René wrote the classic treatise De l’Auscultation Médiate, published in August 1819 The preface reads:
In 1816, He was consulted by a young woman laboring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case percussion and the application of the hand were of little avail on account of the great degree of fatness.
The other method just mentioned [direct auscultation] being rendered inadmissible by the age and sex of the patient, I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics, … the great distinctness with which we hear the scratch of a pin at one end of a piece of wood on applying our ear to the other.
Immediately, on this suggestion, I rolled a quire of paper into a kind of cylinder and applied one end of it to the region of the heart and the other to my ear, and was not a little surprised and pleased to find that I could thereby perceive the action of the heart in a manner much more clear and distinct than I had ever been able to do by the immediate application of my ear.
People deal with their unwanted pets in many ways. Some people have the pet euthanized (also known as putting it down or putting it to sleep), although many veterinarians do not consider this to be an ethical use of their resources for young and healthy animals, while others argue that euthanasia is a more humane option than leaving a pet in a cage for very long periods of time. Other people simply release the pet into the wild or otherwise abandon it, with the expectation that it will be able to take care of itself or that it will be found and adopted. More often, these pets succumb to hunger, weather, traffic, or common and treatable health problems. Some people euthanize pets because of terminal illnesses or injuries, while others even do it for common health problems that they cannot, or will not, pay for treating. More responsible owners will take the pet to a shelter, or call a rescue organization, where it will be cared for properly until a home can be found. One more way is to rehome a dog (find another owner for this dog) that can occur because of allergy to a dog, pet-owner death, divorce, baby born or even relocation. Homes cannot always be found, however, and euthanasia is often used for the excess animals to make room for newer pets, unless the organization has a no-kill policy. The Humane Society of the United Statesestimates that 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the US because of a lack of homes. Animal protection advocates campaign for adoption instead of buying animals in order to reduce the number of animals who have to be euthanized. Many shelters and animal rescues encourage the education of spaying or neutering a pet in order to reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters and to help control the pet population.
To help lower the number of animals euthanized each year, some shelters have developed a no-kill policy. Best Friends Animal Society is the largest no-kill shelter in the United States who adopts policies such as “Save Them All”. Like this shelter and many others, they strive to keep their animals as long as it takes to find them new homes. City shelters and government funded shelters rarely have this policy because of the large number of animals they receive. No-kill shelters are usually run by groups that have volunteers or individuals with enough space to foster pets until a permanent home can be found. However, many of these groups and individuals have a finite number of spaces available. This means they will not take in new animals unless a space opens up, although they will often take back pets that they have adopted out previously. Sometimes they try to find the animals foster homes, in which the animal is placed in a home temporarily until someone adopts it.
The central issue in adoption is whether the new adopter can provide a safe, secure, and permanent home for the adopted pet. Responsible shelters, pounds, and rescue organizations refuse to supply pets to people whom they deem ineligible based on assessing their inability to supply the adopted animal with a suitable home. Sometimes, a new owner may face training or behavioral challenges with a pet who has been neglected, abused, or left untrained. In the vast majority of cases, patience, training, persistence and consistency of care will help the pet overcome its past.
In Canada, reputable animal shelters or humane societies go through an extensive process to ensure that potential pets and their respective families are well suited and prepared for their lives ahead. Adoption fees[ include spaying/neutering, veterinary care including all updated vaccinations, micro-chipping, and pet insurance. Phone interviews, written questionnaires and in-person visits gather information on the potential family’s history with pets, their lifestyle, habits, and their ability to take on the conditions of the adopted pet. Adult pets can be more difficult to place due to the fact that they may have existing habits or behaviors that are difficult to manage or unwanted. Unknown histories with rescue pets may also complicate their ability to be adopted. Shelters and humane societies remain connected with information packages on why pets are unwanted, what to expect in the first days, week or month of pet adoption, guides, recommendations, specific behavior training requests and follow-up calls to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the adoption.
A forever home is the home of an adopter who agrees to be responsible for the animal for its entire life. There are two basic understandings of the concept. A broad interpretation simply says that the adopter of the pet agrees that the animal’s well-being is now their personal responsibility for the rest of the animal’s life. If the adopter can no longer keep the animal for any reason, they would need to be responsible for finding a healthy and happy home for the animal, and making sure that the people of the new home are taking good care of the animal for the rest of its life. Should the adopter die before the animal, they should have a plan in place for the care of the animal. A more restrictive view that some shelters attempt to integrate as part of the adoption agreement puts conditions on when and why the adopter could arrange to move the animal to a new family. For example, forever home agreements might specify that the adopter will not get rid of the animal for trivial reasons, or that the adopter will always be sure that the animal will be permitted should they move to a new residence. Some agreements might specify allergies or violent behavior on the part of the animal as reasons allowable for an adopter to relinquish the animal.
Human Pee Added to Compost Boosts Crops April 10, 2013 Discarded food atop a compost pile at an organic farm. Photograph by Hannele Lahti, National Geographic
People have been using manure as fertilizer for millennia. But scientists now believe they can turn human urine into liquid gold—as composting material.
The premise is simple: Pee is rich in nitrogen, which plants desperately need. Commercial fertilizers boost plant growth and yield by providing abundant nitrogen to the plant’s roots.
Of course, commercial fertilizers can harm the environment if they get into lakes and streams. As well, not all farmers in the developing world can afford to buy fertilizer for their crops. Enter pee. (Related: “Human Pee With Ash Is a Natural Fertilizer.“)
Debendra Shrestha, a researcher at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal, noted that Nepalese farmers have been applying human urine to their crops for centuries.
Unlike commercial fertilizers, urine is free and abundantly available. Plus, human Boosts Crops it doesn’t seem to have any harmful environmental effects. The main question that remained was whether it actually worked: Would plants grow better when their soil was treated with human urine?
To answer this question, Shrestha and colleagues grew sweet peppers (Capsicum annum) in soil that had various combinations of human urine, compost, and urea—the main nitrogen-containing chemical in human urine. The urine was collected from communal toilets in Kathmandu, whereas the compost was sourced from cow manure. (Also see “Urine Battery Turns Pee Into Power.”)
The plants grown in soil that had a combination of human urine and compost grew the tallest, yielded the most peppers, and had the most total fruit weight per plant, according to the study, published recently in the journal Scientia Horticulturae.
The scientists say the pee was so effective because of several factors working together. For instance, the mix of compost and urine decreased the amount of nitrogen lost in the soil while making more carbon available to the plants.
“We need to start moving toward the application of urine in combination with compost,” Shrestha said in an interview with
To Pee or Not to Pee?
Still, not everyone is convinced. Other studies in Africa that used a combination of human urine, human manure, and poultry manure found that these substances did not yield more crops than commercial fertilizers did. (See “Human Waste to Revive Haitian Farmland?”)
For one, although urine is freely available, not all cultures might take to the idea of using it on their crops. What’s more, it needs to be used along with compost for it to be effective, since urine alone doesn’t have enough nutrients to sustain plant growth over several years. (Read more about sustainable agriculture.)
Last, although commercially available fertilizers aren’t free, many governments do subsidize their availability, which may decrease the overall appeal of urine-based fertilizers.