October 05, 2004

I'm hungry! Arf! Staff at Battersea Dogs Home were mystified when they arrived at work one morning to find that the kitchen had been raided for an animal version of a midnight feast.
  • "He thenturned to the more altruistic task of opening the kennels of his neighbouring canines using the same winning dental technique." Altruism is one of the expressions of 'higher intelligence' according to classical biological theory. It's not supposed to exist in animals. It was always considered to be one of the hallmarks of distinctly human intelligence. Once again more proof of higher-function intelligence in animals. Good link, old mate.
  • Well, your dog likes to run in a pack.
  • Dogs vs. People Dogs: free one another from cages People: lock one another in cages Dogs: eat their own vomit People: made the film "Gigli" Dogs: lick their own balls People: can't reach
  • I, for one, welcome our new canine overlords. More seriously, anything which brings some good publicity to Battersea Dogs' Home, and specifically to the lurchers and greyhounds there, is a very good thing. They are, for some reason, the most difficult types of dogs to rehome, despite being delightful, affectionate, tranquil, intelligent, wonderful animals. At any given moment Battersea houses far far more of them than any other breed - one of our three rescue greyhounds came from Battersea, and IIRC, she was one of seventy (out of about 400 dogs) there at the time. Battersea do an incredible job, please support them if you can! /rant> Great link, thanks!
  • I agree with mothninja - greyhounds are lovely animals. I hope Battersea is completely empty of them by the weekend thanks to Red the Cooler King.
  • we had a dog from battersea when I was a kid ... and collecting it from there was one of the most heart-rending experiences I've ever had - all those beautiful canine faces all appealing to be taken home .... watch the video here
  • that's video of Red the lurcher - not me wandoering round Battersea Dog's home aged 14!
  • Red bites the lock, which gives, and out he walks. He frees his friends. They throw a party with food and toys. They make a mess. The staff is left to clean and guess which one's the canina smarty.
  • Yeah I love greyhounds and lurchers.. also whippets. Mate of mine used to have one of the latter, lovely dog. Ran like the wind. I like lurchers cos they are like the old Celtic hounds. Often see them on the illuminated Celtic church documents such as the Book of Kells.
  • Nostrildamus, that's an excellent point. Indeed, I can't imagine anybody who ever had any significant interaction with dogs doubting that they are capable of altruism, humor, playfulness, planning ahead, tool use, or any of the other functions of higher intelligence that (once upon a time) scientists claimed were the exclusive province of humans. My favorite story in this regards: a former co-worker of mine had a border collie name Tennyson. One day, the co-worker's little niece, who was just learning to walk, came to visit. Tennyson followed the niece as she toddled around the house, and whenever the niece fell over, Tennyson would throw himself under her so that the little girl would have a soft place to land. My other favorite dog story is from a 1994 National Geographic issue on playfulness in animals. A National Geographic photographer was a few hundred yards away from his camp in the Arctic when he heard a noise and saw a polar bear barreling towards his dog. The photographer was convinced his dog was a goner. But then the dog did that crouching-down-to-indicate-he-wants-to-play thing that dogs do, the bear responded, and the two of them starting romping around the camp together. The bear even came back the next day to play some more! The photographs were absolutely hysterical. A quick google to confirm my memory turned up this, which I think has the original photos I remember, as well as this story of an entirely different dog/polar-bear encounter.
  • I think it's a conspiracy with the bears. Was there any beer or chocolate missing? Prepare for the coming apocalypse.
  • Altruism is one of the expressions of 'higher intelligence' according to classical biological theory. While modern biological theorists think altruism is not a sign of higher intelligence, rather a common instinctive behaviour of most mammal pack hunters. Which works quite well for their survival. On the other hand, most mammal prey species that live in groups tend to be much less altruistic. As it is best for their survival as species to be cowards, except when it comes to their own progeny, and still they are far too egoists in that respect. Problem solving (like opening fellow dog's cells) is as a more compelling sign of having higher intelligence. Dogs tend to be good at it. So do most mammals, birs, and octopi. Another sign of higher intelligence is complex social skills (consciousness of hierarchical social structures, kinship and communications), which almost only simians, cetaceans and elephants can presume to have.
  • birs as in birds
  • 'Stop! your feathers might catch fire!' uttere the lyrebir. By this the duck was undeterre and rudely fired back a swearwor.