Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 29, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 29, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc



Memphis is a stunning one-year 
old Mastiff-Shepherd mix boy 
with a beautiful and soft tan coat 
and black markings on his goofy 
puppy face. This 75-pound pup 
was rescued by humane officers 
when he was found tied to a 
tree in a San Gabriel park with 
a collar embedded into his neck. 
Poor Memphis is recovering 
from this cruel experience and 
learning to trust others again 
but it is clear that he has a sweet, 
gentle, and playful personality. 
Despite this terrible experience, 
he remains a bouncy puppy disguised in the body 
of a big dog who wants to nothing more than love, 
treats, and tender pats. Memphis deserves to live his 
puppyhood and adult years with a family who truly 
loves him and will love and care 
for him through his golden years. 
There is no doubt this sweet 
survivor will make a wonderful 
companion! Feel free to call 
us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information. His adoption fee is 
$145 and includes neuter surgery, 
vaccinations, microchip and a free 
wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. He currently resides 
at the San Gabriel Valley 
Humane Society located at 851 E. 
Grand Avenue in San Gabriel. We 
are 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 Sunday. 

I believe most would agree that music can play a major 
part in altering a person‘s mood. I know this is true from 
my own experience. For example, if I’m functioning on a 
low energy level and I need a boost, I put on one of my 
favorite rock-and-roll albums and before I know it I’m up 
and about, cleaning my house. On the other hand, if I’m 
stressed or on-edge, I tune in to Chopin because I know 
listening to his works will calm me down. Music inspires 
us in so many ways. But what, if anything, does it do for 
the dog?

 Numerous research studies have been conducted over 
the years, to determine how sounds might effect the 
feelings and behavior of the canine. Among the more 
scientifically important studies is one that was performed 
by Belfast-based psychologist and animal behaviorist Dr. 
Deborah Wells in 2002.

 Dr. Wells undertook a research project specifically 
designed to determine the influence of five types of 
auditory stimulation on the dog: human conversation, 
classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and 
a silent control (no music at all). The results of Dr. 
Wells’ study clearly indicate that classical music had a 
marked soothing effect on dogs in animal shelters when 
compared to all the other types of auditory stimulation 

 In the discussion section of her published research, 
Dr. Wells states, “Classical music resulted in dogs 
spending more of their time resting than any of the other 
experimental conditions of auditory stimulation. This 
type of music also resulted in a significantly lower level of 
barking. Research suggests that calming music may have 
a beneficial effect on humans, resulting in diminished 
agitation, improved mood and lower levels of stress. 
Although the specific effect of classical music on dogs 
remains unknown, the findings from this study suggest 
that it may, as in humans, have a calming influence.”

 Wells also observed that heavy metal music tended 
to agitate the dogs, which was mainly manifested by 
increased frequencies of standing, fretting and barking. 
Upon completion of the project, Dr. Wells stated, “Further 
work is still required to unravel the specific acoustic 
elements that dogs respond to.” Dr. Wells’ research 
results inspired a small group of American scientists & 
musicians to embark on a subsequent study of their own. 
Their mission was to take canine bioacoustics research to 
a higher, more specified level.

 In 2005, neurologist Susan Wagner initiated and 
directed the Bioacoustics Research & Development 
(BARD) project, and working closely with her associates 
Joshua Leeds (sound researcher) and Lisa Spector 
(concert pianist), she came up with some very interesting 
and enlightening results which she and Lisa Spector later 
documented in a book entitled Through a Dog’s Ear.

 Sound is a complex phenomenon consisting of energy 
waves, the speed of which are measured in units called 
hertz (one wave cycle per second). The normal range 
of sound heard by the human is about 20-20,000 Hz. 
Although audible frequencies vary from one species 
to another, most animals have a much higher range of 
perception than that of the human, and dogs can receive 
up to at least 50,000 Hz.

 Volume of sound is measured in decibels (dB). A 
whisper is measured at a range of about 30 dB’s and a 
normal conversation occurs at about 50 dB’s, while the 
average rock concert is measured at around 130 dB‘s. 
Dr. Wagner refers to perception of sound - commonly 
called hearing - as the science of psychoacoustics, which 
involves an individual’s psychological and physical 
orienting response to incoming Hz frequencies. In other 
words, it is the combined biological and mental means by 
which one perceives what one hears.

 Although I prefer to refrain from using technical 
terminology in this light-reading weekly column, I 
describe these terms to help explain the overall point I 
wish to make in this Happy Tail, which is the soothing 
effect that classical music can have, not only on humans, 
but on animals as well, most particularly on dogs. 
Interestingly, the results of Dr. Wagner’s 2005 study on 
how sounds effect the behavior of the dog, re-confirmed 
Dr. Wells’ findings back in 2002.

 In short, because of physical sound receptors and an 
ability to interpret what is heard, a dog’s response to 
sound is much like that of a human, though perhaps 
more intense. Therefore, because of the way a dog hears 
and responds to sound, it is safe to assume that classical 
music is an excellent choice to bring relaxation and rest 
to our canine companions. This all comes as no surprise 
to me, but if you’re skeptical, I suggest you test the theory 
out for yourself. The next time your canine gets uptight 
(New Year‘s Eve, perhaps?), play him a little Mozart and 
watch him go from manic to mellow in moments. Love 
and let live! 



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




[Nyerges is the author of 
“Guide to Wild Foods” 
and other books. He 
leads classes to identify 
common wild foods. He can be reached at 
Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.] Growing up in the 
Pasadena/Altadena area, I had the regular 
opportunity to hike these mountains of my 
“backyard.” I had a great interest in the native 
American culture, and foods. What did our 
eat for centuries if they did not 
practice agriculture and had no Von’s for 
shopping? I wondered if I could find the food 
plants that the natives regularly used. As out-
of-towners flood into Pasadena for the Rose 
Parade and game, they see a modern city, 
and little of what was here in the pre-Mission 
days. There is barely an awareness that native 
peoples exclusively lived here, residing along 
the banks of the Arroyo Seco. 

 When out-of-town visitors see the denuding 
of the Hahamongna basin that the County 
Flood Control is now wastefully doing in the 
name of “flood control,” there is little sense 
that this is the land that fed, clothed, and 
housed our geographical ancestors. For me, 
growing up, I was first interested in getting to 
know and taste the foods that had sustained 
my geographical 
ancestors. Such personal 
experience would be invaluable if I ever got 
lost while hiking. These plants still grow all 
around us, in the canyons, river beds, vacant 
lots, and in the chaparral and mountains. In 
July 1769, Father Junipero Serra, writing of 
the areas near Pasadena, said, “We found vines 
(wild) of a large size and in some cases quite 
loaded with grapes. We have seen Indians 
in immense numbers.... They continue to 
make a good subsistence 
from various seeds 
and by fishing.” Wild oats (Avena fatua) and 
various other grasses were harvested for their 
grain. And the wild grape vines can still be 
found in some of the foothill canyons, though 
they rarely produce fruit today. ACORNS The 
main plant staple was the acorn which falls 
from the oak trees every fall. Acorns are edible, 
but very bitter when raw due to the presence 
of tannic acid. To remove the bitterness, the 
Native Americans first shelled the acorns and 
ground them in stone mortars. The meal was 
then put directly in a hollowed-out section 
of sandy stream bed, or placed in a shallow 
basket. Then hot water was poured over the 
meal so that the tannin would wash out. The 
processed acorn meal was then made into 
bread, or boiled into a mush-like soup and 
eaten cold. PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS The 
Indian residents of this area ate the young 
succulent pads and the sweet fruits of the 
prickly pear cactus. Stands of the prickly 
pear cactus are still common. I eat the raw 
pads in salads, or peeled, diced, and cooked 
in omelettes. The fruits are tasty raw, or 
made into juice, pie, jam, and even ice 
cream. YUCCA The yucca plant, the most 
important fibre plant for all the Southwestern 
Indians, was also a source of food. Both 
the green and ripened fruits were roasted or 
boiled, and the newly-emerging yucca flower 
stalks were also cut down and cooked like a 
giant asparagus, peeled, and eaten. The leaves 
of yucca were one of the most important 
fibre sources. Once processed to get just the 
hardy fibre, the leaves were made into rope 
or braids, which were then used to weave 
sandals, construct shelters, make packs, bow 
strings, nets, etc. BERRIES AND CHERRIES 

 The Gabrielinos ate the native wild berries, 
such as wild grapes, elderberries, blackberries, 
currants and gooseberries, manzanitas (“little 
apple” in Spanish). Another common food 
was the wild or holly-leaf cherry (Prunus 
ilicifolia). The fruit consists of a large stone 
wrapped by a thin layer of pulp. These wild 
cherry pits were dried, ground, and leached in 
much the same way as acorns, and mixed with 
other ingredients into a “soup.” All of these 
berries and fruits can still be found throughout 
the foothills, making good trail snacks for 
hikers. Though cranberries don’t grow here in 
the wild, we do have the common native toyon 
tree. These are perhaps the closest you’ll get to 
cranberries out west. The fruits are dry and 
astringent when picked off the tree, but when 
boiled and sweetened, can be used in a variety 
of dishes. Learning the skills and specialized 
knowledge of our ancestors provides us with 
one tool to break our unnecessary 
upon others. Learning these skills instills 
a deep desire to “live lightly on the earth” 
as much as possible. Knowing these basic 
survival skills enhances our day-to-day life, 
and certainly increases our safety when we 
travel into the forest. And even more, when 
so much is lost today, when we discover the 
vast richness of our wild lands, we should do 
everything possible to see that it remains as 
pure and native as possible, in perpetuity, so 
that we and our children can continue to learn 
the lessons that we can only gain in the wild 

It is typical this time of year to 
prepare a list of resolutions for 
the coming year. I believe this goes all the way back 
to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve, "I 
think I'll turn over a new leaf this year." And so the 
tradition has come down to us today.

 Normally, people will make a list of all the things 
they will give up during the ensuing year. All 
kinds of bad habits find their way on the list like 
smoking, drinking and other nefarious activities. 
Of course, nobody actually plans to keep his 
New Year resolutions but the act of writing them 
down on a piece of paper seems to give a sense of 
accomplishment to people.

 One of the big things on the resolution list has to 
do with diet and losing weight during the coming 
year. I have often wondered why this seems to be 
number one on most of those New Year resolution 
list. Even Yours Truly has succumbed in years past 
to attend this resolution on his list.

 This year I discovered why that is so high on 
people's list. It begins with Halloween and all of the 
candy that is consumed. Now, there is a purpose 
behind all of this. And it is only recently that I have 
put it all together. And to my loyal reading fans (both 
of you) I would share with you the wisdom of my 

 The reason it starts with Halloween candy is 
that candy is sweet. This sweet serves to prime the 
pump, so to speak, for the eating frenzy that is about 
to begin. Approximately 3 weeks following the 
Halloween candy blowout comes Thanksgiving.

 When our forefathers did a Thanksgiving 
dinner, they had to chase the turkey down and kill 
it themselves. Following that, they had to pluck the 
feathers, clean the turkey, stuff it and get it ready for 
roasting. All of this activity burned up all the calories 
from the Halloween candy frenzy.

 Now, all we do is pop it into an oven and the most 
activity we have is bending our elbows to see how 
fast we can get the turkey from the plate into our 
mouth. Even though this activity is quite strenuous it 
actually burns no calories whatsoever in the process.

 If it was just the turkey it would not be so bad, 
but nobody can eat turkey without all the culinary 
accoutrements. Roast turkey without a generous 
slice of pumpkin pie is the closest thing to blasphemy 
that I know.

 No sooner has the Thanksgiving dinner settled 
in our stomach, it is Christmas time, and all of the 
parties associated with Christmas. Nobody can 
refuse a Christmas party with all the delicacies that 
had been so meticulously prepared. When I go to 
a party, I think it rather rude not to indulge in the 
party snacks.

 I like to join organizations right around the 
October keeping a sharp eye out for the annual 
Christmas party. Soon after the New Year, I dropped 
out of that organization. Call me a slacker, if you 
wish, but in my book, the Christmas party is worth 
the subterfuge.

 Then there is the marvelous family Christmas 
dinner. Need I say more?

 So we come to New Year’s Eve. By this time, 
everybody has eaten so much that hardly anybody 
can take another bite. Not only that, but many people 
feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday 
season. Others, like me, are made to feel guilty for 
eating so much during the holiday season.

 To deal with this sense of guilt many people make 
a New Year's resolution to go on a diet during the 
coming year.

 Many years ago around this time of the year, I made 
a drastic tactical error. It had been a particularly good 
holiday season with many parties and Christmas 
dinners. I was feeling rather expansive at the time 
and sighed deeply and said, "After all that eating I 
should go on a diet."

 Quick as a wink the Gracious Mistress of 
theParsonage took that as a cue and responded, "I 
think that's an excellent idea. That will be your New 
Year's resolution for the coming year."

 And thus it was.

 I quickly learned that such resolutions come with 
a great deal of superfluous supervision. Every time 
I turned around my wife said, "How is your diet 
coming?" Of course, she knows exactly how it is 
coming because she is the one who was supervising 
this aspect of my life.

 When going out to eat at a restaurant she was most 
helpful in supervising my ordering by observing, 
"You can't order that because it's not in your diet."

 There are many things that will not show up on 
my New Year's resolution list and the number one 
item that will not be there is dieting. Gone from my 
vocabulary are such phrases as, "Boy, I've eaten too 
much tonight." Or, "After eating like this I should go 
on a diet."

 I am not sure God is quite as concerned about my 
eating habits as other people are. I like what David 
writes in the 23rd Psalm. "Thou preparest a table 
before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou 
anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over" 
(Psalms 23:5).

 When God sets the table, he expects me to feast, 
and I do not anticipate disappointing Him.

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 
He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or 
e-mail The church web site is

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