04
Sep
16

woof!

angel dog.

I didn’t know what I was going to write about today until I saw this photograph on Facebook.

I have to admit that I am a “dog person”; I don’t think that I could live alone without my canine companions. They are great company and I put up with countless inconveniences accommodating them into my life. Stepping over them. Tolerating it (and not really even noticing) when they bark and run outside in the middle of the night. Accepting their disgusting habits.

Last week I heard a radio report, originating with researchers at a university in Hungary, that dogs process language with the left side of their brains the same way that humans do and, in fact, understand us when we talk to them. Not just our tones of voice, but the actual words we use.

The researchers, led by a guy named Attila, made images of the brains of 13 dogs using a machine that records brain activity. The dogs were trained to lie down in the machine for seven minutes. During that time, they listened through headphones to their trainers’ voices.

Dog owners may think the news is not surprising, but scientists are impressed. Through their experiment, the researchers have learned that dogs use the right side of their brains to understand tone and pitch, and the left side to understand humans’ words and how they are said. “Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it,” Attila said. He said that dogs are tuned in to what people say because dogs have lived with people for a long time. He said other animals probably can understand human language, too, but those animals are not very interested in what humans have to say.

But dogs care.

Capitan-dog-550x308I speculate that if you are particularly close with a dog, that caring can even extend beyond death. We’ve all heard stories about loyal pets who have guarded the graves of their masters for amazing periods of time. I wrote a post about such an Akita several years ago. I also read a story from just four years ago about Capitán, a dog who had remained by his deceased owner’s gravesite for the previous six years. Although Capitán still had a family to go back to, he steadfastly refused to leave his master.

It seems to me that it is possible a dog’s love and loyalty may even transcend the boundaries of his or her own life and death.

By way of proof, I offer the above photograph. It was taken recently as Ashley Lang was spreading the ashes of Wagner, her 12-year-old Golden Retriever who had died. What it captured appeared to be a white silhouette of her dog. “It’s pretty remarkable…the tail and the legs and he looks like he’s, you know, leaping to go up,” Ashley told CBS Chicago. Ashley said she believes it was Wagner’s way of saying one last goodbye.

“Everyone keeps calling him the angel dog,” she said.

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۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to a Techno Remix of Dog Barking

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Weather Report

86° and Clear to Partly Cloudy

 

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