Who Are We to Dogs?

This is an authentic question: ie, I don't have the answer. But it's a great question, posed by a seminar attendee, and also by someone who reads the blog. Do dogs think we are mutant dogs? Pathetic replicates who never grow out of our flat, puppy faces (we never grow muzzles) and can't use our mouths but make up for it endearingly with our cute, floppy paws? And surely they believe we can't smell--at all. My guy Jim speculated that just as people often assume that animals can't [fill-in-the-blanks: think in abstractions or strategize or be conscious) because they can't do it with the depth of skill that we do, perhaps dogs assume we can't smell anything at all, because we are so horrifically bad at it. On the one hand, you could argue that dogs behave toward us as they do other dogs: Read More

Too cold; Feed the birds

It was 26 below this morning on the thermometer by the kitchen window, 36 below at a neighbor's. I suspect the temperature in the barn, which is down the hill from the house, was somewhere in between. Good grief. I was born in Arizona, and the concept that it is MUCH warmer in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator than it is outside just doesn't compute. It seems so very, very wrong. Lassie couldn't handle it at all. I took her out this morning, hoping she could urinate or defecate in seconds, but she stood outside for a few seconds and than ran inside and pooped on the dining room floor. She looked up at me while she did so as if she was concerned about what she was doing.... Am I being problematically anthropomorphic for thinking she felt unease about going in the house? (She has Read More