I’ve read it all….

I just read something that I think is pretty silly.

As background, this is what has been taking up a lot of my time for the last two months:



Louie was my Christmas present to myself.  He’s a little ball of love.  And a little ball of work.  My schedule has changed, I had to hire a dog trainer to come to the house to help with housebreaking, we’re visiting a doggie day care tomorrow to see about him staying there two times a week so that I don’t have to get up and leave meetings every day of the week to go and let him out….

He’s worth it.

One of his little idiosyncracies is that he shakes a lot.  As in starts at the head and shakes all the way down (I would say from his head to his tail but French bulldogs don’t have tails).

So, I did what anyone would do:  I looked up “Why do dogs shake?” on Google.

The first article that came back was from Modern Dog magazine.  The article proposes that dogs shake because humans are showing them love in ways that their canine brains can’t process.

Emotion is energy-in-motion, which is why the more emotional we feel the more animated we become and want to move. And as energy emotion has an internal dynamic of movement that works quite like the tides in that there is a rising and an ebbing effect. When emotion sweeps over us, we can feel it surge as if we’re a tidal basin being flooded with a wave, and then these effects slowly subside and in fact can linger for a very long time. So in the animal mind, when there is an input of love that falls outside this natural rhythm, the canine mind doesn’t necessarily process it as love, but rather as social pressure, which to a dog is equivalent to pain and since the emotional circuitry piggybacks on the most basic systems of physiology, the dog shakes it off.

WTF?  The dog mind can’t process love, but it can process social pressure?  PUH-LEEZE!  Glad I haven’t subscribed to Modern Dog.

Then I went to the other most visited site for information:  YouTube.

Another WTF moment.  There has actually been scientific work on dog shaking water off its coat.

If you have time to watch this video — DO!  The scientists involved actually videoed (in slow-mo, no less) a rat shaking so that you and I can see its skeleton during the process.


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And I still don’t know why Louie shakes except that he just feels like it.  Good enough.

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Science has helped to solve one of the great mysteries of my life. Finally! I see the value in science. Antibiotics? MRIs? Wireless communications? The atom bomb? These are OK, but I just had the ultimate encounter with science. I got my results from the doggie DNA company — I know the breeds that are in Nick, my dog!!
Matt and I have the sweetest, gentlest, funniest, fastest, whiniest, humpiest dog ever. He is our boy, and we love him dearly. I rescued him 5 years ago. My sister and I walked into a PetSmart to look (and only look) at the puppies. There were all these precious little puppies, most of them mutts, all of them begging for attention. I spotted Nick, however, and it was love at first site (on my part). I picked him up and didn’t put him down again until we got home with him. He instantly became a large part of my life.
But I’ve always wondered “What is he?” Mutts are the best dogs, but you don’t know what you’re getting. With pure-breeds, you know that there are certain character traits that you can expect, but what do you do with a Heinz 57 dog? Does he have Labrador or German shepherd in him? I’ve had people stop me and say that he looked like a Rhodesian Ridgeback (had to look that one up). He’s thin and fast, so maybe he has some greyhound in him?
So, when I saw on TV that doggie DNA kits had been invented to help pet owners like me to identify the breeds in their mutts, I was all over it! Matt thought that I was crazy. Would knowing what he is change how I felt? (Like finding out that he had poodle in him was a deal breaker?) No, but curiosity was killing me! I had to wait to save some money (curiosity isn’t cheap), but I was able to buy my kit in early November.
The kit arrived, I swabbed Nick’s mouth, sent the kit back, and began to wait. And wait. And wait. And today, my patience was rewarded with Nick’s breed certificate.
I don’t think it unusual to want to know what Nick’s “made of”. Don’t we all want to know what we’re made of? Isn’t that why some people jump out of airplanes or try to climb Mount Everest? I know that for we humans finding out what we’re made of is more about our inner characteristics and qualities. Will we be brave in a scary situation? Will we make the right choice when faced with an ethical dilemma? We spend a lifetime figuring out these things about ourselves. We learn as situations test us, as we face happy times and tragedies, as people move in and out of our lives. It would be so much easier if we could take a DNA test and know that we are genetically programmed to be kind or to be cranky, like a Labrador is prone to chew. But alas, no test exists to figure out what we’re “made of”, so we continue to learn about ourselves as we go.
My feelings for Nick haven’t changed at all since I know his breeds. It does help explain why his nose stays irritated and explains where he got his muzzle, but Matt was right after all — he’s really made of sweetness and unconditional love and I knew that all along.
P.S. Collie, Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog