Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, June 2, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 2, 2018 



Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

Licorice is a very sweet, shy, pretty 9-month-old pup 
who is being called a Chihuahua mix, although as she 
matures, she looks like she probably has more other 
breeds in her DNA. She has a striking appearance 
with a beautiful velvety coat of fur that is a rich dark 
gray color and eyes to match. She was shy and fearful 
at first until she got to spend more time socializing 
with staff and volunteers. Licorice is learning how to 
play with people, toys, and other dogs while having 
lots of fun in the process. She enjoys getting pets, belly 
rubs, and spending time on a lap. Her puppy energy 
often sends her off in search of new adventures. She 
is learning to walk on leash, and just needs more 
practice to sharpen her skills. If you have the time 
and patience to bring a puppy into your home, please 
meet this lovely girl so she doesn’t have to grow up 
in a shelter. Puppies need consistent training and 
direction, as well as time to play and exercise. Licorice 
has so much potential and just needs the chance to 
develop it. She is waiting to meet you! Her adoption 
fee is $130 and includes spay surgery, vaccinations, 
microchip and a free wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Feel free to call us at (626) 286-1159 
for more information. She currently resides at the 
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society located at 851 E. 
Grand Avenue in San Gabriel which is located off San 
Gabriel Blvd, north of Mission and south of Las Tunas 
Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet and Greet’, please stop by 
any time from 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday through

I am constantly being amazed by the many ways that 
a kind canine can change a human being’s life for the 
better. There are various and sundry reasons why the 
family dog has earned the title of “man’s best friend”, 
and rightfully so.

 Among the many virtues that the dog shares with 
his two-legged human companions, most amazing to 
me is the fact that he is able and more than willing 
to bridge the gap between humans of varying colors, 
ages, cultures, lifestyles and languages. The idea that a 
dog is capable of bringing people together who would 
otherwise likely not bother to share the time of day, 
really hit close to home for me during a recent walk 
with a couple of my canine clients.

 I am a person who has always maintained some 
semblance of diversity in my social life. I have an 
eclectic collection of friends including people of 
various colors, shapes, sizes, ages and walks of life, 
but I am only human, so I do admit that I can’t help 
noticing the differences between myself and others.

 And while I believe I am an open-minded 
person, no matter how hard I try to ignore or erase 
thoughts and preconceptions that may come to 
mind when I cross paths with people who look or 
act different from myself, there are times when I tend 
to presumptuously profile a person based on their 
appearance or behavior.

 When those preconceived notions come to 
mind, I try hard to suppress them, but the thoughts 
sometimes come nonetheless. I realize that my mind 
works this way because I was raised in a culture that 
inherently encouraged the identification of people 
according to the color of their skin, cultural origins 
or socio-economic status, and I think that is very 

 If I could change that about my culture, I most 
definitely would and I think in some ways we are on 
the road to positive change and I was blessed to have 
had parents who went against that natural cultural 
flow. It is what it is, and all one can do is live one‘s 
own life the way they know they should. I said all that 
to say this…Thank God for dogs!

 During a recent walk with two 
of my favorite canine companions, 
we were trekking up Grand View 
towards the Arcadia highland 
community, when we happened 
to cross paths with an older couple 
walking two darling silky terriers. 
Because the two dogs I was 
walking at the time are always very 
calm and cordial with other dogs, 
I was not too concerned about a 
potential canine confrontation, so 
we stayed steady on our trail rather 
than crossing to the other side of 
the street.

 As we drew closer to the couple walking towards 
us, I looked up and gave them a wide, “happy to 
meet ya” kind of smile, and said “good morning!”. 
Initially, they both looked away in what appeared 
to be awkward embarrassment or a complete loss of 
words. My immediate thought was that they were 
not completely comfortable with my greeting, simply 
because they were not completely comfortable with 
my language. For this reason, my intention was to 
walk on by and pretend I hadn’t seen them.

 Apparently, however, my two four-legged friends 
do happen to speak the same language as their two 
little pups, so all four dogs greeted each other with 
immense confidence and playful excitement. And 
remarkably, within a moment’s time, we humans 
followed suit by becoming visibly more relaxed in 
each other’s company. As we stood closer to each 
other, watching the dogs interact and socialize with 
intent vigor, we began to exchange gracious facial 
expressions that can only be interpreted as a universal 

 By the time we parted ways, having stood together 
and observed that kind, reciprocal social behavior 
between our pets, I felt that I had made a couple of 
new human friends that I hope to bump into again in 
the near future, and I would like to think that they felt 
the same way.

 See what I mean? How cool is it that our pets can 
play a part in bridging a gap between ourselves and 
our neighbors? That is what prompted me to write 
this short (yet, hopefully effective) article about the 
value of a dog’s social virtues.

 Perhaps we humans can learn from the canine’s 
willingness and ability to behave in a culturally 
correct manner. I encourage us all to remember to be 
thankful that God made creatures such as the dog to 
help us humans to be kind and use better social skills. 
This is just another example of how the dog is such 
a valuable asset in the daily life of a simple human 
being. Love and let live!


Meet Baby 
Alexander! This 
adorable orange 
tabby is our 
youngest. He 
is super sweet 
and ready for a 
loving, forever 
home! He’s all 
boy, adorably 
active, curious 
& playful. Alex 
will make your home very entertaining! Please 
remember that kittens, while adorably cute, do 
grow up. Before you adopt, please consider your 
ability to keep a cat for its entire life. Call to make 
an appointment to meet him at Whiskers to Tails 
Cat Hospital where he is being housed, at 626-795-
4134. He’s healthy, current on vaccines, and ready 
to love you. See more pictures, adoption info & 
application on our website, www.lifelineforpets.
org, and see Alex’s cute video at https://www.


NASA’s InSight lander has made its first course 
correction toward Mars.

 InSight, short for Interior Exploration using 
Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat 
Transport, is the first mission dedicated to 
exploring the deep interior of Mars.

 The lander is currently encapsulated in a 
protective aeroshell, which launched on top of an 
Atlas V 401 rocket on May 5 from Vandenberg 
Air Force Base in Central California. On May 
22, the spacecraft fired its thrusters for the first 
time to change its flight path. This activity, called 
a trajectory correction maneuver, will happen a 
maximum of six times to guide the lander to Mars.

 Every launch starts with a rocket. That’s 
necessary to get a spacecraft out past Earth’s 
gravity—but rockets don’t complete the journey 
to other planets. Before launch, every piece of 
hardware headed to Mars is cleaned, limiting the 
number of Earth microbes that might travel on 
the spacecraft. However, the rocket and its upper 
stage, called a Centaur, don’t get the same special 

 As a result, Mars launches involve aiming the 
rocket just off-target so that it flies off into space. 
Separately, the spacecraft performs a series of 
trajectory correction maneuvers guiding it to the 
Red Planet. This makes sure that only the clean 
spacecraft lands on the planet, while the upper 
stage does not come close.

 Precise calculations are required for InSight to 
arrive at exactly the right spot in Mars’ atmosphere 
at exactly the right time, resulting in a landing on 
Nov. 26. Every step of the way, a team of navigators 
estimates the position and velocity of the spacecraft. 
Then they design maneuvers to deliver it to an 
entry point at Mars.

 “This first maneuver is the largest we’ll conduct,” 
said Fernando Abilleira of JPL, InSight’s Deputy 
Mission Design and Navigation Manager. “The 
thrusters will fire for about 40 seconds to impart a 
velocity change of 8.5 mph to the spacecraft. That 
will put us in the right ballpark as we aim for Mars.”

 Especially at the beginning of that cruise, 
navigators rely on NASA’s Deep Space Network 
(DSN) to track the spacecraft. The DSN is a system 
of antennas located at three sites around the Earth. 
As the planet rotates, each of these sites comes into 
range of NASA’s spacecraft, pinging them with 
radio signals to track their positions. The antennas 
also send and receive data this way.

 The DSN can give very accurate measurements 
about spacecraft position and velocity. But 
predicting where InSight will be after it fires its 
thrusters requires lots of modeling, Abilleira 
said. As the cruise to Mars progresses, navigators 
have more information about the forces acting 
on a spacecraft. That lets them further refine 
their models. Combined with DSN tracking 
measurements, these models allow them to 
precisely drive the spacecraft to the desired entry 

Yesterday’s 40-second burn relies on four of eight 
thrusters on the spacecraft. A separate group of 
four is autonomously fired on a daily basis to keep 
the spacecraft’s solar panels trained on the Sun and 
its antennas pointed at Earth. While necessary to 
maintain orientation, these small, daily firings also 
introduce errors that navigators have to account for 
and counterbalance.

 When the spacecraft is just a few hours from 
Mars, the planet’s gravitational pull, or gravity well, 
will begin to reel the spacecraft in. At that point, 
InSight’s team will prepare for the next milestone 
after cruise: entering Mars’ atmosphere, descending 
to the surface and sticking InSight’s landing.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

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