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September 22, 2010


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"However, I never sense that one of the things going on inside her canine brain is a feeling of this shouldn't be happening. She may not like what's happening -- vet visit, stay in the kennel -- but I don't see any sign that she expects something else should be occurring instead."

This is just plainly false. Many dogs show expressions of sadness and pain when their owner leaves. Some will wait near the door, become apathic, etc. until the owner is back. Animals are much more capable than what you give them credit for ...
Dolphins are very smart creatures and, in all likelihood, possess developed reflexive capacities.

If your dog is retarded, don't assume all dogs are like it ... but in all likelihood the problem is not your dog but your own very superificial view of the existential (not just humand) predicament, which compels you to 'leave out' and ignore the obvious.

the Elephant, I guess you didn't read my post very well. You pointed out that dogs show expressions of sadness and pain when their owner leaves. Which is just what I said:

"Our dog appears to experience various emotions and sensations during the day. Boredom. Enthusiasm. Lassitude. Hunger. Thirst. To name a few. However, I never sense that one of the things going on inside her canine brain is a feeling of this shouldn't be happening."

I stand by what I said. There's no evidence that dogs have the sophisticated sort of self-awareness that we do, where we can think "This is happening to me. I wish that X, Y, or Z were happening instead."

There's a book called "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by an expert in stress. (actually, most ulcers aren't caused by stress, but that's a catchy title because lots of people continue to believe they are). Here's an overview of the book's theme that I found which echoes my attitude toward how humans and animals view life:


Isn’t that a great name for a book?

Witty Stanford scientist Robert Sapolsky's entertainingly breaks down the science of stress in his book, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.”

The Big Idea?

You ever think about why zebras don’t get ulcers? It’s actually pretty simple.

A lion comes after them. Their hearts beat fast to get oxygen to their legs. They run away. Very appropriate stressful situation to stress response relationship, yah?

Now, if they escaped that lion, do they imagine the next lion that may come after them—getting their hearts racing again while they worryingly fidget and look all around for the next bad thing that can happen?

Of course not. Zebras go about their business doing what zebras do on Savannahs. (Not sure what that is, but that’s what they do! :))

In short, zebras are in the moment. They respond with stress when the situation demands it, otherwise they’re chillaxed.

Now, what do WE do when a lion comes after us.

Oh, wait.

We don’t even have lions or other predators chasing us any more…

So what, exactly, do we need a fear reflex that pumps our heart to get blood to our legs so we can run?!?


That seems a little outdated.

And isn’t it a little weird that we can create “lions’ (aka potentially angry bosses/spouses; a room full of people who may laugh at us if we say something stupid during our presentation; etc.) that will get our hearts beating in nearly exactly the same way our hearts would beat if we were actually being chased by a lion.

Don’t you find that kinda odd?

Point being: IF we’re walking down a dark alley and someone starts chasing us, having blood pumping would be a very (!) good thing.

Walking down the hall thinking about an argument we had last night with our spouse or about a presentation we need to give later that day?

Not so good.

Living with that kind of stress will give you an ulcer!

Exactly why zebras don’t get em. :)

When we walk we don't watch out
for ants we step on.

If a God does exist and did create
this world, why should he have more
consideration for us, than we do for
ants ?

I don't know why I just said that.

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