May 6th 2006

Animal Radio® welcomes the Pet Vision Network - in pet stores nationwide.

Today, Do animals feel?


Time to Discard Descartes
Rae Ann Kumelos, Voice of the Animal
The 17th century philosopher of Rene Descartes toward the animal world has had horrific long-range effects on the way society has treated animals. From factory farms to product testing, animals are still treated as machines based upon this philosophy of bad science and incorrect assumptions. But, things are changing ­ learn how the language of rats, monkeys and whales is shaping the philosophy of the future.

Do Animals Enjoy Life?
Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good
The recognition of animal pain and stress, once controversial, is now acknowledged by legislation in many countries, but there is no formal recognition of animals' ability to feel pleasure. Pleasurable Kingdom is the first book for lay-readers to present new evidence that animals--like humans--enjoy themselves. It debunks the popular perception that life for most is a continuous, grim struggle for survival and the avoidance of pain. Instead it suggests that creatures from birds to baboons feel good thanks to play, sex, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, aesthetics, and more. Combining rigorous evidence, elegant argument and amusing anecdotes, leading animal behavior researcher Jonathan Balcombe proposes that the possibility of positive feelings in creatures other than humans has important ethical ramifications for both science and society.

Do Dogs Think and Feel?
Dr. Stanley Coren ­ How Dogs Think: What the World Looks Like to Them and Why They Act the Way They Do
Bestselling author, psychologist, and world-renowned expert on dog behavior and training Dr. Stanley Coren presents the most informative, in-depth, fascinating book yet on dogs with numerous funny, informative anecdotes, experiments, and firsthand observations. It lets you see through a dog's eyes, hear through his ears, and even sense the world through his nose. How Dogs Think also answers questions about our canine companions that have puzzled many: Do dogs feel guilt? Do they have an appreciation of art or music? Can a dog learn how to do something just by watching another dog or even a person do it? Do dogs dream? What is the nature of dog personality? Which behaviors are prewired into your dog, and which can you actually change? And, can dogs actually sense future earthquakes or detect cancer? Find out the answers to these questions and more.


Monkey See Monkey Do
Britt Savage
A study has shown that Chimpanzees can learn from other chimpanzees with human absence. When a group of Chimpanzees were taught a task and later put with other chimpanzees, those chimpanzees observed and mimicked the actions of the original chimpanzees, without being taught directly.


Better Behaved Pets?
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
People with anxious pets eagerly seek out anything that might reduce the barking, howling, chewing and house-soiling. Many have tried the recently introduced products containing pheromones. These are sprays and plug-ins aimed at calming anxious pets. Separation anxiety affects 15% of the nation's 74 million dogs. Separation anxiety also affects cats, although it's not as noticeable, as cats tend to be less noisy and destructive when they express anxiety. Veterinarians see a lot of dogs with separation anxiety, and firework and thunderstorm phobias. Anxiety is an underlying issue in a significant portion of aggression also. So just how much do these pheromone based products help? It's debatable. Used in combination with behavior modification and on selected cases, they may have some usefulness. Could pheromone therapy help your pet?

Songbirds Can Learn Grammar
Calling someone a "bird brain" may lose some of its sting.

It turns out a common songbird can learn grammar, according to a study in the journal Nature. The paper says starlings learned to tell the difference between a regular birdsong "sentence" and one containing a clause or another sentence.

A University of California at San Diego psychology researcher said it took a month and about 1,500 training attempts to get the birds to recognize the most basic grammar. The results could shake up the field of linguistics. Researchers had figured only humans can recognize sentences that include an explanatory clause.

The professor's training led nine of 11 songbirds to pick out the songs with inserted phrases about 90 percent of the time. The other two flunked grammar.

Another UC San Diego professor, who wasn't part of the study, said the findings show the complexity of language and animal thought.


Do Animals Have Emotions?
Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D., Earthfire Institute
From a behavioral perspective it only makes sense that animals would experience emotions. If we accept that animals feel emotion, the next question is, are they aware of them?

Any issue about animals can be looked at from a variety of levels; scientific, emotional, artistic, intuitive/experiential, spiritual. What we believe, and perhaps know, depends on what evidence we accept as valid - science for some, intuition for others. From their point of view, pet owners always knew their pets felt emotions. Researchers into the relationship between people and their pets have asked some interesting questions. For example how is it that dogs know when their owners are coming home? What sense are they using? Some carefully controlled and provocative studies have been done on this matter, and suggest the easiest explanation is a sort of seventh sense, almost a form of telepathy. This seventh sense is most frequently activated in the context of strong emotion. It is most common between mothers and children and between pets and owners where there is a close love relationship - a mysterious communication facilitated by the emotion of love. And then we must ask the question - if dogs and cats can feel love, and loss...doesn't it logically follow that other animals can too?

Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. a biologist and licensed psychologist, is Director of Earthfire Institute, a non-profit organization in Driggs, Idaho. A home for native wildlife that can never be released into the wild, Earthfire and its animals offer nature education for all ages, including biology, art, emotions and spirit. A focus of all programs is wildlife habitat preservation. or 208-456-0926


Talk With Your Animals
Joy Turner
Joy talks to Grayson, a 20-year-old cat that has passed away. Grayson assures his guardian that he no longer is the old and ailing cat he was when he passed. He assures her that he no longer feels any pain, and that when you pass over, you can chose the age you would like to remain.


Designer Dogs - No Guarantee of a Perfect Dog
Stephanie Shain, HSUS
The names and faces may be irresistible, but the trendiest dogs ­ hybrid or "designer" dogs like Puggles (Pugs and Beagles) and Labradoodles (Labradors and Poodles) are far from perfect. Those who profit from these newly designed dogs tout that by breeding two different purebred dogs, they create a new breed that possesses all of the positives but not any of the challenges from each breed.

But the truth is that these dogs are not protected from genetic diseases, they are just as likely to have the same problems that other puppies have who come from large-scale, high-volume breeding, especially since the demand is massive and puppy mills are responding by pumping out the hybrid-du-jour as quickly as possible.

In fact, there are many dogs who fit the bill of "Designer Dogs" at your local shelter just waiting for a home.


Skunk - A Reputation to Respect
Rae Ann Kumelos, Voice of the Animal
This true story about the rescue and relocation of an amiable skunk is a reminder that respect and reputation involve more than just noble intention.



Autism Assistance Dog
Karen Shirk, 4 Paws For Ability
4 Paws was the first agency to begin placing skilled Autism Assistance Dogs and continues to be the largest organization in the United States and the only organization placing in other Countries Autism Assistance Dogs with tracking. Having placed well over 50 Autism Assistance Dogs, this type of dog continues to be the most requested and most often placed dog of all of our services. As the founding agency of Autism Assistance Dogs with tracking we continue to provide the highest quality of dogs to every child that applies. 4 Paws, unlike almost every other agency does not pick and choose who's child will get a dog. As long as the child's physician approves the dog and it is safe to place a dog in the home, no family is turned away. We continue our services with no long waiting lists and continue as always to "partner" with our families to provide the dog their child needs. In addition, our online group for 4 Paws Families has a membership of 80+ dogs.

Hear how these special dogs react to these special needs children.


Alex the Counting Parrot
Dr. Irene Pepperberg, Alex Foundation
Dr. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot, have been together since June of 1997. Alex can now label seven colors, is learning the alphabet and can count up to six objects. Evidence has been established which indicates that parrots are highly social and sentient beings, fully aware of their surroundings.

Dr. Pepperberg has developed training techniques that enable Grey parrots not only to produce but also comprehend and use English speech appropriately. She has also shown that these birds can perform as well as chimpanzees and dolphins on many tasks used to evaluate intelligent behavior.


Temperament Testing
Mike Fry, Animal Ark Shelter and Host of Animal Wise Radio
Mike Fry takes a look at the unfair practice of temperament testing, which is how most shelters determine whether a dog is considered adoptable or not.


Listen to the 1/2 Hour ABRIDGED VERSION Podcast of this show (#336).


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