Bloodhounds, the most feared dogs on earth?

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I was at my alma mater St. John Fisher College yesterday for a day long conference on Frederick Douglass and Ireland. Scattered around the room where actual issues of Douglass' newspapers. I love history, and am always fascinated by the way the past mirrors the present. I'll talk more about abolition later this week, but today I just wanted to share an animal-related thought that jumped out at me as I read the stories from the 1850s.In one of the papers - and my stupid camera phone took such … [Read more...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Scout, Bandit and Bailey - can you tell by looking at them which is the introvert and which is the extrovert? Can a dog even be an introvert or extrovert?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf.Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted?Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to unders … [Read more...]

Kitty endures a cycle in the washing machine and lives to meow about it

Natasha the kitty endured an entire cycle in the washing machine and lived to  meow about it.

They say cats have nine lives. If it's really true, Natasha the kitty used one on an adventure in the washing machine. She survived an entire wash cycle, and came out fluffier in the process.Natasha,  a six-month-old Siberian Forest kitten, has always been curious about the washing machine, her owner Daryl Humdy told Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI). He didn't think being curious about the washing machine meant the cat would ever get into the washing machine. But one day last year, Daryl's … [Read more...]

Loyal dogs who mourn the deaths of their owners

Hachiko is just one of many stories of faithful dogs who mourned the deaths of their owners.

A story popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today about a dog in Italy who has been showing up at Catholic mass every Sunday since its owner died two months ago.According to news stories, a German Shepherd named Tommy used to accompany his owner to mass, sitting quietly at her feet.  When his owner died two months ago, the dog attended her funeral, along with the other mourners, and has been showing up regularly every since.It reminds me of a movie I watched over the Christmas holiday c … [Read more...]

Life in the cemetery (fall foliage pictures)

Mt. Hope Cemetery is a wildlife sanctuary. I spent a bit of time with this critter. Someone called him a whistle pig and said if I whistled he would have stood up for me. I was pretty close; I preferred him in his critter hole.

I spend a lot of time walking in the cemetery. One of our dogs, Bailey, is dog reactive so it's difficult to find places where we can walk and not feed her excitement. It's been two years of training and practice and lots and lots of patience.The more new experiences she has, the less reactive she gets. But it's difficult to find places where we can walk and not run into off leash dogs. (See my discussion about the leash law.) So we walk in the local memorial park and small historic cemetery … [Read more...]

Vote for the most unusual pet insurance claim in the 2012 VPI Hambone Awards

Baxter fell from the 11th story window and lived to meow about it. He's just one of the nominees for the 2012 VPI Hambone Awards that honor the year's most unusual pet insurance claim. (Photo: VPI nominees)

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. is getting ready to award the 2012 Annual Hambone Award, and  you get to pick the winner!Named after a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, the VPI Hambone Award has since been presented for three equally unusual claims. Past winners include Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and piece of a basketball; … [Read more...]

5 reasons to obey the leash law (yes, I’m talking to you)

Bandit and I on a walk in Corbett's Glen in Brighton, NY.

I took my dog Bandit for a walk today in Corbett's Glen, a nature park here in the suburbs of our hometown of Rochester, NY. In general, I avoid walking in the woods by myself. It's kind of scary for me. I prefer the cemetery. For whatever reason, I feel less alone among the dead. But we've been exploring new places to romp and someone told me this was a great trailWhen I walk Bandit in the woods or the cemetery, he's usually on a long training lead. That gives him more than ample room to … [Read more...]

The fight for Lennox ends – shame on the Belfast City Council

Lennox, the 7-year-old American Bull Dog/Labrador mix who was seized by the Belfast City Council (BCC) in Northern Ireland in May 2012 has been, according to reports, "humanely put to sleep."The story that has captured the hearts of animal lovers around the world centers on a law in Belfast that makes owning a pit bull illegal. The BCC seized Lennox because they deemed that he was, by appearance, a pit bull, despite DNA testing to the contrary.The Barnes family, Lennox's owners, have … [Read more...]

The results of positive dog training (video)

(Video of Bandit and Bailey; I'm not really that fat ... it's an apron filled with treats ... honest ...)Those of you who have been following along with the dog adventures at my house - Scout's illness last year and his death in January along with the very serious behavior problems we've been dealing with between Bandit and Bailey, problems that for their own safety have prevented the two dogs from occupying the same rooms since last November - will rejoice with us when you see this video. ( … [Read more...]

Join Patricia McConnell in a discussion about animals at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Thursday, June 21

Join author and animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell this Thursday at the MMoCA for a discussion about animals and art.

 If you're in the Madison, Wisconsin area and are also an animal lover, here's a don't miss event: this Thursday, June 21, Patricia McConnell, author of fabulous books including "The Other End Of The Leash" and "For The Love Of A Dog" will join Richard H. Axsom, curator at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, for a discussion of the complicated and often contradictory relationships humans have had with animals.The discussion is part of the museum's exhibit, One must know the animals, … [Read more...]