Learning from a Dog’s Perspective; Winter Wildlife

Whoops... thought I  had posted this last week.  eeeps. Willie had smoke coming out of his ears last Thursday night; I felt so sorry for him. I was giving a book talk at the west side Madison Border's and brought Willie along to illustrate some of the tricks that Karen and I write about in Play Together, Stay Together.  He had little trouble with the ones he knows well, but got hung up on transferring a cue from one hand to the other. I have been teaching him to do a 'high five' when I hold my hand up vertically, finger tips pointing upward, and to touch his nose to my hand when it is held horizontally, fingers pointing sideways. That's not a trivial distinction to get, it took him a few days to get it when presented the cue with my right hand. The day before the talk I had asked him to Read More

Paw Injury Makes Typing Difficult!

Apologies... I sliced the tip of my finger with a newly sharpened knife and it makes typing ridiculously slow and tedious.  As a result I am terribly behind in most everything I have to do on a computer, which more often than not, is most everything I have to do for much of the day. At least it's not a dog's paw--I had a dog who badly cut his a pad on his paw and it was absurd trying to keep it clean and dry! In lieu of words, here are 2 photos a fantastic photographer, Nic Berard, took of Will (the same photographer who did the photos on the top of the blog and website), Lassie and me.  I love the one of Will playing because he looks half insane (and who doesn't when they are completely lost in exuberance?) and I love that Lassie is in the background looking engaged and youthful (she was Read More

Human-Animal Relationships; People and Dogs

I started teaching my University of Wisconsin course yesterday, titled "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships." It is, granted, a lot of work, but I love doing it. I love the intellectual stimulation it creates, and I love working with 150 smart, motivated young people with minds like steel traps (okay, most of them) who are hungry to learn how to relate their education with the day-to-day issues of life.  We'll be talking tomorrow about "humans and animals." Or, is it "humans, and other animals?" What really makes us different from the rest of the animal world, and what makes us the same? I love thinking about those questions, and I love how dogs are always reminding me that while we humans are special... different in so many ways than all the other animals on earth, Read More

Lambs Thriving, Dogs Playing Is Warming My Heart

Much warmer now, might even be up to 20 degrees. Wow, feels like an entirely different place. The lambs are doing beautifully. On Sunday Jim and I opened up the panel dividing the two ewes with lambs and let them all in together. We wanted to wait to be sure that the lambs were well bonded to their moms (and vice versa) and that they were stable and healthy enough to tolerate being shoved around a bit by the ewe that wasn't their mom. Given how vigorous Snickers was (I am being so kind here, using the word vigorous instead of several others I can think of) when she was trying to reject her own little ewe lamb, I didn't want to subject the single lamb to that kind of abuse. However, we don't call him White Dude for nothing. He looks like he's in training for a starring role in professional Read More