Sclera

Or: “How humans teamed up with canines to send the Neanderthals into extinction”.

OK, I haven’t actually read the book nor any of the articles about this new concept but after my parents summarized the content of the theory I had to think…it took y’all this long to figure this out?  I mean it’s been a 40 thousand years or so!  What have you been doing all that time?  I’m not bragging but if I had that much time I certainly would have come up with something a little more elaborate and insightful.  With that said, I still think it is worth checking it out.  I mean, for a person, this woman was pretty clever to come up with this idea.

“Consider the whites of our eyes, she* states. The wolf possesses white sclera as does Homo sapiens though, crucially, it is the only primate that has them.”

*Pat Shipman

This reminds me of some other experiments people have done to show how clever us dogs are at interpreting signals from humans – visual or auditory.  In one study, people hid a treat and asked us to find it among a number of different possibilities.  They did help out by establishing eye contact with us and then glancing where the treat was hidden.  We got it right almost every time…presumably they did something to disguise the smell since we can sniff things out like nobody.

This is a video of that experiment (starting at around 3:20):

(or a longer version of the same studies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4mTgXkIVwg)

And an article from The New Yorker that describes our smelling aptitude (not to mention our incredible work ethic):

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/02/27/beware-of-the-dogs

Smell that man

There is also a newer study showing we can follow auditory directions pretty good as well.

http://www.zmescience.com/science/biology/dogs-hidden-food-auditory-08052014/

I hope this post doesn’t come across sounding egotistical or self-congratulatory but I just think it is about time you all thanked us for getting rid of those pesky Neanderthals.

Neanderthals

Take care,

Mo-Tor

Great Dog

If you are interested in the book you can order it from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674736761/ref=nosim/0sil8

Otherwise you can take a few moments to skim these articles to get some more details:

http://learningfromdogs.com/category/art/

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/humanitys-best-friend-how-dogs-may-have-helped-humans-beat-the-neanderthals/257145/

Sorry about all the reading assignments 🙂

However, if this just whetted your appetite…something I am very familiar with…then there is this book:

The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

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Homework…Part 1

I hear a lot of complaining from you people about having to go to work, do chores, and the kids in the neighborhood going on about all the homework they get assigned during the week.  Well, I don’t really have much sympathy.  First, you get your weekends off – or at least some of you do.  Second, when you get old enough (say, like Sammy), you get to “retire” from work.  We dogs don’t get any of those breaks.  Our work starts the day we are born and continues through to the day we go off to college.  As I mentioned, one of my daily jobs is to guard our yard.  This can be poking my head behind the curtains in the morning to check out the lay of the land in the neighborhood or staying on guard at the sliding door all day when my parents are at work.  The other thing that we have to do that I haven’t talked about is our “Homework.”  This happens when our parents get home from work and we bring the mail from the front door to our Mom – wherever she may be.  Now, as opposed to kids these days, our homework extends into the weekend.  Yep.   That’s right.  We do homework even on a Saturday.

I am not complaining – after all we do get a treat each time – but I am just saying that a dog’s job is never done.  I guess that is where the saying – “works like a dog” – comes from.

Here is an example of our arduous expectations.

Mo-Tor

Mo-Tor Style

Tonight I decided to try a simple blog…or rather a “vlog” (you people come up with some bizarro words).  I may elaborate on some of the themes presented tonight in future posts but for now I hope you enjoy the video.

Mo-Tor

Eeeep!

So we had another turn in the weather…for the worst this time.

On Sunday night it snowed again.  I was not at all happy about this change of events.  After my mom let me out in the morning I took a couple steps outside, then returned to our kitchen to lay on the heater vent and glare at her.

Once Dad finally got out of bed they took us for our morning walk.  This snow stuff is a major cramp in my style.  Not that I can’t jump in snow but once you get the taste of pure jumping (like in shadow puppies), snow jumping is not the same – not nearly the elevation after each take off…and to be honest I did get a little bit pouty.

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This morning we woke up to another change in weather that wasn’t much better….rain.  This created a little bit of a swamp…which of course means mud.

This was my view during my morning “creeper” duties.

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Note: the pools of water.  These were also found in multiple spots on our walk.

The resulting dirt accumulates on my feet and underbelly particularly during our walks.   This is an apparent violation of our family’s “cleanliness” policy.  Therefore, my father dedicated himself to cleaning both Sammy and myself.  This procedure invoked a painful YELP out of me.  My dad was quite distraught and immediately stopped the cleaning process.  He feared that the little interaction I had with my brother during our walk – a story that I might not have already told you but is definitely beyond the scope of this blog – might have scratched my stomach.  This was not the case at all.  But the pain was still real.  When I get hurt and then it is over (after the eeeeep) I give many kisses.  This time, given Dad did the hair pulling (or whatever), I ran to Mom and gave her many kisses.

It took awhile, but I did make up with Dad eventually.  And to be honest, by the time they got home from work I had completely forgotten the whole episode…and was ecstatic about getting dinner.

Mo-Tor

Twelve Years Ago Today…

I asked my Mom to help me with today’s blog, as she has been the one telling me the stories.

Apparently, twelve years ago today my parents, Mormor and Farmor drove to De Kalb and invited Sammy and his first sister (a litter mate) Banshee to live with us.  There started the adventure we are continuing.  Since I am only three now, I was not at this event.

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Sammy was smaller then than I am now!  They shared a soft-sided crate for a week until they ate through it and graduated to a hard-sided crate for each.

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They had a lot of fun, those two…  See  Sammy with part of a chair and the bitters bottle used to keep him from eating the chair.  Now I know why we have new chairs and table and banister and back yard.  That bed did not last long either, and it was very nice of neighbor Julie to give it to them (and to give them the hard-sided crate you see below).  This is also why the cats got a cat deck, but that is a story for another day.

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I have told you what a card my bro Sammy is, but Banshee was a crack-pot.  Not like me – I am a one of a kind girl, just sayin’ – but in her own way.  Her favorite thing was to wait until Mom was asleep on the couch, sit innocently on the back of the couch, and slide down behind Mom.  Sometimes she would manage to push Mom on the floor.  Baaa haa haa!

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Here they are being Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf for Halloween.  It is amazing, I thought Sammy really was a Grandma!

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Now I have told you how Sammy has always been a great brother to me.  Just the best; teaching me all the bad things I am not supposed to do.  But he was very loyal to Banshee.  They were inseparable, and Sammy would cry and cry if they were ever separated.  I asked Mom if Banshee went to the farm.  I heard this is where dogs go sometimes, but Mom assured me Banshee went to Harvard.  I guess before that, she had to go to sleep.  I am too young to understand the complexities here, but apparently it was a very traumatic event that involved calls to my Grandma in NM, a lot of crying, etc.  They were worried that Sammy would be upset, as he cried whenever they were separated, so they brought him to say goodbye when she went to sleep.  He watched, waited until it was over, and then turned and stared at the door and waited for my parents to take him home.  He was a good only dog for a while and now he is lucky to have me.  Life is good that way, and it is good to be alive!

Mo-Tor

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Shadow Puppies

I must apologize for my lack of communication recently but it has been a busy week for me.

Last Sunday the NCAA basketball tournament pairings were announced so I had a lot of research to do in order to fill out my bracket…and all that reading can really tire a girl out.

Glasses

After all that studying I think I put together some great picks…but one never knows once the games start.

Speaking of the games, after I got my picks set the next few days have been dominated by watching basketball…pretty much from 11 am to bedtime – not to say that I am awake for the entire duration of the games because again a girl needs her beauty sleep.

Anyhow, with that out of the way, I can tell you a little about our great walk last weekend.  It was a beautiful day…sun out, snow mostly melted.  Perfect conditions for some good jumping.

Because of the sunlight, I had a lot of fun playing with my shadow.

I also saw a squirrel but this fence limited my ability to properly pursue it up the tree…not to mention the whole leash thing.

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As you can see my dad was also casting some good shadows too.

Unfortunately, because the snow was melting all week, the ground was a bit wet which meant I got a bit dirty…but not enough for my ‘rents to send us off to Dave’s again.

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More soon…PROMISE!

Happy Spring!

Mo-Tor

Psycho Killer

For some reason, after watching me shred this toy, my dad called me a psycho killer.

Apparently this is the title of some Talking Heads song that was recorded well before I was born.  However, I am familiar with the song from listening to Pandora outside in the summer and inside when the weather’s not so good.  Although this song is OK, it isn’t my favorite.  Nor is it Sammy’s.

I am particularly fond of The Killers “Human.”   I am not really sure what the song is actually about but it poses a great question: “Or are you Dancer?”  Since that was my original name in Tennessee I just have to like it…don’t I?

Sammy has always liked the song “My Doorbell” by the White Stripes.  Whenever he hears it being played, his tail starts thumping and he gets that goofy grin on his face.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure why he loves it so much.  Maybe it is because every time the doorbell rings we go nuts barking and carrying on.

I should get back to the title of this blog because there is a great line in that song that reminded me of a story that my aunt recently told me…or maybe it was my dad telling me about a story she had told him.  Whatever the reality may be, I think it is worth relating in this blog.

The Talking Heads lyrics in Psycho Killer:

You start a conversation you can’t even finish it.
You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?

The one in bold is the one I would like you to focus on since it has a similar theme as the following line which was spoken recently at a memorial service for the father of a friend of ours.  The line was told by his sister – who happens to be “J”:

“Keep talking, J, until you think of something to say.”

To be honest with you – and no offense – both of these lines remind me a lot of you humans.  You do seem to talk a lot, and from my perspective, the words you speak generally have very little content that I would call worthwhile.  Now don’t get all bent out of shape.  There are some really good things that DO come out of your mouth:

1) Dinner time!

2) Want a treat?

3) Time for a walk.

4) Want to go for a ride?

5) SQUIRREL!

So if you keep your focus on these phrases then maybe the two lines above would become obsolete.

Til next time,

Montana “Dancer” Tornado