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Digging deep into the minds of our furry friends
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Digging deep into the minds of our furry friends

Happy Monday!

The other day I was reading a New York Times article in which a pair of professors of evolutionary anthropology attempted to get to the bottom of our growing obsession for canine literature.

According to the article, there are more than 70,000 dog books listed on Amazon, including dozens of novels, many of them best-selling tear-jerkers, such as Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, a book I have yet to read.

Nevertheless, in the article, Vanessa Woods and Brian Hare, authors of The Genius of Dogs, attributed this literary fondness to what researchers call the theory of mind, or, simply put, “your thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of others."

This hypothesis, they suggest, is the reason pet lovers like you and me have a yearning to know, and understand, what’s going on inside our dogs’ heads.

And so we read.

In my case, this hunger for comprehension began with a book called Algonquin: The Story of a Great Dog. It happened to be the first book I ever read.

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American author Dion Henderson’s heartwarming tale about a boy and his hunting dog left little impression on my developing brain but the illustrated image of a stoic hunting dog on its cover is a keen reminder of how delighted my nine-year-old self was to get through all 211 pages.

As I became more proficient at reading, I continued to bury my nose in more books centred around our favourite four-legged companions.

My all-time best-loved, Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows, is one dearest to my heart, and one that I have committed to memory.

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I’m sure many of you pet lovers might also recall the touching autobiographical tale about a boy, Billy Colman, and his pair of loyal Coonhounds he names Little Ann and Old Dan.

Months after I tearfully closed the book, my mother and I walked to the now-defunct Hyland Theatre on Main Street in the city’s north end to watch the film adaptation and cried, holding hands, all the way home.

That was in 1974 and since then, my list of favourites has grown to include Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon; A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron; Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan; and Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis.

Now, I can’t say I’ve gained any insight into the cerebral workings of my dogs, but I do know that the words on those pages served to remind me that the bond we all share with man’s best friend is universal, an across-the-board kind of commitment that never wavers. And their love, their loyalty plus the joyfulness they provide, is unconditional.

But I guess I never really need a book to tell me that!

Do you have a favourite dog story? Drop me an email, and let’s talk books about dogs!!!

Have a great week!

Leesa Dahl

Leesa Dahl

Ready Pet Go

This week in pet news

Local animal charities buoyed by Betty White challenge

The "Betty White challenge," a social media campaign encouraging people to donate to rescue organizations in the TV star’s name on what would have been her 100th birthday, brought a windfall of donations to non-profits across the province. Read more about it here.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

At the Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter, which collected $10,000 in donations, Carla Martinelli-Irvine said it was the biggest single day in the 30 years she’s spent as founder and executive director.

Choosing the right chew for your dog

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When you have two dogs and you want to give them both something to chew, why can’t they just be nice and focus on the thing you’ve given them? Why does every dog think you’ve given the other dog something better?

Finding the chew that both satisfies your pet and your pocketbook isn’t always the easiest thing, but there are many options that can do both. Read more about it here

Rey, at left, is often jealous of the chew treats that smaller, more sensitive Leia gets to enjoy.

Pets of the week

Buddy

Buddy is our ‘house god,’ a Maine Coon cross who has made this pandemic more than tolerable.

— Sharon Friesen

Sierra

Sierra, my 22-month-old Doberman female, doesn’t let a pile of snow stop her from finding her favourite ball. Decked out in her winter woollies, she loves to be outside to play fetch, and tolerates the Winnipeg winters nicely. As long as she is dressed for it, like us!

— Vicki Verville

Looking for a home

Thinking of adopting a new pet? Be sure to check out this week's adoptable pet.

Meet Rock Lopster, an approximately 4-year-old neutered male lop-mix under the care of Popcorns and Binkies Rescue Haven. He loves spending time with his foster family, and will happily snuggle up with them. Head pats are a favorite! He loves to play with toys, and will play ‘catch’ with you or a search game with treats. He absolutely loves a good nap.

Read more about Rock Lopster.

 

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Rock Lopster is available for adoption through Popcorns and Binkies Rescue Haven.

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