If this doesn't tug on the heartstrings, at least a little bit, you may not be quite human.

As with yesterday's post, I don't know where this came from or who wrote it. If you do, please let me know so I can properly attribute it. It is again, a very "tall" image, so I've placed it behind the fold.

Click to enlarge.


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I'm not sure where this is from, or who made it (if you do, though, please let me know so I can give it proper attribution). But I think its hilarious and awesome. The image is particularly large, though, so I've placed it behind the fold. Click to enlarge:
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That made me very sad. :(

There was also some guilt thrown in somewhere, too.

OK, I'm crying. You happy now?

Let's see if I get punched for asking a technical question in a sentimental thread.

The few times I did come to visit you,
you'd be all sulky,
like you were angry with me
"the F*CK you BEEN dude!?"
you seemed to glare

Just curious: do you have any studies on Canine cognition that go beyond stimulus recognition and social interaction? Or have we gotten that far yet?

By nixscripter (not verified) on 05 Jan 2011 #permalink

@4: Not quite sure what you mean by your question... could you elaborate a bit?

This is, perhaps, cruel, but since we're all bummed out anyway...

The House Dog's Grave (for Haig, an English Bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you,
If you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no,
All the nights through I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to readâ
And I fear often grieving for meâ
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.

No, dears, that's too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.
--Robinson Jeffers, 1941.

(I am happy to say that I took a semester off from school to be with my dog when he died. It wasn't the only reason I did it, but it was the best one)

@5: To be more specific, I am curious how much work has been done into the deeper thought processes of dogs (and their non/existence). These are things like ability to plan and imagine, as well as have complex emotions. To put it another way, we humans seem to assume a lot; how much of that has been backed up by data?

Most of the work I have seen is out of date, and seems to fall into one of two categories.

First, there are experiments that seem to show very general reactions, like the Maier and Seligman experiment on learned helplessness. It is reasonable to believe the reaction of the dogs who became "depressed" was emotional, but that is an assumption. Also, deciding what this says about their cognitive abilities is still speculative.

Second, there are experiments analyzing canine social behavior, like by Scott and Fuller. However, these do not focus on what the actual process of the social behavior is. For example, if a dog shows submission, which of these happened: (a) he saw the other dog being aggressive, and became submissive as a habit; or (b) he saw the other dog being aggressive, consciously evaluated the situation, and chose to be submissive. The difference, of course, is in what was "in the mind" of the dog.

I don't know the state of research in this area, and perhaps what I am asking is still too difficult to demonstrate. But you seem like the right guy to ask.

Any references you can provide me to get some insights would be useful.

By nixscripter (not verified) on 06 Jan 2011 #permalink

@8: I'll spend some time thinking about this. With respect to social cognition and social behavior, some of what you're looking for I may have already written about - check out the "dog" and "social cognition" categories - you can find the list of categories in the left sidebar. I imagine you're looking more for dog-dog social interactions than dog-human social interaction, though? There's somewhat less work on that, at least within the fields of psychology and neuroscience. I've covered a bit of it, though, here.

Shall I guess you've watched the 'Jurassic Bark' episode of Futurama?

I'm a cat person, btw.

By Rogue Epidemiologist (not verified) on 06 Jan 2011 #permalink

I got all teary at work. I'm going to give my cowardly pooping peeing panicking yet lovable dog a big hug, and an extra big hug for my old cat, too.