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For Animal Lovers - Dog Brain Research


New research on  dog's brains strongly suggests they should be better protected by policy responses and social practices.

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Pets as Persons

From the story, in which they trained some dogs to have MRI's:

But now, by using the M.R.I. to push away the limitations of behaviorism, we can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.

One alternative is a sort of limited personhood for animals that show neurobiological evidence of positive emotions. Many rescue groups already use the label of “guardian” to describe human caregivers, binding the human to his ward with an implicit responsibility to care for her. Failure to act as a good guardian runs the risk of having the dog placed elsewhere. But there are no laws that cover animals as wards, so the patchwork of rescue groups that operate under a guardianship model have little legal foundation to protect the animals’ interest.

If we went a step further and granted dogs rights of personhood, they would be afforded additional protection against exploitation. Puppy mills, laboratory dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person.

The author thinks it will be a while before we really treat dogs (I'd expand it to include other animals) as persons.

We"granted" out pets personhood a while back and couldn't be happier. I still follow the rule taught by the Humane Society, that sometimes we humans know things that our pets don't and must help them accordingly, but for most day to day living, treating a pet like a friend and family member seems much better than treating them like property.

 
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wonderful news

I am currently reading "Inside of a Dog: What dogs see, smell, and know" by Alexandra Horowitz. Of course anyone who loves their animals knows how they communicate and that they feel. These new scientific findings better explain what animal people well know and experience with their animals daily.

Many times animals know things we don't and help us accordingly. My Chihuahuas have found my keys, glasses, wallet, etc (I can't hear). We know animals sense/smell earthquakes and storms coming, and the stories of dogs rescuing babies and families are being reported more often in the news.
Now that they seem to be able to correlate human like emotions in dogs (no surprise to us) I think animal advocates now have some really powerful arguments on why anything less than emergency status responses to any animal in distress will take some accountability.

 
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animal communication

One of the first rules of animal communication is to be open to the idea that it is possible. : )

Communication is far more than talking, and looking for the non-verbal clues from pets is essential. Most pets are pretty good at being able to get human attention for help with doors and food. It's the other things that take some practice.

If my cat wants to jump to a high place, she'll look at it, then look at me. I'm supposed to go get into a position so she can hop up on my back and be elevated to the shelf or closet. She meows before jumping on me to confirm I'm not going to move, and I let her know I'm ready for her to jump. (If she wants to go out, she almost says the word.)

Our other cat is a bit of a cypher. She comes and sits and stares when she wants help with something. I usually have to ask her to go show me what she wants, and then I follow her until we find the answer.

Must be time to watch UP again, with the dogs that have collars allowing them to speak. "Squirrel!"

 

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