Animal Joy, Sorrow & Empathy — Why these emotions matter!

We have a wonderful new book to recommend on the emotional lives of animals. The book explores animal joy, sorrow and empathy … and why they matter!

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter (2007)
Written by Marc Bekoff. Any dog owner knows that her own pet has feelings, but what evidence exists beyond the anecdotal, and what does this evidence teach us? Bekoff, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Colorado, pores through decades of animal research-behavioral, neurochemical, psychological and environmental-to answer that question, compelling readers to accept both the existence and significance of animal emotions. Seated in the most primitive structures of the brain (pleasure receptors, for example, are biologically correlative in all mammals), emotions have a long evolutionary history. Indeed, as vertebrates became more complex, they developed ever more complex emotional and social lives, “setting rules” that permit group living-a far better survival strategy than going solo.

Along the way, Bekoff forces the reader to re-examine the nature of human beings; our species could not have persevered through the past 100,000 years without the evolution of strong and cohesive social relationships cemented with emotions, a conclusion contrary to contemporary pop sociology notions that prioritize individualism and competition. He also explores, painfully but honestly, the abuse animals regularly withstand in factory farms, research centers and elsewhere, and calls on fellow scientists to practice their discipline with “heart.”

Demonstrating the far-reaching implications for readers’ relationships with any number of living beings, Bekoff’s book is profound, thought-provoking and even touching.

Golden Retriever Lucy – Getting into shape

Overweight Pets Go To ‘VetHab’
By Kim Genardo, “Your Life” Reporter

RALEIGH, N.C. — With 60 percent of the American workforce either obese or overweight, it only stands to reason the dog waiting at home may be a bit overweight as well.

Now there are workout facilities for pets as well. Whether or not you’ve got two legs or four, an inactive lifestyle could cost you your health. Just like us, overweight dogs are less physical and at greater risk for diabetes.

So when dogs need to slim down often times their veterinarians refer them to “VetHab” in Raleigh.

“She was having a really hard time getting up the stairs, getting into our van,” said Ronnie Grosshandler. And then Grosshandler felt lumps along her golden retriever’s ribs and feared the worst. “Good news is she didn’t have cancer,” Grosshandler said. “Bad news was the vet told me that was three sets of love handles on her back.”

Lucy tipped the scale at 87 pounds and the extra weight put a strain on her hips. Plus, she suffered from osteoarthritis. The weight had to come off.

I would say in 90 to 95 percent of our cases we’re able to get weight off of them and get them to healthy weight,” said Dr. John Sherman.

First, Sherman limited the calories in the dog’s diet plan. Her treat? Believe it or not, rice cakes. As for exercise, Lucy’s day began by relaxing.

There’s more . . . .

Americans tenderly stuffing their pets with drugs

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Americans tenderly stuffing their pets with drugs

By Jeff Donn, Brisbane TImes

With aging, it’s become a routine faithfully endured by the Guffords. Each day starts with a blood sugar check and a shot of insulin. Then a couple of pills, maybe mashed into a bowl of tuna and canned carrots. Mixed with dry chow. All for their 12-year-old dog.

Brownie takes more drugs than his human companions put together. He has been medicated in recent months for diabetes, infections, high blood pressure, and his finicky gut that rebels at red meat. Since 2005, he has taken drugs for everything from anemia to a spider bite.

“He’s our baby, he’s a family member, I would want somebody to do that for me,” explains Ann Gufford.

She estimates spending $US5,000 ($A6,068) over the last two years on medicine for her baby, a mixed beagle-cocker spaniel. He has lost a couple of steps on the squirrels outside their little home near Goldsboro. His hearing is failing. Still, without some of the drugs, he’d probably be gone. “You cannot put a price on that,” says Mrs Gufford.

There’s lots more . . . .