More evidence to support the FACT that animals do have emotions

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The evidence is abundantly clear and all doubts should be wiped clean. Animal do experience emotions.

The only folks who are in denial are those with profit and/or greed motives or those supporting those with a profit and/or greed motives.

Animal-loving families and individuals across the planet already understand the fact that animal experience emotion. But finally, we are seeing momentum – in a monumental bulldozer of forward progress.

The Washington Post published a piece May 19 by David Grimm, in the Health & Science section of the website. It contains some extremely important information developed in Marc Bekoff’s research. Bekoff is a cognitive ethologist and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Basically, a good video about dog breeds and aggression – with one big problem

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The producers of the video below did a pretty good job – on the topic of aggression and dog breeds. Just because a dog happens to be of a particular breed, doesn’t mean he or she will exhibit a particular behavior, aggression or other behaviors.

But one major mistake is made in the video. The reporter states dogs from shelters or rescue groups tend to be more aggressive than those purchased from breeders. BIG ERROR there.

Many of the dogs that end up in shelters or with rescue groups originated from breeders. Some of these dogs are in shelters because families turned them in due to behavioral issues. Why? – Because too many breeders are pulling puppies away from their mothers and litter mates at too young an age and are selling them at 6 to 8 weeks old.

The puppies need more time with mothers, to learn proper social behaviors. So to claim dogs from shelters or rescues might exhibit aggression in a higher percentage, merely because they are from shelters or rescues is inaccurate at best.

Poor breeding practices or acts of cruelty or general mistreatment are the key and unfortunate factors that generally lead to negative behavior in dogs.

And I must add that in my experience, shelter dogs and cats can show gratitude and can offer an adopting family a special kind of love.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Carl knows the way greyhounds should live

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Carl is one of our rescued greyhounds – rescued from the horrors of greyhound racing. He has some emotional problems most likely brought on by his experiences within the racing industry.

To some degree, he has what we call “space issues,” as he gets a bit agitated when he is resting and some of our other dogs get too close to him.

But there is one common theme with the greyhounds we’ve rescued. Once they are adjusted to life in a home setting, they become masters of getting comfortable on sofas and beds.

Carl enjoys going into the master bedroom during the day for some private naps. He loves living in our home. When he’s not napping, he approaches my wife or me quite often for attention. Carl enjoys having his ears rubbed and he enjoys nosing he way into any projects we’re engaged in – cooking, cleaning, repairs, you name it.


This is the way dogs should live. And certainly it is vastly different, when compared with the life of confinement greyhound endure in racing.

Every one of the greyhounds we’ve adopted has experienced an initial period of adjustment, before finally relaxing and enjoying their new life.

We’ve heard about this same pattern from others who have adopted greyhounds.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack Topic: Georgia rescuer killed by her dogs

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This one is a bit tough to write about. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week on the tragic death of Rebecca Carey, a compassionate rescuer of homeless dogs.

It is believed that Carey was killed by at least a couple of her canine companions. A friend believes she most-likely fell and hit her head while attempting to break up a fight between two of them.

On the one hand, this is rare occurrence, where dogs kill someone. But it can also serve as a cautionary story. Injuries can and do happen and altercations between family dogs certainly do happen. Anyone telling you they live with as many dogs as Carey lived with, without having altercations on occasion, is either very, very lucky or they’re not telling you their whole story.

Tragically, this story had a horrible ending, one we thankfully do not see very often at all.

Over most of our 22 years of marriage, my wife and I have lived with multiple rescue dogs. A very good majority of the those dogs lived together without problems. But as is the case with kids, altercations happen. It might be over treats or toys or maybe a bit of jealously.

I write a lot about self-awareness and state of consciousness and intelligence and emotion in animals. But none of this means dogs don’t still have instinctive behaviors as well.

Researchers: Apes have similar personalities to humans

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An article published last week by the Huffington Post reported on new research on the personalities of chimpanzees, conducted by an international team of researchers. The conclusion: chimpanzees and orangutans do share personality traits with humans.

The writer explains that to date some scientists are still challenging to the notion that suggests once again that other researchers are engaging in anthropomorphism, merely wishing human qualities on animals. But the naysayers seem to consistently overlook the fact that individual personalities and emotions can be shared by humans and animals.

So we are not at all engaging in anthropomorphism when we see emotion and personality in beings from apes to dogs to cats. The fact is, some of these qualities of self-awareness are shared. I fear some of these other scientists are putting up a wall to any new findings that show this, because they can’t bring themselves to come to the conclusion – for whatever reasoning.

From the article: “(Jane) Goodall’s impressions of the human-like personalities of the chimpanzees she studied reflected the chimpanzees’ individual behavioral differences,” the researchers wrote in their study.

We now know this is true for other animals, such as dogs and cats. We’ve personally adopted enough basset hounds and greyhounds, for example, to know that dogs within the same particular breed have their own, distinct personalities and self.

Another case offers more evidence of self-awareness in dogs

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I recently got into a back-and-forth about greyhound racing under a Huffington Post blog entry. A couple of folks on the pro-racing side talked about the dogs as “athletes” and about how much they are worth in monetary terms. And they claimed the dogs love racing.

I came out of the discussion thinking about how far behind these people are when it comes to understanding animal welfare, animal behavior and cognition. One side of the animal-welfare debate is pushing compassion for animals and pushing for better laws to protect animals from cruelty. The other side is fighting all of that and considers an animal to be nothing more than a physical possession.

The science is in, however. The research and study needs to go on, but the conclusion has been reached. Animals – most notably what we might call the higher-order animals – have self-awareness and a state of consciousness. A recent story out of Massachusetts piles more information on the ever-growing mound of proof that these theories have now advanced deep into the category of FACT.

And this story heaps more evidence into the research:

This pit bull – yes pit bull – pulled his unconscious guardian off a train track and saved her life. Lilly risked her own life and suffered severe injuries. After her leg has been amputated, Lilly is expected to recover.

As reported by My Fox Boston, the train engineer witnessed Lilly pulling Christine Spain off the track, but despite all of his efforts to stop the train in time, he could not avoid hitting the dog.

This is not instinctive behavior on Lilly’s part. What she did took a higher-order thought process, to recognize a danger and act on it to save another being from harm. How can we – as an advanced society – not advance our legal system to offer for animals better protection from cruelty?

How can we allow horse slaughter, knowing they have an advanced level of consciousness? How is it that particular entities in 2012 are fighting against stronger anti-puppy mill laws? How is it that certain entities are trying to hide from public view the cruelty that takes place on too many factory farms?

These people and entities fighting against animal welfare are not only on the wrong side of history, they are on the wrong side of the galaxy when it comes to compassion and science. I am excited and heartened by the fact that in the case of animal welfare, science and compassion have fully joined forces. The mounting scientific evidence clearly supports the animal-welfare movement and its compassionate message.

Can dogs experience disappointment?

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I found an interesting post on a blog called “A City Mom” on the Chicago Now website. Kim Strickland asked the question – “Can a dog understand a broken promise?”

It seems she promised her dog they would go on a morning jog, but circumstances pushed back the outing. Her dog exhibited some unusual behavior, in expressing displeasure with the delay.

Dogs do indeed experience emotions such as this. Recent studies have even suggested there is special and unique mental connection people have with their dogs, quite possibly the result of a shared bit of evolutionary process, over thousands of years of living together as buddy species – if you will.

I’m glad other bloggers and writers are sharing their stories that highlight the human-animal connection.

Living with the Rescue Pack

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I’ve been thinking of late about the oddities my wife and I experience on an almost daily basis, living with our band of rescued dogs. The current dynamics within the family pack have changed quite a bit over the last couple to three years.

We’ve lost several seniors over that span, who lived to a range of 14 to around 16 years of age. One was the ruler of the canine roost. I didn’t realize how much Zulu, a lab-mix, had managed the others and maintained a sense of stability – until she wasn’t around.

Now, we have a younger median age and a much more – lets say active – household.

Petey is among the youthful, more recent additions to the family. What were we thinking.

As I was putting together this post, I needed a photo of Petey, who is probably about 1.5 years old. I grabbed the smart phone and called him over to the desk. Unfortunately, the camera’s shutter wasn’t fast enough or smart enough to catch an image that was not blurred by his constantly-moving motor.

This was the best I could come up with and only because he paused very briefly when something caught his eye out the window. Petey is probably a red bone hound/basset mix and he’s become quite the neighborhood celebrity.

He had heartworms when he came to us – through an area municipal shelter. His previous people obviously failed to give him heartworm preventative. He’s on his last week or so of having to stay clam during the treatment period.

As is the case with children in families some of ours get along like best buddies. But there are a couple that don’t enjoy each others company so much. Petey and Tillie (a basset/yellow lab mix) really enjoy each other.

Over the weekend the pair was playing on a large bed in my office/playroom. At one point, I turned around at my desk to find Petey and Tillie laying down, face-to-face on the bed and literally smooching. They were nose-to-nose (touching) and licking each other in what could best be described as a French kiss.

I didn’t really know what to make of that. Most of the stories I’ll tell here going forward won’t be quite so provocative. At least I hope so anyway.

On a semi-regular basis on the PM Blog, I’ll offer some reality-show insight into our lives – with only a few tidbits of video. I’m not a fan of those fake-ish TV reality shows. I just made up that phrase “fake-ish” – but it correctly describes them.

We’ll call our series – “Living with the Rescue Pack.”