Posts tagged dogs
Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell. 

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own. 

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through. 

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on. 

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul. 

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s. 

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was. 

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”

Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell.

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own.

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through.

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on.

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul.

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s.

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was.

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”

Here is Marine Corporal Jose Armenta in his tent on the night before getting blown up in Afghanistan. He jokes with Mulrooney and Berry and the medic the guys have nicknamed “Christ.” He feeds and waters his dog, Zenit, a sable-coat German shepherd. 

He lets Buyes, who will be dead in three months, ruffle Zenit’s fur, for the radioman is crazy about the dog. Then he takes Zenit outside in the waning light of this dusty, desert otherworld to train. 

They’re happiest like this. Jose has Zenit sit, which the dog does obediently, and then Jose jogs 50 yards down and hides a rubber toy, a Kong, up against a mud wall, covering it with dirt. 

On Jose’s command, Zenit bursts forward, zigging in search of it, tail wagging. It’s an intricate dance. Voice commands met by precise canine action, always with the same end goal in mind—to find the toy. Tomorrow, on patrol, the objective will be finding not a toy but an improvised explosive device, or IED, one of the Taliban’s most brutally effective weapons against American troops here in what many consider the most dangerous province in one of the world’s most dangerous countries. And no dog can find every bomb every time. 

The Dogs of War

Here is Marine Corporal Jose Armenta in his tent on the night before getting blown up in Afghanistan. He jokes with Mulrooney and Berry and the medic the guys have nicknamed “Christ.” He feeds and waters his dog, Zenit, a sable-coat German shepherd.

He lets Buyes, who will be dead in three months, ruffle Zenit’s fur, for the radioman is crazy about the dog. Then he takes Zenit outside in the waning light of this dusty, desert otherworld to train.

They’re happiest like this. Jose has Zenit sit, which the dog does obediently, and then Jose jogs 50 yards down and hides a rubber toy, a Kong, up against a mud wall, covering it with dirt.

On Jose’s command, Zenit bursts forward, zigging in search of it, tail wagging. It’s an intricate dance. Voice commands met by precise canine action, always with the same end goal in mind—to find the toy. Tomorrow, on patrol, the objective will be finding not a toy but an improvised explosive device, or IED, one of the Taliban’s most brutally effective weapons against American troops here in what many consider the most dangerous province in one of the world’s most dangerous countries. And no dog can find every bomb every time.

The Dogs of War

A dog who disappeared about 17 months ago has been reunited with his family through the efforts of the West Windsor Police.
Miguel Cruz thought his family members were the target of a cruel April Fools Day joke when on Tuesday night they received a telephone call claiming that Wesley, their long lost yellow Labrador retriever, was safe and ready to come home.
Cruz said the family had just sat down for supper when the phone rang. But while his wife, Myra, listened to the caller, she said Wesley’s name and then started welling up with tears, Cruz said Thursday.
"We were all jumping up and down like we won the Super Bowl," Cruz said. "We’ve had him for four years, he’s back in the family and we’re all pysched."
Lt. Robert Garofalo of the West Windsor Police said that Officer Lee Brodowski was sent to answer a call Tuesday morning from a woman out walking her own dog when she spotted the yellow Labrador wandering around on his own. 
(via) 

A dog who disappeared about 17 months ago has been reunited with his family through the efforts of the West Windsor Police.

Miguel Cruz thought his family members were the target of a cruel April Fools Day joke when on Tuesday night they received a telephone call claiming that Wesley, their long lost yellow Labrador retriever, was safe and ready to come home.

Cruz said the family had just sat down for supper when the phone rang. But while his wife, Myra, listened to the caller, she said Wesley’s name and then started welling up with tears, Cruz said Thursday.

"We were all jumping up and down like we won the Super Bowl," Cruz said. "We’ve had him for four years, he’s back in the family and we’re all pysched."

Lt. Robert Garofalo of the West Windsor Police said that Officer Lee Brodowski was sent to answer a call Tuesday morning from a woman out walking her own dog when she spotted the yellow Labrador wandering around on his own. 

(via

A half-century ago, dogs lived in barns or backyards, domiciled in shabby little doghouses. Now they have the run of our houses and apartments. They sleep in our beds (full disclosure). In some cases, they are considered by their owners to be like children, and possibly a bit cleaner. 

So it is not so strange that the connected technologies that are creeping into the lives of humans are doing the same for pets. Wearable pet activity trackers keep tabs on Bella’s or Bear’s exercise. Some go further, monitoring dogs’ heart and respiratory rates and tracking locations in case they escape their homes. 

Webcams allow people who are away from home to monitor, communicate and play games with their pets, breaking up the monotony of lonely days. Every Dog Has Its Data

A half-century ago, dogs lived in barns or backyards, domiciled in shabby little doghouses. Now they have the run of our houses and apartments. They sleep in our beds (full disclosure). In some cases, they are considered by their owners to be like children, and possibly a bit cleaner.

So it is not so strange that the connected technologies that are creeping into the lives of humans are doing the same for pets. Wearable pet activity trackers keep tabs on Bella’s or Bear’s exercise. Some go further, monitoring dogs’ heart and respiratory rates and tracking locations in case they escape their homes.

Webcams allow people who are away from home to monitor, communicate and play games with their pets, breaking up the monotony of lonely days. Every Dog Has Its Data

[photo | map via datanews]
While declining tax revenues and increasing costs mean that many municipalities have slashed spending on quality-of-life programs for people, domesticated canines fared quite well: The number of dog parks in the country’s 100 most populous cities surged from 353 in 2008 to 617 in 2013, according to new data provided to Newsweek.
“It’s just growing by leaps and bounds,” Peter Harnik, who directs the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and compiled these statistics, told Newsweek.
There has been a steady increase in these recreation areas since Berkeley, California’s Ohlone Dog Park (billed as the world’s first) opened in 1979, but this recent surge reflects a shift in American attitudes about canines, who are often perceived as members of the family rather than mere pets.
The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that more households have dogs than kids – 43 million compared to 38 million, respectively– and the American Pet Products Association estimates that spending on pets hit at least $55 billion in 2013, a 4.1 percent increase from 2012.
Says Harnick: “It’s becoming like France.” [The rest of the story.] 
ZoomInfo
[photo | map via datanews]
While declining tax revenues and increasing costs mean that many municipalities have slashed spending on quality-of-life programs for people, domesticated canines fared quite well: The number of dog parks in the country’s 100 most populous cities surged from 353 in 2008 to 617 in 2013, according to new data provided to Newsweek.
“It’s just growing by leaps and bounds,” Peter Harnik, who directs the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and compiled these statistics, told Newsweek.
There has been a steady increase in these recreation areas since Berkeley, California’s Ohlone Dog Park (billed as the world’s first) opened in 1979, but this recent surge reflects a shift in American attitudes about canines, who are often perceived as members of the family rather than mere pets.
The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that more households have dogs than kids – 43 million compared to 38 million, respectively– and the American Pet Products Association estimates that spending on pets hit at least $55 billion in 2013, a 4.1 percent increase from 2012.
Says Harnick: “It’s becoming like France.” [The rest of the story.] 
ZoomInfo

[photo | map via datanews]

While declining tax revenues and increasing costs mean that many municipalities have slashed spending on quality-of-life programs for people, domesticated canines fared quite well: The number of dog parks in the country’s 100 most populous cities surged from 353 in 2008 to 617 in 2013, according to new data provided to Newsweek.

“It’s just growing by leaps and bounds,” Peter Harnik, who directs the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and compiled these statistics, told Newsweek.

There has been a steady increase in these recreation areas since Berkeley, California’s Ohlone Dog Park (billed as the world’s first) opened in 1979, but this recent surge reflects a shift in American attitudes about canines, who are often perceived as members of the family rather than mere pets.

The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that more households have dogs than kids – 43 million compared to 38 million, respectively– and the American Pet Products Association estimates that spending on pets hit at least $55 billion in 2013, a 4.1 percent increase from 2012.

Says Harnick: “It’s becoming like France.” [The rest of the story.] 

Beagle-boxer-basset mix Walle was the victor at the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog competition, but compared to past victors, many are skeptical that he is really the world’s ugliest dog. I mean, come on. He’s kinda cute! Those other two though…
[Photos from the daily mail & CNN]
ZoomInfo
Beagle-boxer-basset mix Walle was the victor at the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog competition, but compared to past victors, many are skeptical that he is really the world’s ugliest dog. I mean, come on. He’s kinda cute! Those other two though…
[Photos from the daily mail & CNN]
ZoomInfo
Beagle-boxer-basset mix Walle was the victor at the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog competition, but compared to past victors, many are skeptical that he is really the world’s ugliest dog. I mean, come on. He’s kinda cute! Those other two though…
[Photos from the daily mail & CNN]
ZoomInfo

Beagle-boxer-basset mix Walle was the victor at the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog competition, but compared to past victors, many are skeptical that he is really the world’s ugliest dog. I mean, come on. He’s kinda cute! Those other two though…

[Photos from the daily mail & CNN]