Tender at the Bone

Well, Tender at the Bone is admittedly the title of a book about food (if you love food and good writing as much as I do, this is a fantastic book by food critic Ruth Reichl), but I borrowed the phrase to continue our discussion about dental health and chewing on bones. If you haven't followed it yet, read the comments from my A Fully Functional Tooth? post, they add lots of meat to the conversation (sorry). A few readers asked for more photos from Africa, so I thought I'd combine topics and send some more pictures of our time with the pack of African Wild Dogs. Relevant to dental health, here's a photo of the mouth of "Jones," the 4 year old breeding male who was darted and radio collared when we were there watching. What I think is interesting is how good some teeth look (keeping in Read More

The Illustrated African Wild Dog Story

As you know if you've been following the blog, 1/2 the folks who went to Kenya continued on to Botswana. We all knew that seeing Wild Dogs wasn't a guarantee, but we had high hopes because we were going where and when our chances were highest. (And no, in response to one comment, there are no [African] Wild Dogs in the states, we're talking another species here, see photos below.) We stayed at Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta, owned and run by Helene Heldring and David Hamman, and very close to the research station of Tico McNutt, who has been studied AWDs for over twenty years. We knew that he had radio collars on most of the packs in the area, and we knew that it was still denning season, meaning that the adults tended to stay put more than usual. Still, as an experienced naturalist Read More

African Wild Dogs YES!

Back in the Jo'berg airport again, but this time after having spent two days in the Okavango Delta at Chitabe Tent Camp. 1/2 of us arrived 1 1/2 days late, having barely made it when our last flight was delayed and the sun's descent meant we might not be able to take the small plane to the isolated camp: couldn't land after dark. But we squeaked in, blank eyed and exhausted and then spent two days in heaven.  We not only saw AWD's, we were able to be with Tico when he radio collared "Jones," the dominant breeding male of a pack about two 1/2 hours away from the camp. The group that arrived on time spent 5 hours one afternoon/evening and 14 hours with  Tico and his radio transmitter trying to find the pack, which they found late the afternoon the rest of us arrived. We left early the next Read More

Dogs in Africa


While we're in Africa I'm sure all of us will have our eyes out for dogs, whether owned or feral. Out of the cities, most of the dogs I've seen in Kenya and Tanzania have been "village dogs," although many of them are 'owned' by someone in the area. "Owned" just means something different there: When you ask "Is that your dog?" it's common for someone to say yes, but the dog will have no name, no identification and clearly is relatively independent of people. Usually what they mean is that the dog is allowed to sleep in their yard, but that there is not much of a relationship otherwise. Even in the cities, the people I've talked to have said that dog ownership is relatively common, but that, at least for most Africans, dogs are often not allowed in the house and are primarily kept as guard Read More