Commentaries

The DIY Service/Assistance/Emotional Support Dog

This month’s commentary considers that growing population of those who use or seek dogs that they train themselves to enhance their own or a loved one’s physical or mental health.

Read more

Prescribing Animals for Human Health: Above all, do no harm

This commentary considers the challenges and responsibilities facing those who prescribe assistance or support dogs for people with a growing array of conditions.

Read more

Holism Declines, Ecology Ascends

When those interested in animal health began talking about taking a more holistic approach, initially I was quite excited. I felt this way because I expected their approach to be, well, holistic. But…

Read more

The Most Highly Contagious Disease

Suppose I told you that a disease so contagious existed that it could spread with remarkable speed from one person or animal to a thousand or more in a matter of minutes. Some humans can transmit it to some animals and some animals can transmit it to some people Even more frightening, this neuro-pathogen typically enters through the eye and disrupts retinal cells to gain access to the most ancient part of brain. Once there, it disrupts the autonomic nervous system which controls all those vital functions necessary for life. Symptoms associated with the disease include increased sweating or

Read more

High-Tech Companion Animals

As our pets’ lives have become more high-tech, does this shift indicate a more intimate or a more remote relationship with them?

Read more

Service Dog Devaluation

With each passing decade, the respect with which US society views service dogs and their handlers sadly steadily declines. This poses increased problems for these animals and their handlers and those around them.

Read more

Waterboarding and the Bond

Waterboarding: a torture technique whereby individuals are treated in a manner that makes them believe they are going to drown. Surely, you may be thinking, this is not a suitable subject for the post-holiday season! Emotionally, I agree. On the other hand, you may be as surprised as I was to discover how many behavioral/training concepts directly or indirectly relate to water. This connection popped into my mind because two of these tend to raise their heads during the pre-holiday season and often linger into January, fueled by a human desire for quick results when animals have problems. First

Read more

Endangered Holiday Gifts

Endangered Holiday Gifts No, this isn’t a commentary about gifts made from the hides or other body parts of endangered animals, or decorations, culinary delicacies, or cure-alls made from endangered plants. It’s about giving yourself and your loved ones of all species two gifts—or maybe just a taste of two gifts—far more endangered than that. Can you guess what they are? Some additional clues: December through mid-January people worldwide from diverse backgrounds will celebrate multiple holidays. As we have become a more global community traditions from one religion or group of people become incorporated into others to the enrichment

Read more

Internal Clocks and the Diurnal Human-Animal Bond

We may tell ourselves that technology enables us to ignore our internal clocks and those of our diurnal animal companions. But as the cost of doing so mounts up, could becoming more in sync with those clocks be the better option?

Read more

The Ethology of the Bond

This month I want to explore the ethology of the human-animal bond. In my pre-ethology days, I’m the first to admit that my views of the bond were shaped more by the media than science…

Read more