These being the "dog days of summer" and all - OK, technically they're over; according to space.com, the "dog days" are defined as the period from July 3 through Aug. 11 when the Dog Star, Sirius, rises in conjunction with the sun (cue the Fifth Dimension's "Age of Aquarius") - I decided to take the concept quite literally, and regale you with dog trivia - some useful, some interesting, and some downright astounding.
Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic (from First Class cabins, of course) – two Pomeranians and one Pekingese.
Dogs curl up in a ball when they sleep due to an age-old instinct to keep themselves warm and protect their abdomen and vital organs from predators.
Two stray dogs in Afghanistan saved 50 American soldiers. A Facebook group raised $21,000 to bring the dogs back to the US and reunite them with the soldiers.
Some stray dogs have in Russia figured out how to use the subway system in order to travel to more populated areas in search of food.
In ancient China, an emperor’s last line of defense was a small Pekingese dog literally hidden up his sleeve.
Tiger Woods stuttered as a child and used to talk to his dog until he fell asleep in an effort to get rid of it.
Baks the blind boxer has a seeing eye goose named Buttons. Buttons the four-year-old goose leads her pup everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go.
In 1860′s San Francisco, two stray dogs who were best friends became local celebrities. Their exploits were celebrated in local papers and they were granted immunity from the city’s dog catchers.
One of Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs, Leo, went on to be a therapy dog for dying children.
Naki’o, lost all of his legs to frostbite in Colorado, but now has four prosthetic legs and can run around like normal.
Dogs are capable of: understanding up to 250 words and gestures, counting up to five, and performing simple mathematical calculations. The average dog is as intelligent as a two-year-old child and most politicians....OK, I made up the politician thing, but if the shoe fits....
You have been officially alerted....
The world, and perhaps most of all his fellow Boomers, were shocked by the very disturbing news that Robin Williams was found dead in his CA home on Monday, killed by his own hand.
He was a diagnosed bi-polar, also know as manic-depression. We loved his manic phases on which his extraordinary comedic capacities were built...he channeled them exceedingly well.
It was the deep depressions that were his final undoing, coupled with rampant drug & cocaine use (typical for manic-depressives), capped by those close to him ignoring numerous & clear signs of his significantly worsening behavioral changes.
So, how is this a warning for all Boomers?
According to Psychology Today, the age-adjusted spike in death by suicide, which grew in the US by 30% over the past decade, has been particularly concentrated among middle-aged Americans - age-adjusted death rate from suicide grew by more than 11% between 2006 and 2011, even as the overall death rate from all causes fell by 16%;
to put this in some perspective, more Americans now die from suicide than from car accidents.
There are many reasons for a steady rise in suicide rates among Boomers: We've been socked in the gut a few times over the past 6 years, from huge losses to our retirement portfolios in the Great Recession, to blatant age discrimination in the job market working against Boomers seeking employment after massive lay-offs (usually of Boomers who tend to be the highest paid employees due to their workplace longevity and high-end skill sets). That's on top of those of us with undiagnosed or poorly treated mental illness.
I'm telling you all this not to ensure a lousy rest of the day after reading this, but because, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a combination of awareness, support, and advocacy can help save lives.
This week, Forbes provided a short list of the tactics that experts advocate... they are:
You have been sadly, but officially alerted....
For more information on suicide prevention and mental illness:
(Note: one or two of these will be enjoyed more by our Northern than our Florida listeners...but Floridian transplants do still remember...)
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
“It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do”
“In summer the empire of insects spreads”
“Summer is the season when the air pollution is much warmer”
“I wonder what the blood alcohol level is of all these mosquitos that keep biting me?”
“A man says a lot of things in summer he doesn’t mean in winter.”
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
“Summer should get a speeding ticket”
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