Tag Archives: National Geographic

When Dogs Fly

1 Jun

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National Geographic has released a wild preview of When Dogs Fly, an independent short film about extreme athlete Dean Potter and his “little family’s vacation in the Swiss Alps.” The preview shows Dean wingsuit BASE jumping with his 22-pound mini Australian cattle dog named Whisper. You can learn more about their high-flying adventures on National Geographic’s Adventure blog.

I’ve never had a close call wing-suit flying. I practice a very conservative form of human flight. When I fly with Whisper, we only jump off the safest cliffs in the world with the longest and cleanest rock drops. This allows Whisper to go on amazing, long mountain climbs and hikes with us, instead of being trapped in the car or left at home. It was mostly a matter of practicality of not wanting Whisper to miss out on incredible mountain dog-walks that led us to wing-suit flying together.

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Military Dogs Save Lives and Bravely Lead the Way to War

27 May

While dogs have always been a popular subject to write about, because of their warmth and gentleness, they’re not often regarded as the bravest of animals. Then again, not many dogs can be combat canines, leading the way to war. In National Geographic magazine’s June issue, the cover story is called Hero Dogs, A Soldier’s Best Friend. Layka, the proud dog featured on the cover, was recently recognized by an Air Force unit for her heroics in Afghanistan. The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois was dispatched to inspect a building for explosives and search for enemy combatants. She was ambushed, receiving several gunshot wounds to the abdomen and right front leg. Despite being gravely wounded, she protected the lives of her team by attacking and subduing the assailant. Though she did not pass away, her injuries were so severe, that doctors had to amputate one of her legs.”What these dogs do, day in and day out, is phenomenal. They do save lives. Layka was shot and still attacked the person shooting her. She’s been through a lot, and what she did is nothing less than heroic,” stated Maj. Jason Harris, 341st TRS commander who presented Layka with a medal of heroism. You can read more inspiring stories of war dogs at National Geographic. Here are a few excerpts:”At the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military had a force of roughly 2,500 military working dogs (MWDs). Some have entered our national lexicon as heroes in their own right…”This age-old bond between man and dog is the essence of our fascination with these teams: The human reliance on superior animal senses—dogs are up to 100,000 times more alert to smells than humans are. The seriousness of the serviceman’s endeavor, in contrast to the dog’s heedless joy at being on the hunt or at play. The selflessness and loyalty of handler and dog in putting themselves in harm’s way—one wittingly and one unwittingly—to save lives.”
Above: Marine Cpl. John Dolezal poses with Cchaz, a Belgian Malinois, at Twentynine Palms in California. Dogs bred at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the military’s primary canine facility, are given names that begin with a double letter.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kristopher Knight conditions Ronnie to the sound of gunfire at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, so that the dog will learn to remain calm during firefight. Some trainers don turbans, play calls to prayer, and bring in farm animals to prepare dogs for the sights, sounds, and smells of Afghanistan.


Sergeant Cartwright has Isaac sniff for weapons and explosives in a basement in Kandahar. A dog is trained to sit or lie down and not bark when it locates a target scent. The handler rewards the dog by letting it chew on its toy.


Army Staff Sgt. Jason Cartwright bonds with his Labrador retriever, Isaac, during a mission to disrupt a Taliban supply route. Dogs are very sensitive to their handlers’ emotions. Says Jay Crafter, a trainer for the military, “If you’re having a bad day, your dog is going to have a bad day.”


Sergeant Bourgeois clips Oopey’s toenails before a mission in Afghanistan. Handlers care for their dogs’ every need, learning canine CPR as well as how to spot canine post-traumatic stress disorder, which afflicts some 5 percent of deployed dogs.


Eliana and Jose Armenta relax with their Boston terriers, Oreo and Sassy, and their German shepherd, Zenit. A retired Marine dog handler, Jose lost his legs in an IED blast while on patrol with Zenit. In 2012 he adopted Zenit. “Dogs complete our family,” he says, a family soon to include a baby.


National Geographic website
Photo credit: © Adam Ferguson/National Geographic

(Via: My Modern Metropolis)

The unlikely friendship between an orangutan and a dog.

2 Oct

They make an unlikely duo. But after meeting at a reserve for endangered animals, Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the Bluetick hound have become inseparable. And now the pals have released a picture book capturing their unorthodox friendship. The best friends were besieged by young fans as they held their own signing for the new release at a bookstore in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Best of friends: Suryia the Orangutan and Roscoe the dog at their book signing

Best of friends: Suryia the Orangutan and Roscoe the dog at their book signing

Smile for the camera: But I do wonder if Cheetah and Rin Tin Tin got bored with book signings too?

Smile for the camera: But I do wonder if Cheetah and Rin Tin Tin got bored with book signings too?

A proper nana: Actually, I'd prefer something with a bit more pedigree, chum.

A proper nana: Actually, I’d prefer something with a bit more pedigree, chum.

Entitled Suryia And Roscoe, the book shows the pair enjoying each other’s company at the South Carolina wildlife reserve where they met. In one photo, a stubborn Roscoe refuses to eat a banana offered by his friend. Another shows Suryia in a life jacket closely watching over Roscoe as he goes for a doggie-paddle. And, as if posing for holiday snaps, they are also captured taking walks through the gardens and posing in front of an elephant. The friends have garnered worldwide media attention, appearing in the National Geographic magazine and on the Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres shows in the U.S. They met four years ago when Roscoe followed staff from The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in Myrtle Beach as they walked home. He was immediately spotted by the orangutan, who ambled over to make friends. Dr Bhagavan Antle, the reserve’s founder, said: ‘Roscoe looked really thin and a little lost so we fed him and took care of him. ‘He followed us through the gate and ran over and found Suryia. As soon as he saw Roscoe, Suryia ran over to him and they started playing.

‘Dogs are usually scared of primates, but they took to each other straight away. We made a few calls to see if he belonged to anyone and when no one came forward, Roscoe ended up staying.’

Prime mates: Thanks to you, I'll always have a woof over my head.

Prime mates: Thanks to you, I’ll always have a woof over my head.

Your future's orange: Yes, I'd say our friendship has been a howling success.

Your future’s orange: Yes, I’d say our friendship has been a howling success.

The Jungle Book: I've a feeling that this story has a happy ending.

The Jungle Book: I’ve a feeling that this story has a happy ending.

Suryia And Roscoe, by Dr Antle, Thea Feldman and photographer Barry Bland

(Via: Daily Mail Online)

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