Animals Turn to Nature for Self-Medication

Scientists still aren’t sure if this theory, known as zoopharmacognosy, is correct, but believers in the practice are convinced that humans can learn a thing or two from these animals – specifically, in terms of finding new medications.

“Much of folk medicine, particularly in the undeveloped world, likely came from medicine men watching animals self-medicate,” lead author Joel Shurkin wrote in the journal PNAS.

Mother Nature’s Pharmacy

Many animal species, from birds, bees and lizards to elephants and chimpanzees, have turned to nature as their own personal kind of pharmacy. They self-medicate using the environment’s own ingredients to prevent disease, kill parasites, bacteria and viruses, or to simply aid in digestion.

For instance, seeing a dog munch on grass is nothing you haven’t seen before, and an owner’s first instinct may be to snatch away these greens to prevent their dog from getting sick. But according to Shurkin, that’s exactly the point. Supposedly domestic dogs, and even cats, seek out the plant in order to relieve a stomach ache and expel whatever it is that’s bothering them.

“Dogs do not have the means to digest grass, as they lack the enzymes needed to break down the fibers,” Vancouver-based vet Dr. Michael Goldberg explained in the magazine Modern Dog. “Thus, there is little nutritional value in it for them. One reason for eating grass may be due to a feeling of nausea.”

Elsewhere, chimpanzees have been observed swallowing leaves whole, using their rough sandpaper-like texture to remove parasites. More than 200 species of birds have also been seen rubbing themselves with ants to kill feather lice, a behavior known as anting. Ants that spray formic acid can kill off feather lice and protect the birds from infection.

Animals Turn to Nature for Self-Medication

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By Jenna Iacurci Dec 11, 2014 02:48 PM EST dog It seems that animals, such as dogs, elephants and chimps, are turning to Mother Nature for means of self-medication by seeking out drugs to treat their own ailments, new research suggests. (Photo : Flickr: smerikal)

It’s not uncommon for humans who just visited the doctor to want to seek out a second opinion, some of them turning to self-medication for the answer. But now new research shows that this may apply to animals like dogs, elephants and chimps as well, who seek out drugs on their own to relieve certain ailments.

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Scientists still aren’t sure if this theory, known as zoopharmacognosy, is correct, but believers in the practice are convinced that humans can learn a thing or two from these animals – specifically, in terms of finding new medications.

“Much of folk medicine, particularly in the undeveloped world, likely came from medicine men watching animals self-medicate,” lead author Joel Shurkin wrote in the journal PNAS.

Many animal species, from birds, bees and lizards to elephants and chimpanzees, have turned to nature as their own personal kind of pharmacy. They self-medicate using the environment’s own ingredients to prevent disease, kill parasites, bacteria and viruses, or to simply aid in digestion.

For instance, seeing a dog munch on grass is nothing you haven’t seen before, and an owner’s first instinct may be to snatch away these greens to prevent their dog from getting sick. But according to Shurkin, that’s exactly the point. Supposedly domestic dogs, and even cats, seek out the plant in order to relieve a stomach ache and expel whatever it is that’s bothering them.

“Dogs do not have the means to digest grass, as they lack the enzymes needed to break down the fibers,” Vancouver-based vet Dr. Michael Goldberg explained in the magazine Modern Dog. “Thus, there is little nutritional value in it for them. One reason for eating grass may be due to a feeling of nausea.”

Elsewhere, chimpanzees have been observed swallowing leaves whole, using their rough sandpaper-like texture to remove parasites. More than 200 species of birds have also been seen rubbing themselves with ants to kill feather lice, a behavior known as anting. Ants that spray formic acid can kill off feather lice and protect the birds from infection.

[chimpanzee] (Photo : Flickr: sarahemcc)

Additionally, female capuchins have been known to rub sugary syrups on wounds, while North American brown bears treat insect bites using a paste of Osha roots and saliva.

But perhaps most astonishing are reports from back in October 2013, the Daily Mail notes, of mountain goats scaling a brick wall in the Gran Paradiso National Park in Northern Italy. It is thought that the animals were partaking in mineral licks, which is the licking of stones for their nutritious salts and minerals when food supply is low.

Medicine vs. Food

But how do you tell the difference between self-medication and just plain bizarre behavior?

For example, researcher Holly Dublin while observing a group of elephants in Kenya spotted a pregnant female eating the plant boraginaceae, which was not part of her regular diet. The expectant mother ate the entire plant and then returned to her normal feeding routine, suggesting that she perhaps just had a momentary lapse in judgment.

However, four days later she gave birth. This same plant is used by women in the region to induce labor, and so Dublin believes the elephant wanted the same effect.

Understanding Your Lizards’ Social Behavior

Most desert lizards are territorial which means they will protect some part of their home range from others of the same species. Research in the Mojave Desert of California has documented that large male chuckawallas will actively defend large rocky outcrops from other male chuckawallas, but will allow several females and even juvenile males to inhabit their area. Although this is commonly thought to be a male behavior, females can also be territorial.

Desert lizards exhibit a variety of behaviors to discour­age other males from trespassing. Head bobbing, accompa­nied by flattening the body to give the illusion of larger size, is observed in many species. If the visiting male does not leave the area, as most will do, then a fight will ensue. The resident male is usually the winner and the trespasser quickly leaves.

In captivity, lizards are forced to live in a confined area that is usually much smaller than the territory they occupy in the wild. If more than one male is present, the animals will often fight until one individual establishes dominance and then aggressive behavior will decline. In effect, an un­easy truce is declared because the submissive animal can not flee the area as it would do in the wild.

Although this truce may appear as a harmonious rela­tionship to us, it can be extremely stressful to the submis­sive lizard. A hierarchical relationship is not natural to most lizards, since they will most often separate them­selves in the wild with each defending its own territory. The submissive animal will often suffer stress that is exhib­ited by an increase in the size of the adrenal glands, a de­cline in the efficiency of the immune system, decreased growth, and increased mortality. Researchers at the San Diego Zoo found that young male iguanas exhibit de­creased growth rates if they are even in the same room with a large male iguana. They detect the other males by sight and smell.

The best approach to dealing with desert lizards is to keep males separate from each other. Captivity in itself is stressful and the presence of aggressive males can increase f the stress and decrease the health of your lizards. If animals must be kept together for short periods, provide hiding places and rock piles that will allow them to avoid viewing each other if they so desire.

Once again, the best approach is to keep males separate. In addition, females will often show aggressive behavior toward other females if they are gravid. Gravid female spiny-tailed lizards are very aggressive toward both males and females and can inflict serious injuries upon their cage mates. Separate gravid lizards if any signs of aggression are shown.

Cheap Pet Insurance for Dogs

With the advance of veterinary medicine and the related increase in costs, pet insurance has become necessary for most pet owners. The good news is that increased competition amongst pet insurance companies has led to the reduction of pet insurance costs resulting in an abundance of cheap pet insurance plans. Cheap pet insurance coverage, plans and premiums vary depending on the type of pet covered. Some of the cheapest pet insurance products available are those that cover cats and dogs. It may however prove difficult to find cheap pet insurance for less common pets such as birds. Now that you know that there are cheap pet insurance plans out there, the only thing is to know how and where to find them. Fortunately, by browsing online, it is easy to find cheap pet insurance. Just remember to do some price comparisons in order to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

When shopping for cheap pet insurance, you should take the following into consideration in order to make a good purchasing decision. The first thing is to check the deductibles offered. You will find that most cheap pet insurance policies come with high deductibles for purposes of minimizing risk to the insurance company. It is therefore important to purchase a policy with an average deductible amount as higher deductibles will only serve to negate the whole purpose of having pet insurance. Another thing to consider when shopping for your cheap pet insurance are the limits. This is because insurance covers will typically have certain limits, such as preexisting health conditions or even the age factor of your pet. It is therefore advisable to purchase a cheap pet insurance policy with minimum limits associated with the cover.

There are two main cheap pet insurance plans available on the market. These include pet health insurance and pet liability insurance. Pet health insurance will cover your pet in the event of injury, sickness and medical checkups. Various pet health insurance plans offer different coverage. In most cases, you can find a good cheap pet insurance policy which covers annual checkups as well as emergency medical treatments. Pet liability insurance is important as you never know when your pet could harm your kids or neighbors, whether intentionally or not, thereby leading to injury or death. It is therefore of the utmost important to purchase a pet liability insurance policy which will provide financial cover against damages incurred due to the violent behavior of your normally non-violent pet.

A good place to begin your search for cheap insurance policies is by finding one that covers most claims for the least amount of money. You may begin by browsing the websites of major pet insurance providers and take a look at their policies and premium amounts, not forgetting the deductibles. You could also call these companies and request for a quote or even attempt to negotiate a better deal on your pet’s insurance cover. This is the smartest way of finding a good pet insurance plan that is pocket friendly as well.

3 crazy dangerous south american animals

Piranha

Despite the fact that only a small number of of the numerous or so kinds of piranha are considered to be unsafe to humans, the red-bellied piranha is one of those. It just so happens to reside in the waterways of South America. Cinema flicks and fables have villianized this sharp-toothed beast — and to some quantity, with reason. The myths range from schools of piranhas utterly devouring the first of a herd of large animals to cross a river to indiscriminate assaults on people.

Piranhas inhabit many of the freshwater streams of South America, swimming in large schools that are attracted by blood and disturbances in the water. Its reported that they only a hazard to human beings if the water levels are low from their river drying. Or perhaps when humans are swimming near places near the shoreline where fish are being skinned and their guts tossed into the water.

For the most part, though, you’ll be safe from a hit-or-miss attack by a school of ravenous piranhas. Take good care, though, in getting into the waters. The piranha truly is one of the most dangerous south american animals.

Anaconda

This South American monster of a beast is straight out of the films – or your nightmares. Despite the fact that they generally don’t grow incredibly large, anacondas have been known to break the scales at over 230 kilograms. It is often considered to be the biggest snake on the planet. You certainly don’t want to get trapped unawares with this serpant due to their procedure of attacking and detaining their its next meal.

It is positively a unusual type of snake type as it usually coils around its kill, slowly-but-surely increasing the strain up to the point its victims suffocates. It jaws are powered by muscles that generate sufficient enough strain for its in excess of 100 razor-sharp re-curved fangs to go through the thick skin of an alligator. They do not have poison sacks, only taking advantage of their forceful jaws to capture and keep their prey.

Anacondas commonly prey on any type of animal that it can prevail over, but more often than not they are no threat to humans. Most of the time they would rather to camouflage and rapidly withdraw when people are near.

Poisonous Frogs

The Golden Poison Frog of Central and South America is richly covered by using a strong alkaloid poison. But this is not only any poison! This little frog, not exceeding 55mm in size, packs enough thump to take down a pair of African Bull Elephants … don’t touch it. Actuality, its poison lining is a lot more life-threatening versus the great sting of a box jellyfish.

This apparently safe frog continues to be known to be a killer of persons who have touched it directly. Its also been confirmed that domestic birds and pet dogs have perished by contacting a paper towel on which a Golden Poison Frog had walked! Bizarre.

As well as the Golden Poison Frog is among the most-harmful South American Animals, it also has other poison frog neighbours. They are also enclosed in the same poison layer, but are not quite as harmful. All in intense hues, they would undoubtedly look relatively easy to capture and touch, but really, stay at a distance.

Its been said that in fact majority of these frogs may appear to possess a sense of their own invincibility. Whereas other jungle animals tend to hide from predators, quite a few unsafe frogs will plainly walk right out on the woodland ground. Its very nearly as if they are daring someone to touch them.

The Importance of Vitamin C for Your Guinea Pig

The distinction between the animals is particularly significant when housing rabbits and guinea pigs together. Rabbit food is not supplemented with Vitamin C unlike the rations prepared for guinea pigs. A further complication arises because Vitamin C is a relatively unstable compound. It is, therefore preferable to buy small quantities of food regularly. This will ensure that the guinea pig receives a relatively fresh diet containing the optimum level of Vitamin C – about 200mg per kg of food (approximately 90mg per lb). Check the expiration date recommended by the manufacturer if you buy the food in packaged form. The maximum shelf life is likely to be no more than two or three months. Keeping the food in a cool, well-ventilated spot will help to prolong the vitamin content in prepared diets.

Apart from causing skin lesions, an early but unseen effect of Vitamin C deficiency is that it appears to render the body more susceptible to infections. Studies suggest that the average guinea pig weighing up to 1 kg (2.2lb) requires 10mg of Vitamin C daily, while during pregnancy this figure can increase threefold. If the guinea pig appears unsteady on its feet and reluctant to walk, with haemorrhages evident in the mouth and elsewhere on the body, it may have a Vitamin C deficiency. Direct dietary supplement of the vitamin -usually as part of a multivitamin powder but, in severe cases, in tablet form – tends to be more satisfactory than giving it in drinking water, where it rapidly oxidizes and loses its potency. To be beneficial, a solution would need to contain at least 200mg of Vitamin C per liter (114mg per pint) of water and should be changed once, possibly twice, daily. An added complication results if the water has been drawn through new copper pipes and so contains relatively high levels of this metal since copper acts as a catalyst for the breakdown of Vitamin C.

Ensure that the condition never arises, therefore, by providing fresh green leaf food throughout the year. Broccoli is particularly valuable because it has a very high level of Vitamin C, averaging around 250mg per kg (114mg per lb). Also provide root vegetables, notably swedes and to a lesser extent, carrots. These should be sufficient to keep your guinea pig healthy, especially when fed alongside a good-quality supplemented dry ration.

Pets and their care

In big cities like New York is a great stress every day, all people are their occupations and only very little time to rest. It is common to all these people who work, study and others, going to these cities to find work and not always much time to rest, most of these people live in their homes or apartments without any kind of company is this reason, many people decide to look for in a cage.

Pets are a great option for people who do not have much company. Many people have a preference for cats, this type of pet is preferred by women who need a little company, and also by people who do not have much time, because cats are very independent type of pet that does not require much care or the company. Although like any other pet requires special attention.

It is also normal that some people prefer other smaller animals that need more attention, such as birds or in some cases surprising, hamsters.

But we all know that excellence is the dog. The dog is one of the oldest domestic animals in the world and man’s best friend. The domestication began when he was a wild relative of the wolf today, there is no archaeological evidence that confirms its existence as a pet. All species refers to the domestic breed (Canis familiaris), although some scientists argue that the dog is a subspecies of wolf.

As we all know, dogs are very loyal animals and pets that are perfect for any type of person. For children, adults, families or individuals independent and solitary. There are plenty of careers that we can get the dog you want or the one that suits your tastes and needs. As we all know that if you live in an apartment a little small in the city of Manhattan, I’ll find a small dog and a big one.

This is why some companies are very important to participate in the care of our pets, because, however large or small, requires special care.

These companies are very popular in cities populated and hectic as New York, Paris or London, is because most of its inhabitants have a hectic life does not give them much time, so the service is pet very important because not only walk their pets, but also take care of them in your diet and health.

So there is no excuse, because although the ideal is to have time to spend with our pets, we now have at hand the option of having a group of true professionals who can complement our position should not have the time we . All these companies are in major cities, but technology now allows us to get our hands on many different options when making a decision. From the touch of a button, we have different options on the web, in terms of pet care is necessary. This is why it is important when making a decision, to fully investigate about people or companies in which we will leave the care of our beloved pets.

Useful Dog Training Tips to Manage Excitement of a Pup at Home

Points for House Training for Pups! Useful Dog Training Tips to Help Dogs Understand and Obey Commands. Dog owners need not feel frustrated trying to manage the excitement of a pup at home! Here are some useful dog training tips to help pups understand and obey commands.

Having a dog as a pet in the house brings joy in more than one way. Dogs are amongst the most common pets due to their many qualities, their loving nature being one of them! Imagine the joy of a cute, cuddly puppy, nuzzling a wet nose against your body! These cuddly puppies are completely dependent on their owners once they are separated from their mommies! Whilst they whine and cry, many new owners of such puppies are often perplexed about handling young pups. Besides, managing a cute but moody pup around the house spells nothing but trouble! Therefore, dog training should begin as early as possible. Puppies when trained early on, can turn out to be the most obedient and loving dogs ever. So, before you grumble and mumble when your little pup chews your slippers or barks for no reason, take a look at these important dog training tips to learn some vital points for house training for pups.

Dog Training Tips: House Training a Puppy

House training for a pup is comparatively easier than training adult dogs. The first thing you need to do is keep aside time for your pup. Crate training is often the basic method of making the pup get used to the indoors and outdoors. You can begin by placing the pup in the crate for short periods during the day. If the pup wishes to defecate, you can take it outdoors in the yard. Teach your pup to use the yard or a sand box (in case you don’t have a yard). For this, you will need to use different tonal variations in your voice. If the pup follows the right method, shower it with praise and love. If it doesn’t, then you need to make your voice as stern as possible. A loving ‘good doggie’ or a stern ‘bad doggie’ can help it to understand your commands. When you see the dog turning around in circles, sniffing at a spot, you need to take it as a signal that it needs to urinate or defecate. Be kind and help it to identify a suitable area.

Some pups are an overexcited lot! This is reflected in the way they jump and lunge at a person. Small-sized pups may not really harm a person. However, a large-sized pup can injure a person, unknowingly. Here’s a simple tip for this situation. Ignore! Turn away from the pup. Ignoring the habit rather than screaming a ‘no’ will help you to make it understand. If it does, don’t forget to reward the pup with a loving hug or praise. This is when you can experiment with commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. Gradually, the pup will be well-behaved, in the presence of friends and guests.

You need to make your pup understand that certain kinds of behavior are unacceptable. Constant communication with your pup will help control behaviors such as excessive barking. We come back to the same solution in this case, which is to disregard the behavior of the pup. Shouting or even hugging your pup when it is barking its head off gives a wrong signal. Instead, opt to leave the room or hide somewhere. Repeat this process over and over again till your pup realizes this behavior is totally unacceptable.

Meal times should revolve around making the pup understand that the food given, also needs to be eaten. Mark a separate area where your pup can have its daily meal. You can even hand-feed the pup, when it turns moody. Always avoid overfeeding your pup. A few doggie treats can be given even during the day, when it displays good behavior.

Training on a leash can be a fun activity. Begin by training it around the house. Avoid hurting the pup by pulling the leash too hard. Be good to your pup, and it will love to follow you around the house. This habit will help the pup understand your commands, when you take it for a stroll outside.

Some understanding combined with love and care will make the house training for your pup an enjoyable activity. Treat it lovingly, like a child and you will be surprised with the results. Your pup is one of the most loyal friends you can ever have!
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Cleaning your house with pets

 

How To Teach Your Dog To Yawn On Command

One of the easiest dog trick that you can train your dog to do is to teach your dog to yawn on command. This trick can be taught to any dog of any size or breed and by anyone, and by anyone I mean children and adults.

What you are going to need before training this trick is treats. You can also use something that your dog likes, like a favorite toy or praise, depending on how your dog responds. For simplicity, I will use treats in my article but you are welcome to substitute it with whatever works with your dog.

Place your treat nearby, preferably somewhere near that you can access easily. What I do is I put my treats on the table by my couch, in a little jar so that I can access it very easily and without having to open a bag to get to them.

When your dog goes for a nap or is sleeping nearby, watch closely and wait until he wakes up. Once your dog wakes up he will most likely yawn. This is the perfect opportunity to reward your dog for yawning since that is the behavior that we want to reinforce. All you have to do during this time is to say the word “Yes!” at the same time that your dog yawns and immediately give him a treat after.

Your timing has to be very precise in order for your dog to learn to yawn. If you do this several times a day for a week you’ll notice that your dog will actually start yawning on his own without even being tired just so that he can get a treat. Once that happens, it is a golden opportunity to associate the command “Are you tired” with the behavior of yawning.

Once you see your dog yawning, say your command “Are you tired” and immediately give him a treat. It should take about a week to fully condition your dog to yawn on command. Obviously this is relevant to the amount of times that you train per day or if your timing is perfect, but in an average you should expect to have a fully trained trick like this in two weeks time.

Now that your dog has learned to yawn on command, you might want to show it off a little bit to your friends and family. The best way to do this is to actually do it with several other tricks so that it looks more like a performance. For example, you could ask your dog to shake his paw, roll over, turn around, give you a high five … and finish with “are you tired” from all of these tricks, which your dog will inevitably yawn in approval.

Well there you go, this is an extremely easy trick to train your dog and I encourage you to train as many tricks as you can since training is one of the best ways to build the relationship with your dog and to connect with him. Have fun!

Houses for Dogs, 5 Tips for Noisy-at-Night Dogs

If you have had dogs in your family before, chances are you have had problems with the sleep all day and up all night puppy. I want to list a few tips that might help you get some sleep at night when FIDO wants to play.

Dogs are very similar to children, they respond to stimulus from their environment but with some proactive planning you can help them to sleep at night like you do.

1. Normalize their eating and duty times especially towards the end of the day. I like to walk my dogs in late afternoon, and then feed them as soon as we get back inside. They get energized again from the food and being inside with you. This is good; everyone can have some fun after a hard day at work. It won’t be long before their dinner is digested and they need or just want to go outside again to relieve themselves or just run and play some more. Try to schedule this for shortly before you want to retire. No more food or water after this point, maybe just a very small chewy treat for a reward. Now try to let them relax near you for a little while.

2. Try to reduce stimuli so they get more relaxed. Turn the volume down on everything including your voice. Turn some lights off but not all, darkness tends to put them on alert if it’s sudden. If possible limit the visitors you receive and also your own physical activity. Some white-noise can help drowning out the sounds your puppy hears from outside. No vigorous play for an hour before bedtime.

3. Dogs houses are a calming place for them so if possible an indoor house for dogs (puppy crate) that would be near you would help greatly. You BOTH can sleep better when you have a designated house that can be his bed…again it helps them relax if they are near you. You can use his pad to show him that he should be in the house or crate. Move it during the day so he knows where to go.

4. Giving your dog more of his food in the morning (protein) and less at night (carbs) will make your problem puppy a little sleepier at night.

5. More activity during the day actually helps them sleep better at night, again similar to a child, or even for us adults. It is best to exercise your dog at a high exertion level several hours before you plan on his last meal, the wind down period should be regular and limited to short, low paced walks at the most.

If you consistently use these tips it shouldn’t be long before you have a routine that helps you have a better night’s sleep and gives you a great mental outlook when you awaken each morning. A good night’s sleep is one of the biggest controllable health factors you can provide, for you and your dog.

A Guide To Dressage Horse Breeding

If everything comes together, dressage horse breeding can be the perfect way to find that next competition superstar. It can be significantly cheaper than purchasing an animal that has had any event exposure, or even an older youngster that is ready to be backed and ridden on. There is also a special kind of satisfaction that comes from producing a homebred foal. If it goes on to achieve any accolades, the success is often so much the sweeter.

Despite the benefits of dressage horse breeding, it can be something of a minefield and there is an awful lot that can go wrong. For example, the foal might not be suitable for what the breeder wants to do with it, it might have weaknesses or conformation faults. However, if horse breeding is something that the mare owner is committed to doing and they are knowledgeable enough horse people to take on the responsibility, there are a number of things that can be done to increase the chances of the mare having a quality foal.

The broodmare is hugely important and what she brings to the foal should never be underestimated. Only a sound mare with good conformation and a stable temperament should be used. Ideally, she will have shown talent under saddle, but even a mare that has not excelled in this area should at least have a pedigree that shows known performance bloodlines. Top notch conformation and performance ability are obviously closely aligned, as a horse or pony must usually be well put together in order to have the necessary agility to perform well. As far as breed goes, the best dressage horses do tend to be warmbloods although if an equine has good basic paces it certainly has the potential to hold its own, whatever breed it is.

Once it has been decided that the mare is suitable to breed from, it is time to find the second half of the horse breeding equation, the stallion. Firstly, make sure as much as possible is known about the mare. What are her bloodlines, performance history, behaviour and conformation? Which of her weaker points could be improved with the right stallion? Once the breeder has an understanding of the specific qualities needed from the stallion, it will be easier to make a shortlist of potential studs.

Budget is another factor that will have to be taken into consideration. Stud fees can vary enormously and reflect a number of things including value of the stallion, his past winnings, value and success of his offspring and the facilities offered by the stud itself. It’s important to calculate what can be afforded and to stick to that amount. Young upcoming studs will often be much better value for money than an established international Grand Prix dressage stallion, so these can be a very good bet if the mare owner has a good eye for future potential and conformation etc.

Given the right combination of mare and stallion, plus a large dose of good luck, producing a dressage foal can be hugely rewarding. The whole process can be emotionally draining and a lot of hard work but many involved in dressage horse breeders would stress that when everything turns out as it should, the results make everything more than worthwhile.