G and I lead our two dogs through darkened hallways lined with folding chairs. We discover that wolves and badgers are sleeping under them. There is much exploratory, reciprocal sniffing, but no growling. We encounter two large pit bulls. As we pass them, I feel a pit bull’s muzzle pressed against the small of my back, but I continue walking calmly towards the door. We enter a well-lit room filled with people dressed in togas. A cheerful woman tells us that we are about to be treated to a special performance. We sit on sheet-covered bleachers, dressed in togas and wait for the show to begin.
Back in May, Alibi told you about Edward Goodman, the attorney and animal rescuer seeking artists to transform some humble wooden bowling pins into knockout pieces of art for a worthy cause. Happily, Goodman’s work has paid off. On Saturday, Oct. 5, Corrales will be home to Bowled and Beautiful, an art show to benefit homeless dogs. Twenty-five quirky, humorous and beautiful sculptural objects made from those vintage bowling pins—everything from toucans to saints to cat Picassos—are being sold by silent auction, with all proceeds benefiting Second Chance Animal Rescue and NMDog.
Goodman says he’s “most impressed that, with a budget of ‘zero,’ we have been able to put together a fantastic one-of-a-kind art show and fundraiser.” Indeed, judging by all the swag the event’s managed to round up, Bowled and Beautiful seems to have struck a chord with the community.
Vegetarian and vegan hors d’oeuvres are being donated by Perea’s Tijuana Bar and Restaurant, the Bistro Brewery and the Oasis Desert Bistro, while the Corrales venue, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church (4908B Corrales Road) has also been offered up at no charge. Even the jazz is donated, thanks to Corrales ensemble Mood Swing. Along with the artworks, products and services contributed by local businesses are up for bid in the silent auction.
With so many thousands of animals in New Mexico shelters, Bowled and Beautiful creatively tackles a serious cause. Put your bid in on a one-of-a-kind artwork to help some one-of-a-kind critters.
Adila’s owner touches the cone for Adila to imitate.
Your dog has a memory. And not just the kind where Snookums wanna cookie? takes on monumental significance. New evidence shows that dogs have the ability to remember a human action and then recreate it after a delay. You read that right: Dogs can learn to do something just by watching their human do it first, even after the passage of time.
So, okay, your dog probably can’t actually remember your misdeeds from summers past. Luckily for you. But deferred imitation and declarative memory are abilities we had previously only ascribed to humans and apes.
To figure out what dogs’ brains are capable of, researchers Claudia Fugazza and Adám Miklósi from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary had owners train their dogs in a method called “Do as I do.” The technique involves teaching dogs an “imitation rule” with familiar actions that can then be generalized to new situations.
Eight dogs (and their owners) were involved in the study. All the dogs were female, ranging in age from 2 to 10 years old. The subjects were comprised of collies, a Shetland sheepdog, a Czechoslovakian wolfdog, a Yorkshire terrier and a mixed breed.
In the study, the dog owner first told their canine to sit. The owner then performed a simple novel task—ringing a bell, for example, or walking around a bucket—that the dog watched. It would be one thing to have the dog perform the same action right away, but the mere ability to immediately imitate an action isn’t what the researchers were studying. Looking at retention span, they wanted to know if dogs could still perform the action after they’d been forced to think about something else for a while.
So dog and owner would go behind a screen for a delay ranging from 40 seconds to 10 minutes, meaning the dog couldn’t keep staring at (and thinking about) that bell or that bucket. Out of sight, out of mind, right? During the delay, the owner “distracted” their dog with some other task, such as playing with a ball.
Once the break ended, the owner took the dog back to the starting point and commanded, “Do it!” And danged if the dog didn’t go ring that bell or walk around that bucket. (At least, some of the dogs, some of the time.) Take a look at the video below to see for yourself.
To avoid what’s known as the Clever Hans Effect, where an animal responds to unconsciously given cues from a human, researchers also had someone other than the owner give the “Do it!” command. Without knowing what the original action was, this other person had no way of accidentally directing the dog. If the dog performed the action, therefore, it was because their doggy brain had retained the information.
The results are pretty impressive. Think about it—in order to imitate ringing a bell, for example, a dog not only has to maintain a mental image of what her owner did, but she has to figure out how ringing a bell with a human hand translates into a doggy body ringing a bell.
The researchers conclude, “The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration. In addition, the ability to imitate a novel action after a delay without previous practice suggests the presence of a specific type of long-term memory in dogs. This would be so-called ‘declarative memory,’ which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge.”
There isn’t too much that can be said about this video…except that even when dogs ruin everything, they still make it all better. It’s not certain how these two pups made it onto the field during this match between the Turkish team Galatasaray and Germany's VfR Aalen. This fact somehow makes it all the more cute.
On the fence about adopting a pooch this holiday season? Your friends at Animal Human New Mexico have put together a video that will have you putting that pooper scooper to use in no time. This glorious piece of cinematography shows all the fun things you can do with dogs, like wearing life vests in kiddie pools. It also marks the first time I’ve ever enjoyed a Barry Manilow song.
The nonprofit is located at 615 Virginia SE. You can call them at 938-7868.
Human and canine exterminators fight nationwide wave of pests
By Elise Kaplan
The unmarked white building on Candelaria holds one bed and two dressers but no personal belongings suggesting a home. It's eerily devoid of picture frames, stuffed animals and clothes. A cooler sits on the beige tile floor, and Patriot Pest Control's newest employee bounds into the room to check it out. Captain Dale, the bedbug-detection dog, has one thing on his mind.
Babes and Bullies members are chaining themselves to dog houses for 11 hours on Saturday at UNM. The group is participating in Chain Off 2011. This national event is held every year on Fourth of July weekend to highlight the plight of dogs that spend their whole lives on chains.
The demonstration from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. will and raise money for Kaya—a pit bull rescued from starvation in late May by New Mexico Dogs Deserve Better. Babes and Bullies will have a booth out there on Saturday and will sell merch. All proceeds will benefit Kaya.
Pit bulls tote around quite a reputation–from bad-ass guard dogs to evil attack hounds—and in keeping with the bad boy tradition, they are irresistible to babes.
Nearly 25 percent of the dogs placed in Albuquerque animal shelters are pit bulls, according to Babes and Bullies. The group started a couple years to fundraise, raise awareness and act as a resource for pit bulls and their owners.
Babes and Bullies is one of many groups across the country that challenges the premise that all pit bulls act aggressively. The group isn't a rescue service, but many of the women act as foster guardians for abandoned dogs.
While pit bull advocacy groups cite the breed's loving and loyal disposition, their history in dog fighting is hard to ignore. Over the past 160 years, pit bulls have been bred to obey humans, but their behavior against other dogs is another matter, according to the Pit Bull Rescue Central. Traditionally used as fighters, the dogs are trained not to back down in confrontations.
Megan Cooley, president and treasurer of Babes and Bullies says that the perceptions of pit bulls acting aggressively comes from their loyal disposition.
“They're so loyal to their owner, they'll do anything,” she says. “People take advantage of that.”
While many cities banned pit bulls entirely, the Albuquerque City Council ruled instead to place dogs of all breeds in three categories: “potentially dangerous,” “dangerous” and “irresponsible owners.”
Owners that fail to restrain their dogs are civilly liable for any harm caused. Of the 27 instances reported on the city’s website, 20 involve pits.
The Eastside Animal Welfare Center (8920 Lomas NE) is throwing a "grand opening" party to celebrate a recent renovation. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., more than 18 animal rescue groups will man info tables and help with pet adoptions. The fun includes free pizza, door prizes and demos by the APD K-9 Unit, as well as the unveiling of two newly installed sculptures: "Kimo the Cat" by Michele VandenHeuvel and "American Dog" by Dale Rogers. The event is free to the public. For more information, call 768-1975.
While fact checking a little while ago, I ran a search on Placitas, N.M. and happened upon Placitas Miniature and Toy Australian shepherds—I had no idea there was such a thing, and in such close proximity to my home. The website, linked above, hosts an abundance of cute images of the little pooches that should fill your heart with joy.