Saturday, March 31, 2018

Is This Dog Actually Happy?

CreditJaromir Chalabala/EyeEm, via Getty Images

By Alexandra Horowitz
March 27, 2018

What is it like to be a dog?

I’ve been in search of the answer to that puzzling question by way of science. I’m a researcher of dog behavior and cognition: I study how dogs perceive the world and interact with one another and with people. Even in those moments when I wrest myself away from my subjects, the question stirs in my head. For everywhere I look, I find myself faced with dogs.

Dogs in movies, GIFs and memes — peppering Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. The Super Bowl has a puppy alternative; dogs in advertisements sell everything from toilet paper to tacos. Weirdly, the omnipresence of my favorite subject has begun making me grumpy, not elated. As dogs themselves produce a profound anti-grumpiness in me, I began to wonder why. Why can’t I stand to look at one more photo of a “funny dog”?

The reason is that these dogs are but furry emoji: stand-ins for emotions and sentiment. Each representation diminishes this complex, impressive creature to an object of our most banal imagination. As the philosopher Lori Gruen has observed, to be seen as something other than what one is, or to be the object of laughter, robs one of dignity. Such treatment may not be mortifying to the dog, perhaps (in fact, that’s a legitimate question, whether dogs can feel mortified; I remain agnostic); but it is degrading to the species.

Despite the ubiquity of dogs in our culture, there is much we don’t know about them. My field is in its infancy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Being a pet sitter can sometimes be lonely. I was so used to having co-workers when I was in the banking industry. I needed someone to share ideas and dreams with so I started my own networking group of professional pet sitters. It's called Bradenton/Sarasota Professional Pet Sitters and we are a group of sitters from Manatee and Sarasota counties. We have a closed Facebook group where we seek each other's advice, support each other and refer each other to pet parents when we can't take a job. Sometimes we meet for coffee or breakfast. Of course, we can't all make it at once due to the nature of our work. Our newest member is Susan Starck Romano of Susie's Safe at Home Pet Sitting, LLC. She recently moved here from PA and is working on getting her business built up like she had it back home. Susie is really sweet and she knows her business. Check her out in my latest interview on Society Bytes Radio! Listen to "SUSAN ROMANO" on Spreaker.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Darcy's Corner: Airlines and Pets

In view of the United Airlines pet tragedy this week - actually three of them - we wanted you to know the guidelines for each airlines. Here is a great article from Bring Fido:

Airline Pet Policies
Planning to fly with your dog? While air travel can be a quick way to get Fido from one place to another, you should know that every airline has different rules about transporting pets. Some allow small dogs to travel in the aircraft cabin as part of your carry-on luggage allowance, while others will only allow pets to travel in the cargo area, and fees can vary from nothing at all to more than $500. Also, most airlines only allow one or two dogs on each flight, so always make sure a "seat" is available for your dog BEFORE buying your own ticket.

To take off without a hitch, please read our Ten Tips for Flying with Fido, and familiarize yourself with current U.S. Travel Regulations or International Pet Travel restrictions before you go. Have a great trip!