Thursday, January 15, 2009

Department of the Obvious; Dogs have personalities

OK, so, most of us already knew this; Dogs have personalities. But try to tell that to a scientist, and you're like as not to get a disdainful sniff and an upturned nose, along with a charge of 'anthropomorphism.' That is to say, applying human characteristics to that which is not human.

Well, sure enough, dogs ain't human. Never-the-less, at least one researcher from Texas has proof that dogs do indeed posses personalities, and that those personalities map pretty close to those of humans. Four out of five key traits map (extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to new experience), and frankly, I'm not at all sure there isn't at least a partial map for the fifth, conscientiousness, too. Further, the dogs were proven to have predictable and repeatable behaviors based upon their observed personalities.
Can we have a resounding "Duh!" please..? Thank you.

Says Dr. Gosling (and how amusing is that name, for an animal researcher, eh?) :

"There’s a strong view that animal personality is preposterous anthropomorphism: when I suggested applying measures of human personality to animals, I had people yelling that I was bringing the field into disrepute.”

Well, I've been accused of anthro-whatever-the-hell-it-is more than a time or two. Now I can thumb my nose right back at the nay-sayers with the full confidence of science at my back. At least until the next study comes along to ruin things again. :-p

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ministry of Silly Walks, Canine Division.

The last couple of nights have been pretty frosty, at least for Delaware... Temps in the low 20s or high teens. Suka really comes alive in the cold, especially if there's no frost or ice on the ground. Snow, she loves. Frost and ice weird her out.

Last night, the grass grew hoarfrost again... Still air, clear skies, temperatures plummeting from the already low daytime temps towards something rather cooler than shirtsleeve weather; you could actually see the frost growing. Sweater weather, for me, really - As long as there's no humidity or winds to speak of, a sweater is plenty sufficient for me in mid-teen temps. WAML again, and all that rot, so, it seemed like a good night to go and perch on the old playset and just kind of chill out, in several meanings of the phrase. Suka happily joined me, energetic and playful in the chill air, but the hoarfrost was messing with her mind again. This time, rather than mincing (which really was out of the question - She had too much energy), Suka tried out a Silly Walk: Run two strides; pop her front legs off the ground and run two strides on her back legs only; repeat. I've never seen anything like it - I don't even know to what I should compare it. She wasn't bounding, she wasn't bear-walking, but some crazy hybrid of the two on the two-beat.

It's supposed to be pretty cold the rest of the week... I wonder what else I'll see Suka do before it's done?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

TV Time - Or - How many living things will fit on one couch?

OK, so the title gives it away. Watching Star Wars ( the most recent 'Lucas Edit' - Han Solo shot first, dammit! Not second, no mater how close. :-p ), and my daughter dropped onto the couch next to me. Then my son dropped down next to her, so daughter moves closer, to get awy from brother-cooties. Or because he's been pestering her all day, and she's fed-up. Soon enough, tired & worn out daughter snuggles in a bit closer and starts to nod-off. Then Shadow, one of the cats, climbs my leg (yes, it hurts - I'm used to it, though), and sets up camp on the shoulder/chest side where I *don't* have a child dozing. Then Suka climbs up onto the back of the couch, more-or-less wedging herself between my son and daughter. Then, to completely overload the couch with life, my wife sits down on the end of the couch, budging my son over into the dog's space, leaving Suka draped across both kids.

Final score - Couch is now holding a total of four people, one dog, and one cat. There was room for the other two cats, but they aparently aren't George Lucas fans.

Oh, and it wouldn't matter even if my camera were working - No one to take the photo, as we were all comfortably wedged onto the couch.
:-p, again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


It's a once-every-few-years thing for me - A nice, lingering cold deep in my chest, with random attempts at turning into a sinus infection. Like now. Well, I'm aware, and atop things, and know how to treat it, but it takes a while to shake, and in the meanwhile I tend to hack and cough... Well, vigorously. Especially at night. So my wife has exiled me downstairs, that she may get some sleep. Since this puts me either in my recliner or on the couch, it's probably better for me anyway; I can sleep at a slightly upright angle, which lessens the middle-of-the-night choking on phlegm I might otherwise be facing at odd intervals.

I know; "Ewwww, yuck. You poor thing, but what the hell does this have to do with Suka?" Well, I may've mentioned that Suka is a very good dog, yes? She doesn't camp on our bed, not even when invited - She'll climb up for a couple minutes, but gets worried, and jumps down again presently - She's keenly aware that the bed is Not Hers. BUT - The couch, when I'm sleeping on it? That's a NEST!

Suka has taken to climbing up to the back of the sofa, and laying down in the gap where I've re-located a cushion to make myself comfortable. It's a perfect Suka-sized gap, and no sooner than I lay down, than she'll fly over the top of me in a graceful bound, and drop into what has become her favored sleeping spot. At least whilst I'm sick, that is. leaping into place like that often precedes my pulling a blanket up, and Suka often winds up wrapped up with me. So, most mornings, these last two weeks, my wife has come downstairs to find me sacked out, and a furry face peeking out from under the far side of the covers, looking over my ribs.

I really must replace my camera.