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[P]
Viewed Through a New Lens

By Anne Marie in Culture
Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:00:16 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Every morning, Sandy faces the day as best she can. Though an accident of birth has left her unable to perceive the world with as much clarity or cogency as she deserves, she manages to receive a certain amount of happiness and help bring joy to others as well.

Sandy is a golden retriever who lives a life of anxiety and torment, not because she is somehow different from other dogs, but because of her doghood.


It is common to hear jokes about wild packs of poodles roaming the earth in ancient times, precisely because poodles lack the capacity to fend for themselves in any meaningful manner. It's not merely that they haven't been trained properly; no successful feral poodle population has ever been recorded. It's not even that their brains aren't big enough or their teeth sharp enough; many creatures thrive with much less.

The fact is, dogs are essentially socially and emotionally retarded wolves. Whereas ordinary wolves pass through a puppy stage on their way to full adulthood, dogs are forever frozen as puppies, both physically in the length and shape of their snout and emotionally or behaviorally in their desire to play and the social conventions they exhibit. Though the Peter Pan syndrome in humans is universally recognized as a disorder to be medically treated and hopefully corrected, this same syndrome is the sine qua non of dogs.

Generally, when viewed through human eyes, these differences between dogs and wolves are seen as an unabashedly good thing. Wolves are considered vicious and uncivilized and have been hounded from the 48 contiguous US states (though their populations have made a comeback of late). In contrast, dogs epitomize the socially venerated values of obedience, diligence, and family devotion. It is no accident that Lassie has been an iconic cultural mainstay for six decades.

But underlying that facade is a problematic inner life rarely probed by humans. Anyone who's handled a poodle or terrier can attest to the deep anxieties that can pervade a pet's life. Whereas wolves exist to rely upon themselves and each other for what emotional support they need, dogs must be ever vigilant to make sure their owners to satisfy their even greater needs. Today in America, millions of dogs anxiously pass the hours while their owners are away, forever fearful that they shall be left alone in perpetuity. Anyone who returns home to be greeted by a frantic dog knows this torment (often severe enough to induce incontinence) all too well.

If we are to continue to have dogs as pets, we should strive to return them some of the dignity that has been stripped by fifteen thousand years of human intervention. Though each of us has friends and acquaintances on the lower end of the intellectual bell curve, it would be unconscionable to propose dumbing down some individuals' intellect for the purpose of making a better companion to their intellectual superiors. And yet, that is what we do to dogs everyday and no one bats an eyelash.

There are well documented benefits to humans of owning dogs. Despondent elderly nursing-home patients show remarkable improvement when regularly visited by dogs. A recent study has suggested that children suffer from fewer allergies when raised in proximity to pets; early exposure to mites and other allergens borne by dogs helps to calibrate human immune systems so as not to overreact to other innocuous environmental contaminants. But the proper response when confronted with evidence such as this is to ask what exactly is necessary to produce the beneficial effects. Wouldn't a mentally and emotionally complete animal suffice? Such an animal wouldn't be any less prone to carrying allergens, and such an animal's greater sense of dignity would be no less inspiring to psychologically depressed humans.

The chief obstacle is not figuring out what to do with existing dogs. Domesticated dogs cannot be released into the wild any more than domesticated sheep or cows could, both because they would surely die and because their co-evolution with human civilization has deprived them of any natural wild habitat. Only lunatics and fanatics would demand such a proposal be implemented. But what is considerably less clear is whether it is moral to perpetuate their populations through systematically breeding and selection of the traits that ensure their intellectual and emotional disability.

Moreover, canid domestication is not merely the legacy of a bygone era. In 1959, Soviet geneticist Dmitry Belyaev set out on a mission that continues today to develop a domesticated fox. Originally intended to help the furring industry by making it easier to raise and kill foxes for their fur, Belyaev's efforts have helped shed light on the original domestication of dogs. And yet, this marriage between the fur industry and the raising of domestic canids is somehow poignant. Though the pet industry is a far cry from the brutal fur industry, both industries share a fundamental objective in common: the creation of a race of animals willing to live under human control and for human purposes.

Short of drastically overhauling America's pet industry and our fundamental need for pets, there are some smaller changes that could be implemented. A greater reliance on cats instead of dogs for companionship would be a good start, since cats arguably are possessed of greater dignity and are not as far removed from their wild ancestors, not having been domesticated for quite as many thousands of years as dogs have. Moreover, the total volume of pets could be much reduced by switching to animals such as parrots which are inarguably more durable than dogs: the average dog only lasts a decade, whereas parrots commonly outlive their owners. Parrots, particularly African greys, are also more intelligent and offer greater opportunities for intellectual companionship.

Though it is arguable whether the plight of domesticated dogs is as bad as Ingrid pet ownership is slavery Newkirk claims, there is much room left for improvement. As computing technology improves and virtual companionship proliferates in the upcoming decades, it may become harder and harder to tolerate our current bio-engineered solutions. At a bare minimum, a small portion of the 27 billion dollars Americans spend every year on pets (of which $8 billion is already devoted to medical expenses) could be devoted to the proper research and development needed to refurbish existing breeds.

Though Sandy the golden retriever may not know what she's missing -- may not comprehend the difference between the existence she currently leads and the one she could lead had she greater emotional and intellectual faculties -- it is our duty as moral stewards to make mature decisions on her behalf. It is time to consider whether that duty impels us to re-examine the current state of the ancient symbiosis between humans and dogs.

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Related Links
o Peter Pan syndrome
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o study
o Ingrid pet ownership is slavery Newkirk
o Also by Anne Marie


Display: Sort:
Viewed Through a New Lens | 76 comments (67 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
Domestic foxes? (4.50 / 12) (#1)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:38:13 PM EST

That comment about domesticating foxes is new to me. I was unaware of such an experiment. I've found some information about it on the web, eg. here. But it seems at odds with some of the research described in Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel" which suggests that domesticatable animals are in fact very rare. Is there any critical discussion about fox domestication out there?
SIGFPE
Re: Domesticated Foxes (4.75 / 8) (#40)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:00:20 PM EST

I saw a program (I think on the Discovery Channel--was it one of those "Ultimate Guide" shows?), in which it showed a Russian man who had been attempting to domesticate foxes. He was mostly successful, but the foxes tended to retain their kitlike (kits are young foxes, for the uninitiated) characteristics, with irregular coloration on the fur, which reduced the value of the pelts. Some of the domesticated foxes had floppy ears, as opposed to erect ones. (All wild canids have erect ears, but often have floppy ears in the first few weeks of life. Typically domesticated animals tend to emphasize childlike characteristics, i.e. more docile and trusting and whatnot.)

As to the comment about dogs surviving in the wild upon being released... While this is true for many breeds (especially smaller ones who are much more sensitive to extremes of temperature), I know that my dog would be just fine in the wild. He's a hopelessly mixed-breed dog from the local shelter, and looks sort of like a coyote or dingo. When we go for walks out in the country, he usually helps himself to a couple of chipmunks or field mice as a nice little snack. :)

There have actually been studies done on dogs, determining which ones can survive best on their own. (Sorry, I don't have any links at the moment.) Dogs like Chows, German Shepherds, and Alaskan Malamutes did best, and were able to survive indefinitely on their own.



[ Parent ]

where would this lead? (3.88 / 9) (#3)
by enterfornone on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:55:37 PM EST

Sandy will never know what she's missing. Sandy will probably be perfectly happy living as she does.

A mentally disabled child may never know what she is missing, but many would like to make it possible for her disability to be reversed.

Those who possible have the power to change the situation of these two would no doubt be aware of their own limitations and would wish to reverse this.

If we are to re-engineer more intellegent dogs we could also engineer more intellegent children. Personally I find the idea of purposely engineering any creature a certain way to be very scary indeed.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
to play the devil's advocate (3.16 / 6) (#4)
by Froid on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:00:25 PM EST

We already engineered them once when we domesticated them. Why shouldn't we engineer them back to what they used to be? Isn't this like patching up the ozone layer, replanting forests, or correcting other tragic byproducts of civilization?

[ Parent ]
No. (3.28 / 7) (#6)
by Eloquence on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:32:35 PM EST

Isn't this like patching up the ozone layer, replanting forests, or correcting other tragic byproducts of civilization?

We do this for ourselves. "Anne Marie"'s argument is one based on the assumed dignity and rights of animals, not on the interests of humans.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

re: No (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by vorfeed on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:00:25 PM EST

We do this for ourselves. "Anne Marie"'s argument is one based on the assumed dignity and rights of animals, not on the interests of humans.

The problem here is that the interests of animals and those of humans are not currently reconcilable. People are too numerous and consume far more resources than they need, leaving insufficient room for truly "natural" animal life. Unless people's behavior changes drastically, the animals who will likely be the most successful in the future are those which have found, or will find, a niche in human life (rats, ravens, cats, dogs, goldfish, etc). All others will become more and more marginalized as people spread, or become extinct when they can't adjust to that kind of habitat destruction.

Retraining dogs so they can go back to the wild, without first fixing the circumstances that are destroying the wild today, will only kill the dogs in the long run. For an example, take a look at how those reintroduced wolves are doing... at least here in New Mexico, they keep getting shot by the rancher descendants of the people who killed them off a hundred years ago. We have to change the root cause of the problem, i.e. people's behavior, before we can attempt to fix the problem itself. Before we can do that, we first need to take a hard, long look at human priorities... because as they stand now, animals are not considered as important as ever-increasing standards of living for humans, and ever-increasing capital.

Anyway, my favorite solution to this is VHEMT.

Even if we don't want to go all the way, there's no question that the sheer number of humans lowers the quality of life for both people and animals. A world with fewer people is a better world for everyone...
Vorfeed's Black Metal review page
[ Parent ]

The difference... (4.28 / 7) (#44)
by error 404 on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:20:27 PM EST

An intact ozone layer and a replanted forest benefit humans.

Dogs with full canine dignity do not. As a child I met a group of dogs in a small town in Mexico that had regained their full canine dignity and thrown off their subservience to man. Such animals classify humans as food. Obviously, I survived, but there was a great deal of luck involved in that, and truly astounding amounts of pain. Not so much during the attack as during what passed for first aid in small towns in Mexico in the '60s. Functional (I survived) but not at all pleasant.

I've gotten over it - I even have a dog now. But Ralf knows his place, and knows it well. I'm not mean to him, and he likes me and I him, but there is no question, ever, about who is in charge. He seems to like it that way.

Smarter dogs, sure. But no large carnivores that are not subservient to humans in my vicinity, please. Wolves are allowed their dignity because they keep their distance. Foxes because they are small and solitary and do not threaten humans.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

This happens every day... still scared? (3.50 / 6) (#23)
by ti dave on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:25:28 AM EST

"Personally I find the idea of purposely engineering any creature a certain way to be very scary indeed."

Compare the Wild Turkey vs. the Domestic Turkey. What a sad, sad animal...
Yes, WE made that pitiful creature. To feed US.

Cheers,

ti_dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Animal Ethics (4.47 / 21) (#5)
by Eloquence on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:27:19 PM EST

We, as a society, transform pigs, cows, turkeys, chickens and many other animals of the land and sea into sausages, salami, meat, clothes, medicine and many other products. The process by which this happens is unarguably a brutal one. Yet most members of our society see no reason to abolish it.

In western cultures specifically, we have made a deal with the dogs: We don't hunt you, we don't eat you. We tolerate you. We feed you. You guard us. You protect us. You are our company. In other cultures, such a deal has not been made -- as you are aware, in some, mostly Asian countries, dogs are enjoyed just like we enjoy pigs or cows. On a plate.

I don't want to make an argument for using/eating animals here -- that would require digging up some neurological research that shows how the animal brain differs from the human brain -- let me just say that if you seriously contemplate giving dogs more "rights", you must first abolish all deliberate killing or hurting of animals. Compared with how we deal with "meat", I'd say that our deal with dogs is a pretty good one - for the dogs.

Apart from that, let's take a closer look at your arguments:

  • "Dogs are retarded"
    I would contend that in intelligence and abilities, well-trained dogs are superior to wolves (because they cannot be trained as well, and cannot teach each other).
  • "Dogs have no social skills"
    For an animal that primarily lives with a different animal (humans), social skills mean the ability to deal with this other animal in a mutually beneficial way. I would contend that this is the case for dogs, and the desire for play is an element of that equation, as I pointed out above.
  • "Dogs live a life of torment"
    You give as an example a dog that waits for his master to return. But does the fact that the dog is extremely happy to see his master again mean that he is terribly suffering in his absence? A woman whose husband leaves for a few months will be sad in the moment he leaves and happy in the moment he returns -- the time in between needs not be spent suffering (and can, as many may have found, even be spent with other men!). How is the situation any different for dogs? This is not a case of infant-mother separation.
  • "Dogs have no dignity"
    This argument is perhaps the hardest to refute, since the definition of "dignity" is quite difficiult. Does a wolf killing his own food have more dignity than a dog? Then most of us have no dignity either. If we were talking about an animal that possessed a natural desire and ability to be a free, individual decision-maker -- say, a human -- taking these away is problematic. But dogs have neither, so I don't see their status as a violation of dignity.

Of course, this opens up the question of engineered human slaves, but that is an entirely different moral question -- and a new one to me, as I must confess. Personally, I am not even sure that creating such humans would be immoral. If they don't suffer, what's wrong about it? If anyone has contrary arguments on this, I'd like to hear them.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

*chuckle* (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by John Milton on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:20:48 AM EST

I know you didn't mean anything by it, but I'm a bit amused that you compared a woman waiting for her husband to a dog waiting for its master. If k5 had more female posters, I can only imagine where this comment would have led.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Humor (3.00 / 3) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:16:45 PM EST

I thought it was pretty funny, myself. I mean, sarcasm isn't lost on women, you know. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Yes, That Makes Sense (2.00 / 7) (#21)
by moshez on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:38:35 AM EST

Certainly proves all the "pet ownership is slavery" claims -- if you have no problem with engineered human slaves, do you also have no problem with making slaves out of humans who by chance come correctly wired? For example, no ability to think about technology, and do consistently bad in IQ tests. Like afro-americans?

(I don't care if it is true that afro-americans do consistently bad in IQ tests. There are many studies going this way, which would be enough for my pseudo-pro-slavery arguments)

This is scary, and proves that indeed dog breeding diminishes the humanity in us. Of course, I agree with the previous poster who claimed that compared to pigs and cows the dogs get a remarkably good deal. Every time I think about it, I find less reasons not to be a vegeterian.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

Forbidden Thoughts (2.83 / 6) (#28)
by Eloquence on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:17:39 AM EST

if you have no problem with engineered human slaves, do you also have no problem with making slaves out of humans who by chance come correctly wired?

No. Now what? What scares me is how easy it is to wake up the "You aren't allowed to think like that" part of the K5 population. Is there an argument behind your comment, or just emotions?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Measuring intelligence & training (4.50 / 4) (#33)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:46:15 AM EST

Is the ability to train an animal a good measure of its intelligence? Dogs will perform for "pats on the head" or "good-dog" praise, where as cats can only be trained using "operant conditioning", and then its only easy if the activity is one that is "fun" for the cat (one that it will do naturally as well as on demand). Which is more intelligent? Its hard to say. The cat does less, and gets more in reward, so strategically speaking, the cat is more intelligent.

IIRC leaches can be trained to avoid areas of a tank using an electric shocks. Is that intelligent? Or is it simply a learned response to the environment?

Not that I'm saying that dogs *arn't* intelligent. Just that how easily an animal (or person) can be trained to do "tricks", is not a good measure.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Dog brains (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by Eloquence on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:54:31 PM EST

Well, training a dog is basically wiring his brain to respond a certain way under certain conditions. In terms of intelligence/education, the more neuronal links you create, the better, I would therefore assume that a trained dog has more (conditioned) intelligence than an untrained cat. But I wouldn't want to bet on it -- especially since I'm sure this is something like a holy war between cat and dog owners ;-)
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Intelligence and obedience are not the same thing. (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Trepalium on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:11:15 PM EST

I think this is the basic difference between cat owners and dog owners. Cat owners get the cat because it requires little to no training, and state the cat is intelligent because it's stuck up and refuses to do anything it doesn't want to. Dog owners get a dog because they can train the pet to do whatever they want, and state the dog is intelligent because it's able to accept training and learn. None of these have any real importance to the relative intelligence of the creature.

[ Parent ]
Other pets (3.66 / 6) (#8)
by John Milton on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:34:30 PM EST

I would have mentioned chinchillas too. I've been meaning to get one for a long time. They're pretty interesting. All of the chinchillas in the U.S. are derived from 11 that were brought here in the 20's. Just goes to show that if you pick the right genes, inbreeding isn't necessarily a problem.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Hamsters, too (3.60 / 5) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:21:34 AM EST

Apparently, all of today's hamsters are derived from a breeding stock of 3 in ancient Egypt.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Any links? (3.75 / 4) (#20)
by John Milton on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:30:56 AM EST

Do you have any links about that? I'm also curious as to what the egyptians wanted with hamsters. Pets? Exotic pastries? I have heard that it is possible for a species to rebound from an incredibly low population as long as the right genes are there. Cheetahs suffered a near extinction around 10,000 years ago if I recall correctly. Unfortunately, they haven't rebounded to well. They have lots of genetic diseases.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Origin of Syrian hamsters (4.83 / 6) (#27)
by spiralx on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:14:21 AM EST

The most detailed information I've found on the origins of Syrian hamsters (along with a pretty cute picture) can be found here. It appears as though after the first capture in 1930, only one other set was caught and bred from, in 1971.

Now these are by far the silliest of hamsters - they did nothing but ping around when we had some :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Sorry (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:15:05 PM EST

I don't have any links to back it up... this is according to a friend of mine who has a PhD in biochemistry (his specialization being in genetic engineering) and is heavily into hamsters (as pets, you pervert), so I tend to trust what he says about these things. I could ask him for some links though.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Yikes (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:02:04 PM EST

is heavily into hamsters (as pets, you pervert)

Until you said that I never thought... What a horrid visual. Although, it could explain where Illiad got the idea for the strips of the Cthia Pet and Stef...

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]

Stuffing (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:45:14 PM EST

Well, most people like to make crude jokes about hamster or gerbil stuffing (where said rodent is used as an anal masturbatory device... very cruel and disgusting).

In any case, this friend hasn't been online yet today... he'll probably be on tonight, at which point I'll get an answer if he has one.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Hamster breeding (4.00 / 3) (#59)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:24:59 PM EST

The friend of mine finally got back to me. He didn't have any URLs handy, but he happened to be reading up on this again last night ("Funny timing," he said), and he gave me a potential pointer; namely, Ranger Rick had an article on this online recently, but I can't find the articles to begin with (talk about your badly-laid-out sites). So I decided to look around some more, and I found a slide show, which says that it was originally four hamsters, not three, and that it was from the last known Syrian hamsters discovered in 1930. Still, close enough. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

so.... (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by cp on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 12:04:42 AM EST

Does that mean "close enough" now counts in horseshoes, handgrenades, and hamsters?

[ Parent ]
You missed this... (4.50 / 2) (#62)
by spiralx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:15:39 AM EST

... post on the subject. There were two groups which were bred from, one caught in 1930, the other in 1971.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I saw that one... (none / 0) (#68)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 02:03:19 PM EST

But I guess the linked article didn't sink in.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Now I get it (none / 0) (#70)
by John Milton on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:01:19 PM EST

After looking at all of the links, I understand. You said Ancient Egypt above so I was thinking Pharoahs. It suprises me that they didn't even discover the buggers all of that time. I did not know that most hamsters are syrian. If I ever get one, I'll have to name him Achmed.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Pet names (none / 0) (#71)
by spiralx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:14:27 PM EST

Our pets either get named when we're fucked or just acquire names... we had about 20 Syrians at one point so naming them became somewhat tricky. The Russians don't get named at all as they're in a colony and are pretty indentical (although the lone one in my room is referred to as "my little guy" by me usually ;), but our Syrians are Big Far Ginger and Lucky Forehead. The chins are Jub Jub, Buff Puff, Sticklebrick, Leeroy, Fuzzy Felt, Pikachu, Bora Bora and War Nog.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I envy you (none / 0) (#72)
by John Milton on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:25:15 PM EST

I've worked hard to get my family to come up with good names. I got sick of every dog being prince, rex, or princess. They seem to have developed a naming convention. Everything gets named after Xena and Hercules characters. Of course, my pets get cooler names. Of course, my pets seem to develop psychological illnesses.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
We have 9 chinchillas (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by spiralx on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:02:00 AM EST

Yes that's right, there are 9 chinchillas in our house. And a rat, 2 Syrian hamsters and 4 Russian hamsters. But chinchillas are lovely animals, with the softest fur in the known universe (it's so think they can't get fleas :), and well worth having as a pet...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

That fur is a curse (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by John Milton on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 08:52:49 PM EST

They've been hunted nearly to extinction for that fur. I would really love to have one, but I have to admit that I wouldn't be a good owner right now. I always mess up with animals. I love their ears. (sounds perverted) Their just like Mickey Mouses.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
They're easy to take care of (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by spiralx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:05:22 AM EST

Since they need a large mesh cage rather than the usual tank, to clean then out you just need to slide the tray out from underneath (or lift the cage off of whatever it is you have underneath to cage the droppings), clean it out and replace. This can be done every few days, and only takes five minutes...

They do need feeding every day and bathing in sand every few days, but that's not much of a problem...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I might try it (none / 0) (#66)
by John Milton on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:26:11 PM EST

Do you know what would be a reasonable price. At the local pet store, they're about $100. I'm not sure if that's overpriced.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Buying a chin (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by spiralx on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:30:51 AM EST

There are quite a few specialist shops online for chins - try ChinWorld for instance. Have a search around on google though, because there is a lot of variation in cage sizes and prices. They're fairly expensive because they require heavy gauge wire so a) the chins can't chew through and b) they don't hurt themselves on it. Get a big one where they've got room to jump around and get some exercise, because they develop behavioural problems in small cages unless let out for a long time every day. We've found that by getting branches or thick pieces of dowel you can easily create perches in the cage just by wedging them at both ends betwen the gaps in the cage - they love to sit on these.

You'll also need a nesting box for them to sleep in if they want, and something which you can put the dust in for their baths. We use a big wooden bowl with a fairly high rim so as to avoid having dust scattered across the room when they roll around in it :)

Prices... well we got some of ours as rescue pets from either the RSPCA or stores where they'd been for ages, and only one was from a proper breeder (it's a lovely ultraviolet one). $100 isn't so bad for a good quality chin that has been properly bred and handled by a breeder, but you could probably get one for less from a pet store if you looked, or for much less from pet rescue places (the only ones I could find were in the UK though).

Try here for a list of breeders and suppliers. Most of the online pet shops should have a chinchilla section.

And as always, about.com has a huge selection of links and info on all aspects of chinchillas.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

ChinWorld (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:40:40 PM EST

"Have a small chin? Wish your chin were bigger, more noticeable? Think your chin is losing its hair? Then come to ChinWorld, your one Internet stop for chins.

"ChinWorld. For all of your chin needs."
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Skunks (3.50 / 2) (#47)
by ZahrGnosis on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:09:09 PM EST

Now the Skunk is a great pet. Domestic skunks are becoming more common, and treated well, they seem to adjust to domesticity as well as any animal. You can find skunks now that are many generations captive bred and quite tame. Plus, for those of you in the states, the animals are native to North America... I suppose this is a definite negative for anyone outside the continent, tho, as it's probably illegal to import them, much less own them.

Just make sure you have their little stinker removed at the right age!

[ Parent ]

cats, on the other hand... (3.00 / 5) (#10)
by xriso on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:59:33 PM EST

I'd say my cat has not lost any hunting skill. Despite my family's effort to keep the cat away from the bird feeder, it still brings in birds. I have since punished it whenever it brings a bird into the house. However, I suspect that it has learned not to bring its kill inside, and merely feast outside instead. Who knows how many dead birds there are outside?
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
The difference .. (3.83 / 6) (#13)
by Eloquence on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:43:40 PM EST

.. between cats and dogs is best portrayed by Pooch and Percival from Sinfest, in particular, this strip and this one (several parts each).
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
that dog ... that cat (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by xriso on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 08:24:22 PM EST

It's almost like cartoon versions of ours. Our dog is definitely hyper, but our cool cat is also rather vicious at times. (It pounces on the dog for fun, then just lies on the ground as the dog barks in its face)
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
ever get a beaten dog? (4.85 / 21) (#11)
by anonymous cowerd on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:19:22 PM EST

I've had two dogs over the years that I got from the pound, who had obviously been beaten by their previous owners. It's pretty sad to see them cringe and whine, or dart back and snap at you, when you try to pet them on the head.

I remember this one poor mangy dog my girlfriend brought home back in 1975. We couldn't even let him in the house at first, because every time you'd come close the poor thing would piss all over the rug, and half his hair had fallen out in spots, or maybe it had just been beaten in patches off his hide. We fed Muttski raw eggs, which made his hair come back all black and shiny, and we treated him as kindly as we could. I still remember the first time we saw him wagging his tail, rather than literally dragging his ass around. After a while he got that kind of proud heads-up posture you see in the dog food ads. Of course, he became a devoted friend.

Muttski never made a sound. Never. I always assumed that he had gotten thrashed by his previous owner every time he barked. Well, one morning around three or four A.M. we're sleeping away when suddenly we get startled out of bed by this one terrifically loud bark. Sounded like an M-80 going off in the next room. At first neither of us knew what was going on, because Muttski never barked, right? When we went out in the front room, we found that some would-be burglar had pried off the screen and attempted to lift aside one of the jalousie windows in the front door, to reach through and unlock the door. Never heard him bark again, either. How's that for a signal-to-noise ratio? Top that, you thoroughbred owners! What a great dog!

Among my family's four dogs, we've got a full-sized red-haired poodle now, a purebred yet, who was almost as traumatized when we got him as Muttski was. We've had him for over a year now, and he's still kind of freaked out - if you walk up behind him and he doesn't hear you, you want to say something, so he doesn't jump up all scared when he realizes you've snuck up right next to him - but he's getting better all the time. He'll be OK sooner or later.

You've just got to pet them a lot. Like you and me, I guess.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

stint grits
darts file
gratis ways to fit tins
dapper angle
ill apple
-Barbara Baracks

That's better than the article! (3.33 / 6) (#15)
by static on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:17:03 AM EST

No really - nursing a psychologically problematic dog back to a semblance of normality is a worthwhile service. And you gave a suitably terse and informative description of that. Thank you. Wade

[ Parent ]
eeeep, don't do that (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by cp on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:29:59 AM EST

We fed Muttski raw eggs
Not only do raw eggs have high incidences of salmonella and other lovely infectious agents, they also contain avidin which binds with biotin and inhibits its absorption. In fact, this is one of the few ways to become biotin deficient, since most diets (and intestinal flora) produce enough.

[ Parent ]
Remember... (3.75 / 4) (#30)
by dgwatson on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:13:20 AM EST

This is a dog we're talking about, remember? Dog != human. They have different dietary needs and immune responses. Don't automatically assume that what's good for a human is good for a dog, or, conversely, what's bad for one is bad for another. After all, dogs can get along just fine on a mostly-meat diet, whereas that's probably not too healthy for you.

[ Parent ]
biotin deficiency is a real problem (5.00 / 4) (#31)
by speek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:47:42 AM EST

Raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency for dogs. Just cook the egg in the microwave for a minute and it's fine. Salmonella isn't much of a problem for dogs because they're carnivores - they have very short digestive tracks, which means decaying and rotting meat doesn't stay in their system long enough to make them sick.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

One of life's mysteries! (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by SIGFPE on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:01:00 PM EST

Salmonella isn't much of a problem for dogs because they're carnivores - they have very short digestive tracks
You know...you've just answered one of life's great mysteries for me. Why is that humans get ill from dodgy food but cats and dogs seem to be able to eat anything? Thanks!
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Dog food vs. human food (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by kworces on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:23:30 PM EST

Why is that humans get ill from dodgy food but cats and dogs seem to be able to eat anything?


This reminds me of a story one of my former bosses told me. He was travelling cross-country with his dog and stopped at a popular fast-food restaurant. He ordered a plain hamburger with nothing on it for the dog. The dog at the meat and got horribly sick. Thinking it was just the one time, he did the same thing at a different location of the same chain. Dog got horribly sick once again. He never ate there again.

Apparently it wasn't a problem at any of the other fast-food restaurants.

[ Parent ]
concern noted but inapplicable in present case (4.66 / 3) (#34)
by cp on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:57:35 AM EST

As speek already noted, biotin deficiency in dogs is real and not just a misguided extrapolation from human biology. Read the vitamin portion of this page, though you'd have to overlook the assertion that both raw eggs and antibiotics are necessary (which I contest). It just doesn't make any sense to feed raw eggs to help a dog's coat, when the deficiency it can cause produces "rough, lack-lustre coat, loss of hair pigmentation, [and] hair loss", among other problems.

[ Parent ]
do you know a lot about eggs? (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by alprazolam on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:19:46 PM EST

what is it about eggs (cooked or uncooked) that's good for a dog's hair?

[ Parent ]
Raw Eggs (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by Skeevy on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:33:32 AM EST

Eggs have a salmonella infection rate of less than one in one thousand, and always have, current perceptions of the mistreatment of chickens aside. It's still almost perfectly safe to eat raw eggs.

As for dogs, they can eat nearly anything. In fact, they have special enzymes that allow them to extract nutrition from relatively sparse sources, like, say, feces. Dogs will eat cat feces (a favorite of my neighbor's dog), dog feces, and even human feces, and still get nutrients out of it.

How's that for a robust digestive system?

[ Parent ]
Dog = Domestic Wolf, Human = Domestic Primate (4.60 / 20) (#17)
by Blarney on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:31:34 AM EST

If we pity the poor dog for maintaining an infantile form and mental attitude for its entire life, shouldn't we pity ourselves for maintaining the physical and mental form of a juvenile primate?

Both humans and dogs display what is called neoteny - the retaining of infantile features into adulthood. We humans pay the price of never achieving the muscular power and coordination of a full-grown primate, but receive the benefit of a vastly prolonged period of neural plasticity. Most humans are capable of learning new concepts well into middle age, and some can learn up until the end of a natural lifespan, while other primates can only learn new behaviors during a short period of their youth. The same thing has happened to dogs as part of their evolution away from their wolflike ancestors.

Domestication happened to both humans and dogs. It is pointless to say that we domesticated the dogs, because who domesticated us? Probably both humans and dogs evolved along similar paths for a time, worked together to help each other survive, and ended up the way we are. Natural selection aided this process, because the intelligence gains from neoteny can overcome the resultant physical disabilities. Great apes are very rare - humans are plentiful. Wolves are rare - dogs are plentiful. As a means of survival to breeding age, neoteny works.

Turning dogs back into wolves is as idiotic an idea as turning oneself into an ape.



Puppies? (3.40 / 10) (#22)
by i on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:59:35 AM EST

No, just subordinate wolves. The role of dominant wolf is assumed by you, the owner. Your family is the pack. Strangers are wolves from other packs. That's how your dog sees the world.

The dominant role is easy to assume with puddles, and a little bit more difficult with, say, a Rotweiler.



and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

Where is the line drawn? (3.00 / 7) (#24)
by Xeriar on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:50:28 AM EST

At what point is a creature or machine too advanced for us to use?

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
Yes, the world needs more sensitivity.. (4.22 / 9) (#32)
by jabber on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:35:47 AM EST

Instead of calling them 'dogs', we should be refering to them as 'domestic companions of the canine persuasion'. Instead of 'retarded' (HOW DARE YOU) they are 'differently motivated'. They are not 'mutts' or 'mixed breeds' - how insensitive, they are 'naturally hybridized', 'evolutionarily enabled' and 'alternatively enhanced'.

And what might we propose as a resolution to the servitude of domesticated canids?
May I be the first to suggest share-crapping??

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Poodles (4.25 / 8) (#35)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:06:05 PM EST

It is common to hear jokes about wild packs of poodles roaming the earth in ancient times, precisely because poodles lack the capacity to fend for themselves in any meaningful manner. It's not merely that they haven't been trained properly; no successful feral poodle population has ever been recorded. It's not even that their brains aren't big enough or their teeth sharp enough; many creatures thrive with much less.

As an interesting side note, poodles were originally bred to be German hunting dogs. Seriously. Somebody dun' fucked up.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

And the haircut is *useful*, too. (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by gandrews on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:29:08 PM EST

In fact, poodles' ridiculous haircuts served a purpose in this line of work. Not the big heart-shaped clips and the pastel pink dye jobs, mind you, but the pompoms served to keep their joints warm in cold water while not dragging them down like an unclipped coat would. the more you know! ====-*
--------------------------------------------------
The Dancing Sausage Web Journal - Radio Free Hold Music
[ Parent ]
Breeding (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by pallex on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:47:01 PM EST

Sorry, no footnotes or links or anything, but its my understanding that 99% ( i made that figure up, btw) of dog-breeds have been created by mankind in the last 200 or so years, by selective breeding.
Its hard to imagine a poodle beating another animal at anything, let along evolution! What died to allow poodles to flourish? :)


[ Parent ]
Poodles (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by DJBongHit on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 03:02:00 PM EST

What died to allow poodles to flourish? :)

I dunno... butterflies? :)

Seriously, though, my stepmom has a poodle (he's a toy poodle, but he's small for a toy, about the size of a teacup poodle). He's about the size of one of my shoes, and neurotic. He won't cross shiny floors, he's scared of noodles, and he pukes all the time. You can just tell this is an animal that's not supposed to exist. He's getting old, too (I think he just turned 11).

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Nothing died (none / 0) (#74)
by Corwin on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:25:53 AM EST

People instead decided that the poodles were cute dogs and bred them down to a much smaller and 'adorable' size. There still exist large hunting poodles. I used to live near a couple of them. Every day while walking to Jr. High school two poodles as big as I was would come charging across the backyard of their house making more noise than you can imagine, with teeth that seemed to be as big as my forefinger. Not being on a leash, I was very glad that the yard was fenced off. With a very tall fence. Those poodles would have been deadly if they had gotten loose.

There was a Doberman near me in the other direction, and really I have no idea which dog would have won if they had ever gotten into a scuffle.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
You're right... (4.28 / 7) (#46)
by clarioke on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:01:29 PM EST

...we need more sensitivity.

TO PEOPLE.

Ever visit a mental institution? A nursing home? I volunteered at a local nursing home and I can tell you some of those people were treated with far less respect than a pet.

Also. My dog and my mom enjoyed a beautiful friendship. If you treat animals with some sense of dignity, they will respond. Same with people.

Let's try being more sensitive to people first.

peace,
.c.

Training and Skinnerites and Goldens (4.66 / 9) (#51)
by yankeehack on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:06:39 PM EST

I was writing this as a reply to something else and it grew. Anyway, I just wanted to note that there is a big debate going on in the dog world about which training philosophy is effective. I thought that this was interesting, but because it touches upon several points that posters have written about.

On the one hand there are the Skinner-ites who like to point out that a dog is a dog, not a human. They also make great pains to note that the whole master/slave "you've got to be at the head of the pack" theory is a myth, and that dogs are only motivated by one thing--their own needs. These operant conditioning folks propose a food based training program in which the dog is trained by using treats at first, and then as the command is learned, gradually weaning the dog off the treat and subsituting the treat for click (with a clicking device) which the dog associates as praise. This is called clicker training. A good book about this method is called Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.

On the other hand, there are trainers who like using praise and sometimes brief physical corrections with a leash. Well known proponents of this method include Carol Lea Benjamin who authored the book Mother Knows Bestand The Monks of New Skete who wrote The Art of Raising a Puppy. Ironically enough, these are the same people who say that you must assert your alpha position in the pack and insist that a dog is motivated by praise or conversely enough the tone of your voice.

In addition, I wanted to note just one more thing. Today's breeders are way more sophisticated than what Anne Marie wants you to believe. During my months long search for a puppy, I have been speaking with breeders and fanciers, all with multiple years of experience with dogs and they care about their dogs and the breeds they raise. Most people don't know this, but there are several different lines of characteristics in the Golden Retriever breed (and you should be capitalizing the name of the breed). The breed standard, which can be found here, calls for intelligent, friendly dogs with certain physical characteristics. The puppy I'm bringing home in two months, for example, comes from a line of agile, lithe Goldens who excel in birding, swimming, retrieving and companionship. There are other lines of Goldens who excel in certain sports like agility, obiedience, luring and flyball. And there are other Goldens who excel at being a great companion. And to tell you about the medical and genetic testing that breeders do for their dogs would concern a whole other post. Sure, there are high strung dogs out there, but a Golden is *not* one of those breeds (and Anne Marie is on crack).

Here's hoping that this Democratic Senator will run for President in 2004.

They're called dingos. (4.57 / 7) (#52)
by jason on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:37:22 PM EST

Dingos are the wild species of dog in Australia. Same genus, same species as domestic dogs. I don't believe people think dingos possess great dignity. There is plenty of information on primitive / wild dogs available. Feral dogs fend for themselves quite well in rural areas regardless of breed. Cars are the main predator in urban ones.

Separation anxiety is a symptom of poor handling. It, like many anxieties in people and animals, can be curbed through proper training. If the dogs you know suffer from behavioral problems, ask their owners to look into professional training. You can find good trainers by asking animal control and your local sheriff's office. Responsible pet stores often offer inexpensive yet worthwhile training classes. Dogs (and their owners) genuinely benefit from solid training.

Remember that dogs naturally fall into a dominance relationship. The trick with training is to use your extra abilities as a human to move it beyond either the stereotypical ``master-slave'' relationship (or the more natural ``I'll kill you if you get in my way'' one).

Oh, and terriers are fierce hunters. The larger ones can become incredible rescue dogs. Jack Russells and pit bulls are both terriers. Be sure you haven't mistaken active energy for "deep anxieties." Poodles need not be the little fluffy things in your imagination, either. Pomeranians, on the other hand...

Jason

View through the DOG lens dammit (4.60 / 10) (#53)
by Wondertoad on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:30:34 PM EST

When looking at dog behavior, our response is to do what we do with all behavior - judge it as if it was human. In fact, when we do this, we make the biggest mistakes of all in learning to live with our canine pals.

After living with dogs and reading about dog behavior, you start to understand where the dogs are coming from. They have an intricate language that we don't understand. Any dog will tell you exactly what he thinks of you, as long as you're willing to speak his language.

And so, any article that alleges to be on the side of the dogs had better "speak dog". Otherwise, it's just putting a different human spin on things. And in this case, "viewed through a new lens" doesn't mean viewed from the point of view of the dog. For example:

Today in America, millions of dogs anxiously pass the hours while their owners are away, forever fearful that they shall be left alone in perpetuity. Anyone who returns home to be greeted by a frantic dog knows this torment (often severe enough to induce incontinence) all too well.

The excitement of the returning owner is actually caused by owners that accidentally reinforce that excitement. If you have a new puppy, and don't get all excited when you come home - just walk in and pretend it's normal - you'll find that the dog finds it to be normal as well. The same is true of thunder, feeding time, walk time, etc. The dog takes his cues from you.

What looks like incontinence is actually submissive urination. The dog is telling you that you are its superior. It's peeing on purpose. There are ways to discourage this response.

Dogs would be "happier" if you were home. They are pack animals, and their instinct is to maintain the pack. This doesn't mean they "worry" if you are not there. The whole concept of "happy" and "worry" is human. There are similarities to human emotion in dog behavior, but there are also huge differences, and it's unfair to say that their "worry" is traumatic. It's certainly not traumatic in the same sense that something would be traumatic to a human.

I think that, all other things being equal, if it were up to the dog, the dog would choose to live with humans. To the dog, the human is an outstanding pack member. To the dog, the human is the most remarkable hunter/gatherer ever. The dog is stunned that you are able to find and bring home food every single day - food that he cannot seem to find. You come home from the market with bags of amazing smells - it's like you have magical powers.

Finally, if you think you understand the dog-human relationship, consider this. If you share a home with your dog, and you die, and there are no other sources of food, after a couple of days the dog will eat you.

To quote a quote... (5.00 / 3) (#54)
by mindstrm on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:59:45 PM EST

"If you treat your dog like a person, expect him to treat you like a dog"



[ Parent ]
<shrug> (4.33 / 3) (#57)
by John Miles on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:23:44 PM EST

If you share a home with your dog, and you die, and there are no other sources of food, after a couple of days the dog will eat you.

So will another human being, if placed in analogous circumstances.


For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Cats (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by Skeevy on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:22:22 AM EST

You have obviously not been around any real variety of cats. Many cats suffer from the same problems of socal and emotional retardation that dogs do. Dogs are no more removed from feral life than are cats.

In fact, due to their social structure, cats are generally more socially retarded than are dogs. Dogs are social animals and, in the wild, live, run, and hunt in packs. Dogs' masters are sufficient surrogates to that pack.

Cats, on the other hand, are primarily solitary creatures as adults (they still have sophisticated social interactions, however). By keeping cats as pets, we replace their mothers and keep them in a state of perpetual kittendom. Kittens taken from their mother at an early age never have the opportunity to develop the proper behaviors and ettiquite required to interact with other cats.

Worse, cats suffer from a much greater rate of abandonment than dogs, mostly due to the misconception that all cats are automatically capable of taking care of themselves. This is definitely not true. Many abandoned cats starve because they don't know how to obtain food, or are killed in fights with other cats (or die from infections resulting from such fights) because they lack the proper social skills. (While cats instinctively know how to hunt prey, they must learn to kill and that such prey is food.)

Much of your essay could apply to the plights of cats as well, simply by simple word substitution.



The Straight Dope on cats and dogs (4.66 / 3) (#65)
by Another Scott on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:02:26 PM EST

(disclaimer - I grew up with cats and have a dog now.)

Cecil Adam's "The Straight Dope" column recently addressed the Cats versus Dogs debate. It seems cats are less reticent than dogs about eating their dead owners...

Will cats eat their owners?

I was attending the 1992 American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference in New Orleans and a forensic pathologist related the following story (paraphrased as best as memory will serve): "Sometimes, when an individual living alone dies unexpectedly, several days may pass before anyone takes notice. Some of these individuals may own a dog or a cat, which will go unfed. In my experience, a dog may go for several days before finally resorting to eating the owner's body. A cat, on the other hand, will only wait a day or two. Just goes to show you which is more loyal. So, the next time you're falling asleep on the couch with the football game on, take a look at your cat. He's not watching you because he's enamored of you; he's checking to see if your chest is still moving." Oh, those wacky pathologists.

Just something to think about. ;-)

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

Viewed Through a New Lens | 76 comments (67 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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