Essential Reads

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research again shows rats display empathy so why do we torture them in labs?

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Both dogs and people produce stress hormones when they hear a baby cry.

Makings of a Child

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) expand the basis of a baby.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Chimpanzees in Research: Lies, Lies, and More Lies

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 03, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Researchers who abuse chimpanzees act as if moratoriums and agreements don't matter, as if they're above it all. They're not and each of us can easily do something now to stop the continued abuse of chimpanzees in invasive research. Time is not on the chimpanzee's side.

What Happens at a Pet Funeral Home?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 03, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
Death rituals can be an important part of saying goodbye to a deceased pet, allowing people to honor what was special about their animal and create meaningful memories. One of the growing trends in animal aftercare is the pet funeral home.

PTSD in War Dogs Finally Getting the Attention It Deserves

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 02, 2011 in Animal Emotions
War dogs are amazing beings. They're continually put at risk as they're exposed to combat-related violence, and suffer along with their human companions afterwards. Finally, these wonderful dogs are getting the attention and treatment they fully deserve, as they should.

Natural Death and Euthanasia: Finding the Middle Ground

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 01, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
As animal hospice becomes more prominently recognized, it is worth giving some thought to the notion of “natural death” because hospice is often embraced by those who desire a natural death for their animal.

Why Do Rape and Pedophilia Exist?

By Pat Shipman Ph.D. on November 29, 2011 in The Animal Connection
I've been thinking about sex abuse and pedophilia a lot lately. It has been painful.

Human and Animal Euthanasia: Dare to Compare?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on November 29, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
Why is euthanasia almost always considered the compassionate end point for our animal companions, but not for our human loved ones?

Do Wild Animals Suffer From PTSD and Other Psychological Disorders?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 29, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Biological arguments suggest wild animals should suffer from various psychological disorders but we really don't know the extent to which this occurs. There's no evidence wild animals torment and torture one another to the extent that humans torment and torture one another and members of other species.

The Art and Science of Naming a Dog

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 28, 2011 in Canine Corner
Dogs live in a sea of human language sounds and their name is the primary way that they have to sort out which of those sounds is directed toward them.

Grief, Mourning, and Broken Hearted Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 26, 2011 in Animal Emotions
There's no doubt many animals grieve the loss of family and friends. Mounting evidence clearly shows we're not the only animals who possess the cognitive and emotional capacities for suffering the loss of others. I've literally felt the grief and heart break other animals suffer. It's palpable and moving. And I bet many of you have too.

New Books for Intelligent Animal Lovers

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 25, 2011 in Animals and Us
Some new books for animal lovers.

Murder and Morality

"On a typical day, Jimmy and I would spend an hour a day with Stevie, doing business. I mean, we weren't doing crimes every day. We weren't animals, and except for the business aspect of our lives, we had boring, regular lives."

Home to Heaven: On Choosing Euthanasia for a Companion Animal

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on November 24, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
One year ago today my 14-and-a-half-year-old Vizsla, Ody, departed from this world with the help of Home-to-Heaven Pet Euthanasia Service. At the time, I worried that I was acting too soon. But given a year to grieve and reflect, I think that I probably waited too long.

Fowl Fun? Liberty, Peace, and No Justice for Millions

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 24, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Pardoning two of millions of doomed turkeys is simply not enough. A more meaningful humanitarian and compassionate gesture would be for the President to pardon all turkeys and encourage people to change their ways. Hiding behind the veil of ignorance, "Oh, I didn't know about the torture of turkeys", doesn't work any longer.

The Perils of Thanksgiving

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 23, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
Why holiday habits go against the grain. Holidays may afford us a needed break from survival-related concerns—if we can get into the right mindset. Unfortunately, cautionary memories easily trump recollections of the warmer, fuzzier sort we expect to be building upon when a holiday rolls around.

Say Thanks

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on November 23, 2011 in Your Wise Brain
Say Thanks - it's a small moment with big ripples: a confirmation of a wonderful truth - that we are all joined in a web of innumerable acts of giving.

A Dog, a Cockatoo, and Yes, Spaghetti

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 23, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Just when you think you've seen it all, watch a cockatoo feed a dog.

How the Dog Became the Dog

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 23, 2011 in Animal Emotions
"How the dog Became the Dog" is the book to read if you're interested in the long relationship between dogs and us. Drawing on a vast amount of data, Mark Derr shows, with admirable humility, how shared sociability and curiosity drew wolves and humans together resulting in a close and enduring relationship of cooperation and mutual utility.

At Last, Scientists Explain Why Animals Want Things But Objects Don't

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 21, 2011 in Ambigamy
As Game-Changing as Darwin's Origin of the Species, a major breakthrough on the emergence of mind from matter, Terrence Deacon's 600 page scientific text distilled to something short and accessible here.

Animals in Art: Nonhumans Benefit from Responsible Representation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 21, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Many artists are focusing their attention on other animals and we must be sure they are represented in responsible ways and also pay attention to the ethical questions that are raised. Animal art truly sparks wide-ranging discussions that center on human psychology and our complex and challenging relationships with non-humans in a human-dominated world.

Late-life Remarriages: The Second (Or Third...) Time Around

By Nancy Kalish Ph.D. on November 21, 2011 in Sticky Bonds
There's an old Frank Sinatra song that tells us, "Love is lovelier the second time around." I'm sure he had no idea, at the time he sang those words, that there would be as many late marriages as there are today. Is a marriage begun in the senior years the same as a marriage initiated in youth? It is lovelier?

Is Anthropomorphism a Sin?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 21, 2011 in Canine Corner
Thinking about dogs as if they have emotions, personality and consciousness, like humans do, is discouraged by many scientists who refer to this as anthropomorphism. Yet research suggests that this may be a useful way of looking at canine behavior.

The Power of an Animal's Unconditional Love

By Judith Orloff M.D. on November 21, 2011 in Emotional Freedom
Animals are powerful conduits of unconditional love. Read this story from Dr. Judith Orloff's book, Emotional Freedom about a dog's compassion and sacrifice for his owner.

Was Hitler a Vegetarian? The Paradox of the Nazi Animal Protection Movement

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 17, 2011 in Animals and Us
It's scary when professors fight - especially over Nazi animal love.

The Thanksgiving Day Massacre: A House of Horrors

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 17, 2011 in Animal Emotions
If you knew the truth about the turkey you eat, a genetically engineered and tormented animal, you would seriously consider choosing another main course. Turkeys are highly sentient beings who suffer enduring pain, misery, and terror on the way to a platter. It's easy to make more humane choices. Please do so now and add compassion to a world that sorely needs it.

Myopium: New Stronger Drugs Keeping Us Euphorically Shortsighted

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 14, 2011 in Ambigamy
Are we humans becoming more shortsighted? Recently yes, mostly because we've engineered much more powerful strains of Myopium: The drugs we all take that makes us euphorically shortsighted. But long run, no? We're getting more foresightful, better at planning for tomorrow, often with the downside consequence of making us worse at planning for the day after tomorrow.

Minding Animals as Persons: Beatrice, My Mother, and Jethro, My Dog

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 14, 2011 in Animal Emotions
My mother Beatrice and my dog Jethro shared many traits that warrant calling a being a person. When my mother suffered serious physical and psychological decline she was still considered a person as she well should have been. Yet Jethro and other animals do not warrant that status. Nothing is lost by viewing nonhuman animals as persons.

Kids Think Humans Are Special

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 14, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
There is no doubt that humans are special among all of the animals on Earth. Although, we are special, we are also members of the animal kingdom. Yet, language distorts the relationship between humans and the rest of the animals.

An Amazing Elephant Rescue That Will Make Your Day

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 11, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Sometimes interfering in the lives of wild animals overrides the usual hands-off approach and simply is the right thing to do. Witness and savor this dramatic rescue of a mother elephant and her baby when they got trapped in mud.