All posts tagged: dogwalking
Canines and humans sense quantity in similar regions of the brain

Researchers have found yet another way that humans and dogs are of one mind. This time, the subject of the similarity is how they process concepts of quantity—an important ability for many animals. Knowing roughly how many predators are approaching or how many food items are available for foraging has survival advantages. So, it is little wonder many animals have a basic sensitivity to quantity, and there is a term for it—numerosity.

To address canine numerosity, Lauren Aulet, a graduate student at Emory University working with Gregory Berns, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study dogs’ brains while they viewed various quantities of dots. The area of the dot array was always the same, but the number of dots within it varied. The dogs in the study have been trained to sit still during the fMRI. They passively watched various groups of dots as they were flashed on a screen.


Ever since humans teamed up with dogs, lo the many millennia ago, they have been not just our invaluable co-workers but have offered us their companionship and aided in our emotional well-being. There are also so many studies about the healthful benefits that dogs bring to us from our birth and through our whole lives. Now  we might add another reason why dogs are truly our first and best friends. A new study from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has shown that exposure to a pet dog from an early age may lessen the development of schizophrenia as an adult.

Gustave Caillebotte, Le Pont de l’Europe, 1876. Oil on canvas, 49 x 71 in. Collection of the Association des Amis du Petit Palais, Genève

Gustave Caillebotte’s Le Pont de l’Europe is a classic example of French Impressionism. In it, the artist represents a Paris street scene: a striding man and a strolling woman; a workman/artisan looking over the bridge at the Saint-Lazare train station; and a jaunty dog moving with a purposeful, self-directed gait. (Most critics have assumed that the dog’s person is trailing after him, similarly to the artist’s painting Richard Gallo with His Dog Dick at Petit Gennevilliers.) The dog’s presence in the painting’s foreground in freezeframe stillness has a pre-cinematic effect, and the way his shadow parallels the shadow cast by the bridge’s girders reinforces its perspective.

Class designs a custom cart for a dog born without front legs

Louie is trying out his new custom mobility cart, the result of a project undertaken by first-year engineering students under the guidance of Dr. Katie Kalscheur, the lecturer who teaches the course.

Louie, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever mix who belongs to Pat and Pete Sammataro of Madison, Wisconsin, was born without front legs. Originally, the breeder was planning to euthanize Louie, but after spending some time with another family, he eventually found his forever home with the Sammataros. Though the dog can get around with a crawling and scooting motion, Pat and Pete wanted him to be able to walk further, even going on walks like other dogs do.

New trends in animal care
Courtesy of Larimer Humane Society /

Good news! In many parts of the country, animal shelters are morphing into places that are able to do more to benefit the communities they serve. The days when abandoned companion animals were simply housed, fed and kept out of harm’s way while awaiting adoption are becoming a thing of the past, as evidenced by several developing trends.


Shelters are far more animal-centric than ever before. The best of them have evolved into community centers focused on animal welfare— vibrant places devoted to training, behavior modification, research, community interaction, educational programs and a specialized branch of veterinary medicine. Piped-in music, rotating sensory stimulation, manners training, play groups, enrichment, more comfortable bedding, more activities, better spaces: shelters are working to improve life for the animals in every way and at every stage of the experience.

Dog’s name and age: Riley, 7 years

Nicknames: RyRy, Monkey, Piggy and Honey

Adoption Story: My partner had recently lost his childhood dog and sought comfort in going to the Butte Humane Society after work to get his dog fix, giving the dogs there some love. No long after, he brought me to meet Riley and we instantly fell in love.

Riley has FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). She wants to be present for everything mom and dad do. Riley lives a very active life and loves every second of it. She is ball-obsessed (hence the chuck-it by her feet), loves playing fetch, swimming (in any body of water she can find), dog parks, hikes and nature walks. She ends each day by relaxing at home with her two favorite people.


Dog’s name and age: Papa, 9 years

Nicknames: Papa Bear, Papa-san, Umpapa

Adoption Story: It had been 6 months since my fur companion, Sundance Kid, passed. I was cruising the NorCal Boxer Rescue adoptable dog site and Papa immediately stood out because a former (and favorite) manager’s last name is Papa. It felt like a cosmic sign that Papa was the companion for me. I support and volunteer for , this picture of Papa was taken while strutting for for NCBR at the annual Best Friends San Francisco SYM Fundraiser.

A rare genetic mutation could result in dogs being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

If not identified before surgery, a rare genetic mutation could result in your dog being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

Scientists at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine initially discovered the mutation in greyhounds and more recently in other common dog breeds.

The research group, a member of the Program in Individualized Medicine (PrIMe), published its findings last week  in Scientific Reports.

Pets Sitters in Paradise

After the family dog died of old age and their two sons started careers, Gregg and Amber Russell faced a quandary common among retirees: Should they look for a new dog and enjoy the fun and companionship dogs offer? Or should they remain pet-free so they could travel wherever and whenever they choose?

Lucky for them, they found a way to do both: as pet sitters for the well-to-do in places as various as Hawaii, southern Spain, the Caribbean islands, British Columbia, New York City and more.

The Russells don’t get paid for pet sitting, nor are they reimbursed for airfare, but they do live in style in interesting locations, usually with the use of the family car and, sometimes, maid service. “We feel like we hit the jackpot,” says Amber.