The Oct. 20th U.K. edition of Closer features an interview with Terri Graham, a mother of two human children.
Breastfeeding her pug Spider, she says, makes her feel like a better mom.
“Having Spider suckle on my boob means I finally feel complete and a better mother,” said Graham, who was unable to breastfeed her children for reasons unexplained.
Graham said she has been breastfeeding Spider for two years — ever since the dog licked a bottle of breast milk she had pumped for her newborn son. Apparently, Spider liked it so much, she decided to let him start drinking directly from the source.
There’s definitely a boundary line between what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to how close we get to our dogs, and how humanly we treate them — and we meant humanly there, not humanely. I don’t assume to be the one who defines that line, but, in my humble view, this crosses it.
Even though we “ooh” and “aww” when we see a female dog take on the feeding responsibilities to newborn animals of other species, most of us will probably “euuwwww” at this example.
The significant difference between those cases and this, of course, is that a nine-year-old pug doesn’t require breast milk to grow, and the surrogate mama dogs in those cases don’t generally seek headlines.
This, in my view, is fairly outrageous, which accounts for the story’s popularity. We seem to have an appetite for the outrageous, and no shortage of media happy to serve it up and let us suckle. A photo of the article about Graham was posted to a Reddit forum devoted to strange news, and it quickly rose to the site’s front page. It was subsequently regurgitated by The Huffington Post, and given good play by Doghatersunite.com, a website that says it serves “people who hate dog-loving idiots and their Darwin-defying fleabags.”
One has to wonder how the original publication got onto this story: A phoned-in tip? Peering through a window? Logging into breastfeedingyourdog.com? (Just kidding, there’s no such website.) Or did the subject of the story, sensing the magazine’s zeal for boob coverage, volunteer the information?
All said, while the case of the breastfeeding pug raises some interesting questions, one should probably consider the source — not just tabloid readers, but especially Spider — and perhaps seek their nourishment elsewhere.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, bond, breastfeed, breastfeeding, breasts, california, closer, dog, dogs, human, humans, interspecies, magazine, milk, nourishment, pets, photo, pug, spider, tabloids, woman
Chimps may share more of our genes, but dogs have lived with us for so long – in our houses, on our beds (and, of course, sneaking out for late night poker games) – they may evolved into a better model for understanding human social behavior, according to a new study.
In terms of cooperation, attachment to people, their ability to imitate and their understanding of human communication (verbally and non-verbally) dogs have become not just man’s best friend, but, socially, his closest counterpart in the animal kingdom, according to a paper accepted for publication in the journal Advances in the Study of Behavior.
They might even be thinking more like us, too. the Discovery Channel’s Jennifer Viegas reports.
Researchers believe adapting to the same living conditions may have resulted in the similarities. “That shared environment has led to the emergence of functionally shared behavioral features in dogs and humans and, in some cases, functionally analogous underlying cognitive skills” lead author Jozsef Topal explained to Discovery News.
(Digression: While I couldn’t agree more with that — to the extent I understand it — I don’t agree with what Topal says it should lead to: dogs serving as the “new chimpanzees” in psychological studies. In fact, I’m not much on the chimps being used, either, or poor college students, at least when such experimentation gets into using drugs, scalpels and electrical implements. )
The study by Topal and his team at the Institute for Psychology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences found that dogs kept as pets can be regarded in many respects as “infants in canine clothing,” and that many dog-owner relationships mirror human parental bonds with children.
In one of many recent studies conducted by the team, Topal and his colleagues taught both a 16-month-old human child and mature dogs to repeat multiple demonstrated actions on verbal command — “Do it!,” shouted in Hungarian.
The actions included turning around in circles, vocalizing, jumping up, jumping over a horizontal rod, putting an object into a container, carrying an object to the owner or parent, according to the study.
While I don’t find that all that amazing, it is fascinating to think about how dogs, the longer they live with humans and the closer our relationships become, might continue to evolve in the household. I’m guessing there are already some homes that tune into TV shows they think the dog will like. How much longer until the dog controls the remote?
Posted by jwoestendiek March 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adapting, behavior, chimps, closer, discovery, dogs, evolution, human, humanization, humans, hungarian academy of sciences, jozsef topal, laboratory, model, paper, psychology, science, shared, social, study