The no-kill movement began two decades ago in the United States, and it has given millions of dogs a second chance; instead of being euthanized, they are matched with families. Wonderful story about how dogs can be loved and given a second chance. Read it or listen to it here: NPR
From All in the Mind and Australian Broadcasting : Most of us have an intuitive feeling that our pet dogs or cats have thoughts and even feel emotions—but did you know that ants can teach, rats have a sense of humor, chimpanzees can deceive and elephants grieve? Scientists are discovering that animals’ cognitive and emotional processes are far more sophisticated than we once thought. Listen/Download the audio here.
“…Although Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic method encourages the analyst to present a blank screen, concealing all details of his personal life, thoughts and feelings, Freud himself practiced from his home and included Jo-Fi, his favorite chow chow, in many of his sessions. Freud supposedly relied on his pet’s reaction to a client for help in assessing the person’s character. He also felt that a dog’s presence helped to calm his clients.”
Read more here: The Pets in My Practice
Interesting article about pets and how humans react/respond to them. From the abstract:
Neural substrates underlying the human-pet relationship are largely unknown. We examined fMRI brain activation patterns as mothers viewed images of their own child and dog and an unfamiliar child and dog. There was a common network of brain regions involved in emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social cognition when mothers viewed images of both their child and dog. Viewing images of their child resulted in brain
activity in the midbrain (ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra involved in reward/affiliation), while a more posterior cortical brain activation pattern involving fusiform gyrus (visual processing of faces and social cognition) characterized a mother’s response to her dog. Mothers also rated images of their child and dog as eliciting similar levels of excitement (arousal) and pleasantness (valence), although the difference in the own vs. unfamiliar child comparison was larger than the own vs. unfamiliar dog comparison for arousal. Valence ratings of their dog were also positively correlated with ratings of the attachment to their dog. Although there are similarities in the perceived emotional experience and brain function associated with the mother-child and mother-dog bond, there are also key differences that may reflect variance in the evolutionary course and function of these relationships.
Stoeckel LE, Palley LS, Gollub RL, Niemi SM, Evins AE (2014) Patterns of Brain Activation when Mothers View Their Own Child and Dog: An fMRI Study. PLoS ONE 9(10): e107205. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107205
Everyone who has a pet thinks at some point that their feline/canine friend is, well … crazy. From poop in the shoes to chewed up pillows our furry buddies can sometimes cause us to react with confusion, anger, and frustration.
Maybe you’ve had or heard about a pet cat on Prozac, or a dog that doesn’t quite seem like itself in the weeks following the death of another animal in the home. On the one hand, it’s hard not to question whether there is some owner-projection or anthropomorphism happening here. But on the other, as the BBC reports, some scientists are starting to seriously investigate the inner lives of animals, including potential signs of mental illness.
Some researchers have argued that there are observable behaviors in animals that look a lot like the behaviors in humans with certain mental illnesses: There are pet birds that pluck out their own feathers, dogs that won’t quit licking their tails or paws, and bonobos that pull out their own hair. Some military dogs that have been in combat may even show signs of PTSD, such as a dramatic change in temperament.