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Tag: nova

Nova’s “Dogs Decoded” airs tonight

The amazing and still evolving relationship between dogs and humans is the subject of “Dogs Decoded,” a NOVA episode that airs tonight.

The program looks at how dogs — domesticated for longer than any other animal on the planet — have come to understand us in a way other animals cannot, how they can read our emotions, how that relationhip evolved and where it might lead.

“Dogs Decoded” investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs — with revealing implications for the evolution of human culture as well. It visits Siberia, where the mystery of dogs’ domestication is being repeated in foxes. A 50-year-old breeding program is creating an entirely new kind of creature, a tame fox with some surprising similarities to man’s best friend.

The episode reveals the science behind the bond between humans and their dogs, and it spurs new questions about what this could mean for our rela­tionships with other animal species.

Among the questions the episode explores are why dogs bark, when their predecessors, wolves, didn’t, and whether it’s a behavior that evolved so they could communicate with humans; why a hormone that humans release at birth to bond mother to baby is also released when humans interact with dogs, bonding us not just emotionally, but biologically; what makes dogs able to understand social cues, like pointing, that other animals cannot; and what clues dog DNA might hold to understanding the genetic causes of certain diseases.

Australian bomb-sniffing dog laid to rest

novaAustralian soldiers in Afghanistan bid farewell to Nova, a mixed breed dog from a shelter who was trained to detect bombs.

Nova died after a car accident during a training operation at Camp Holland on Friday, according to the Courier Mail

The two-year-old dog was involved in several missions in Afghanistan, helping to sniff out improvised explosive devices placed by Taliban insurgents.

Medics tried to save Nova but her wounds were too severe and she was put down by the regimental medical officer. Base personnel later gathered with their chaplain to say farewell to their four-legged mate, who will be cremated.

Several other Australian Army explosive-detection dogs have been killed or injured in Afghanistan over the past two years, including Merlin and Andy, both killed in vehicle accidents, and Razz, who was killed when a bomb he found detonated.

(Photo: Nova and her handler Spr. Reuben Griggs/AAP)

NOVADog magazine debuts

A new magazine, devoted to dogs and dog owners in Northern Virginia and metro DC, has hit the newstands.

NOVADog Magazine will be published quarterly, and subscriptions are $17 a year, but if you input coupon code “NOVAD2″ at checkout, you can bring it down to $16.

Regular features will include “Destinations” to take your pooch, “Eco Dog” for Earth Friendly dog products, “Expert Advice”, “The Source” which details must-have products and local news, “The Scene” featuring local dogs, “Hit the Trail” for great dog-friendly hikes, and “Wags to Riches” with heart-warming adoption tales and more.

The Winter 2009 issue has articles on why visiting Mount Vernon with your dog should be on your to-do list this winter, an insider’s hiking guide to Scott’s Run Nature Preserve and a winter calendar of upcoming doggie events.