Happiness in Animals?

Callie & Jenny

Of course! It seems like a simple question, but as is often the case, our big, complicated brains allow us to add nuance to the answer. I've gone on record as arguing that yes indeed, mammals like dogs and horses can be happy, how could they not be? Feeling good is a way for the body to tell the brain (as if they were separate, forgive me for this simplistic duality) that it is in an environment that is safe and healthy. The neuro-hormones associated with happiness, like dopamine and oxytocin are shared by all mammals, and expressive mammals like dogs have the same facial expressions as we do when we are happy ourselves. I write about this in the book For the Love of a Dog and show examples in the DVD of the same name. However, I was reminded that the question has more depth than "can a Read More

BFF in Pennsylvania, Power of Pets in Madison WI

BFF Speakers 2010

A quick post today, trying to catch up before I leave for Toronto on Friday.  Sunday at the BFF conference was great, I'll write a post soon about Pam Reid's talks on cognition, her talk about stress, and Emily Levine's talk on compulsive disorders in dogs.  All of them were great, very valuable. I thought this conference had the highest level of talks I've seen, and many others seemed to agree. Although it's hard to pack up and go before you have your paws on the ground, I'm very much looking forward to meeting folks in Toronto, and to traveling to Seattle to speak in mid-September. It is hard to turn around this fast when you've been traveling, leaving the farm and the dogs, sheep and Sushi, I won't pretend it's not, but I do meet such interesting people and always learn so much. I Read More