000.

(Photo by Ray Mickshaw, courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

Documentary looks at Mexican street dogs

Although it’s winning all sorts of acclaim, “Companions to None,” a Texas documentary-maker’s unflinching look at the lives (and deaths) of Mexican street dogs, is being spurned by most networks, even Animal Planet.

The film — the first full-length documentary from Dallas-based director Bill Buchanan — was screened over the weekend at La Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City.

The documentary looks at the overpopulation of stray dogs in Mexico (they outnumber humans in some regions) and the macho culture that perpetuates it. One reason Mexicans are reluctant to sterilize their male dogs, Buchanan says, is their belief that it will make a dog “gay.”

Buchanan’s movie captures some harsh realities — from electrocution of dogs (the common method of euthanasia) to the often brutal treatment they face living on the streets.

Buchanan, according to a blog entry by the Los Angeles Times Mexico City correspondent, has faced problems finding a home for the film. Buchanan said American networks such as Animal Planet, Discovery and HBO passed on broadcasting it.

For more information about the documentary, visit its website.

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