The Last Surviving 9/11 Rescue Dog Visits Ground Zero

This is Bretagne, a 15-year-old retired search and rescue dog. She appeared on the Today show this morning with her longtime handler and owner, Denise Corliss of Cypress, Texas. Tom Brokaw sat in to tell their story, because it’s a big, important story — Bretagne is the last surviving search dog who worked at Ground Zero in New York City after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Corliss was with Bretagne on that day, her handler and search and rescue partner. It was their first deployment together. This week Bretagne and Corliss visited the site of the former World Trade Center, their first time back after the attacks. 

“Seeing this kind of took my breath away a bit, similar to how the pile was the first time I saw it,” Corliss told “It’s so calm and peaceful now, unlike the chaos of before. After 9/11, everybody -- all of us -- felt such sadness. We all wanted to help. I just felt so honored that we were able to respond."

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Corliss and Bretagne have spent their lives together. Corliss brought the dog home when she was eight weeks old, in 1999, after she became fascinated with disaster dogs and wanted to train one and become a dog/handler team. In 2000, they became official members of Texas Task Force 1. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, they got their first assignment: Ground Zero. They worked 12-hour shifts for two weeks, a demanding, frustrating assignment for a search dog, as there were no survivors to be found.

“I really believed we could find somebody -- anybody! -- if we could just get to the right void space,” Corliss said. “But our reality was much different. We found all various kinds of remains, some recognizable, others not so much.”

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But the 300 or so rescue dogs who worked the site did so much more than search in those trying days. They brought hope and moments of joy to all the rescue workers.  

“You’d see firefighters sitting there, un-animated, stone-faced, no emotion, and then they’d see a dog and break out into a smile,” Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian who cared for 9/11 search dogs at Ground Zero, told “Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant -- and that was huge because it was a pretty dismal place to be.”

After 9/11, Corliss and Bretagne worked other disaster sites, including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Ivan, before the dog retired at age nine. But even then, she went to work at locals schools, where she helps first-graders and special needs kids read out loud.

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“She still has this attitude of putting her paw up and saying, ‘Put me in, coach!’” Corliss said. “She absolutely loves it.”

Bretagne has done a lot for her country in her 15 years, and now you can do something for her. She's up for a Hero Dog Award, in the Search and Rescue Dogs category. Vote for her here.  


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Amazon looks for data… at flea markets?

Amazon looks for data… at flea markets?
"It may sound almost absurd to think, 'Well, what kind of information can you get, knowing that someone's paying dog-walkers or flea-markets or whatever?'" says James Wester, research director for global payments at the tech-research company IDC. "But

Marnie Stern, Twin Peaks & more playing free "Northside Concert Series" at BK
As you may know, The Brooklyn Flea happens every Sunday at 50 Kent. In addition to the shopping and food and legal beverages, you can now hear some free music too. The "Northside Concert Series" kicks off September 21 with Marnie Stern and …
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The Images of the Soviet Space Dogs Don’t Fit the Reality

Sixty years after the United States and the USSR faced off in the early days of the space race, it’s not hard to find people who know about the dogs who were the first Soviet cosmonauts. Americans and younger Russians may not know the name of Laika, the first dog to become a space hero, but the idea of dogs in space has a strong pop cultural resonance all these decades later. Just this summer, the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy gave a tip of the hat to the canine cosmonauts by including one as part of Benicio Del Toro’s collection of strange and unique items from throughout the galaxy.

But a few decades ago, Laika and the dogs that followed her were genuine heroes in Soviet culture, with a lot more exposure than a few seconds on screen. A new book called Soviet Space Dogs puts that history on display. Even if it’s a little kitschy, it’s beautiful stuff. For a while, Laika and her fellow cosmonauts were being put on anything that had a surface: Matchboxes, postcards, porcelain figurines, postage stamps, and badges bore the images of the heroic pooches who first explored space in the name of the USSR.

“We were really struck by the utter surrealism of these images when we first saw them,” said Damon Murray, the publisher behind the new book. “It’s more fantastical than the wildest science-fiction comics. You couldn’t come up with this stuff if you tried.”

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Toy packaging with Laika’s image on it, happily orbiting the earth.

The images seem even more surreal if you know the story behind the space dogs. Compared with the reality, the dog who wound up as part of Del Toro's collection in Guardians of the Galaxy had it easy. For one thing, he lived.

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Laika on a 1957 matchbook.

When Laika went into orbit, the Soviet government announced that she had died four days into her journey, thanks to a malfunctioning battery in the capsule. The truth was even more heartbreaking: She died only a few hours into the launch, a fact that wasn't revealed until 2002. In all the pictures, Laika seems to be staring nobly at the horizon or at the unlimited span of stars above her, imagining new vistas of the future. But for Laika, there was no future. She hadn't really had much of a past, either. A stray for all her life, she was brought off the street specifically for the space program. Her humble roots only made her a more attractive subject for Soviet propaganda.

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Laika with three Sputniks behind her.

In a 2012 Dogster piece, Charles Charj wrote movingly about the gulf between the myth and reality of Laika:

We can honor Laika with plaques and cigarette brands and postage stamps and 900-word tributes for online magazines (guilty!). But none of these things has anything to do with her. This busywork is all about us, these prizes and literal effigies (smoke 'em if you got 'em!). And what are we commemorating? Our own flawed image of ourselves: more noble and ultimately less true than the drawing of Laika on a pack of smokes. What should Laika mean to us? To be human is not the same as being humane.

Though we try, despite ourselves. Vladimir Yazdovsky, founder of Soviet space biomedicine, later wrote about the four weeks that elapsed between finding Laika and her launch into space. Days before Sputnik 2 blasted off, he brought Laika home to play with his children. This is likely the only time in her three years of life that she got to experience the pleasures and comforts of family and human benevolence. "Laika was quiet and charming," he said. “I wanted to do something nice for her. She had so little time left to live."

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Belka and Strelka cheerfully zooming through the sky.

The next two dogs Belka and Strelka, had more of a future. In 1960, they went up in Sputnik 5, along with a gray rabbit, 42 mice, two rats, and assorted plants and flies. Belka, Strelka, and their companions had the distinction of being the first living creatures to go into orbit and come back alive. Not only did they get to live, but they became huge media stars. The Soviet government did a live broadcast of the dogs tumbling through zero-g, and after the flight, they were sent on tours around the country to meet their adoring fans. Strelka gave birth to six puppies, one of which was presented to Caroline Kennedy by Nikita Kruschev. But here again, the reality was darker than the official version. The original team for that flight died on the launchpad a month before, when their rocket exploded.

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An image of Belka and Strelka from their first press conference.

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A heroic worker shows off Belka and Strelka in their spaceship.

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The poster for Belka and Strelka: Star Dogs.

Belka and Strelka continue to have a certain degree of celebrity even today. A memorial statue of the two dogs is planned for the site of the factory where their spacesuits were made. In 2010, an animated feature film titled Belka and Strelka: Star Dogs was released in Russia.

The cosmonaut dogs may be remembered fondly by many, but it's with a bitter taste. Laika, after all, was never supposed to return to Earth. In 1998, one of the Soviet scientists expressed regret.

"The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it," Oleg Gazeno said. "We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog." The images collected in Soviet Space Dogs are fascinating and beautiful, but they're only one side of the story.

Via The Guardian and CNN

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5 Tips for a Successful Kitchen Remodel

Although I wish (desperately) that the gorgeous kitchen in these photos was mine, alas, it is not. It was shared with me by my friends over at (they craft the most beautiful kitchen cabinets right here in the USA – and their prices are pretty great too), and features a remodel done by one of their trade pro customers (Simone Development, in Southington, CT).  I decided to share it here too, because I absolutely adore everything about it, and want to be able to reference it in the future should I eventually decide to remodel my kitchen. The cabinetry, colors, appliances, and floor are all so inspiring to me. The remodeling process itself was also a great success, thanks to a few important tips (and avoiding some things as well) – all of which I’ll be posting below.

We haven’t done any remodeling of entire rooms in our place, but we did a floor remodeling project last fall that some of you may remember. Our carpet was worn and buckled, and I was never a big fan of the linoleum tile in the kitchen, so we decided to replace it all with a laminate wood. We also decided to do it ourselves – and man did I learn some lessons along the way. Because we live in a townhouse and our downstairs is relatively small, we were certain that we could bust this project out in 24 hours. Wrong!  So wrong. It ended up taking an entire week. Our biggest mistake was not planning out our timeline. Rather than writing down expected dates for each step (tearing up all of the old flooring, laying the new flooring, adding in all of the trim, and repainting the baseboards), we looked at it all as one lump project.  We also didn’t plan for the unexpected when putting together our budget, and the project ended up costing a little more than we’d anticipated as a result.

So much about our flooring remodel experience came to mind when initally contacted me about possibly sharing an infograph they’d put together showing the Top Five Traits of a Successful Kitchen Remodel and the Top Three Traps to Avoid. As soon as I saw it, I’d wished I’d had it before our project, and I knew immediately that I wanted to share it with you guys. Although we didn’t use a contractor or designer (aside from ourselves and a friend!), and our experience wasn’t specifically with our kitchen, these tips would have been incredibly useful. Really, they could easily apply to pretty much any home remodeling project. I hope they come in handy for you!  (Just click on the info graph to see a larger image.)

Have you done a kitchen remodel (or any remodel) recently?  Do you have any other tips (or mistakes!) that you can share?

This post was in collaboration with

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Bülent Turan – Hawara Lice

Bülent Turan – Hawara Lice.

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Female Dogs In Heat

Female dogs in heat go through different cycles or phases that vary in length. A dog will usually go into heat when she reaches puberty, but the onset of puberty and the length of the heat cycle depends on the breed and size of the dog.

A female dog’s heat cycle generally occurs twice a year, between January and March and again between August and October.

There are four phases a female dog in heat goes through, and the length of these phases can vary between dogs.

The cycles or phases a female dog in heat goes through are:

Proestrus, a 10-day period where she has spotting or bleeding from her vaginal area;

Estrus which lasts for five to nine days. At this stage the dog is ovulating and will accept a male dog as a mate;

Diestrus lasts for six to ten weeks. During this time many hormonal changes take place and her uterine walls will thicken;

The last stage, Anestrus usually lasts for 15 weeks. The female dog won’t have any hormonal activity, produce milk or possess any interest in mating with male dogs.

To determine if your female dog is in heat, watch for these signs: a swelling and enlargement of the vulva and vagina; any vaginal discharge that begins as a pink liquid and progresses to a bloodier fluid; the marking of her scent by leaving small amounts of urine; a preponderance of male dogs trying to get near her.

If you don’t want your female dog to be in heat you need to have her spayed. A spayed dog will not show signs of estrus.

If you want your dog to mate, she can become pregnant during the estrus stage. An owner may have trouble distinguishing between the proestrus and estrus cycles and it can be challenging to determine which stage of the cycle the dog is at just by watching her behavior.

Female dogs don’t experience menopause and will go through heat during their entire lifetime; however, the length of time between heat episodes will increase as she ages.

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Vintage Me #Giveaway (ARV $225) ~ Ends 11/4

A Lucky Ladybug
Do you love vintage jewelry? There is a lot of it out there that I love and would love to have. What is your favorite type of vintage jewelry. I would have to say that mine is necklaces.

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from 7inch vinyl “Other Bore / Dice” (episode-011) Your Pest Band Episode Sounds dir : wataboku…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Na hun eerste single ‘Selfie Selfie’ zijn Jerra K & Pest One terug met hun 2e single: Hola Ey! Nu te koop via iTunes via onderstaande link: https://itunes.ap…

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Random Photos

A random and brief summary from the past month. Life’s been busy. “Just for fun” photos have been few and far between.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Retreiver Training

I’ve been curious about hunt tests for retrievers for a while. I’ve never actually seen one, yet know some people who do them.  Liz and Andy put together a training day today and invited me along.  I brought Coulee (and Lacey too so I wouldn’t need to make two trips) and we went for a short walk before everyone else got there.  Then we got down to work.

We did two retrieves on land and two in water.  Coulee rocked all of them. That’s my girl!  Once I knew what it entailed, I wasn’t too surprised she did well – she’s basically be training for it her whole life.  :)

All the other dogs did great too.  There were a tonne of flatcoats, a lab and Coulee.  These are a few of my favourite pictures from the day.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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