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...]

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...]

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...]

Fight for Lennox the dog nears the end

Lennox is scheduled to die tomorrow. In fact, he may already be dead, since he's in Northern Ireland and it's already tomorrow there. Lennox has been imprisoned for almost two years. Not because he committed a crime. Not because he broke the law. He's been held because of the way he looks.Lennox is a dog. And to the officials at the Belfast, Ireland City Council, Lennox looks like a pit bull, which in their eyes makes him a dangerous dog.Never mind that Lennox is not a pit bull; he's a 7- … [Read more...]

Andy Griffith dies at 86 (video of The Andy Griffith Show episode, Dogs Dogs Dogs)

It's with a heavy heart that Mayberry fans learned today that actor Andy Griffith passed away this morning at age 86. With decades of success on television and stage, to many Griffith will always be remembered Sheriff Andy Taylor, everybody's loving father, the man who could handle any problem with grace and calm -- whether it's a quirky deputy or a son's questions about life.So what better way to remember Griffith today than with this episode of The Andy Griffith Show, "Dogs Dogs Dogs", in w … [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...]

Take Your Dog To Work Day, Friday, June 22, 2012

When you work from home, every day is Take Your Dog To Work Day! Here's Bandit, hard at work ... (c) 2012 Joanne Brokaw

This Friday is Take Your Dog To Work Day! Because I work at home, it's always Take Your Dog To Work Day. But if you bring your pup to work this week, we want to see your pictures! Post them on our Heavenly Creatures FB page and we'll share some here on the blog. Or if you take video, upload it to YouTube and share the link in the comments section below.And before you bring Fido to the office, here are a few things you need to consider to make the day enjoyable for you, your dog and your … [Read more...]

Just another day at the Funny Farm (video)

 Regular readers of my columns and personal blog (ie: my friends and family) know there's a reason I've dubbed my house "the funny farm." Not only do I write humor ... it's just madness over here. Disorganization, clutter and chaos. And that's just me. Add in the animals and it's a non-stop barrel of fun. (No, I don't have a monkey, but that would be fun, wouldn't it?)So I thought you'd enjoy this little video I captured of our rescue pup Bailey. I think she learned this trick from the … [Read more...]

A year of animals, blogging and Patheos

Bandit and Bailey, in a rare moment of calm, sit for a photo. A great deal of chicken was required for this.

I was excited this week to receive a notecard in the mail from the staff at Patheos, congratulating me on my one year anniversary blogging about animals and faith.Really? A whole year? Where did the time go?I love writing here. The columnists, bloggers and editors have been kind and welcoming, and I love hearing from readers who have shared photos, shared thoughts and engaged in discussions on a variety of animal-related topics. It's been a nice change from my decade-plus experience … [Read more...]