Scientists explain puppy dog eyes

The sad, imploring expression held such power over humans during 33,000 years of canine domestication that the preference for dogs that could pull off the look steered the evolution of their facial muscles, researchers have said.

The result is that dogs gradually acquired a new forehead muscle named the levator anguli oculi medialis, or LAOM, and have used it to deploy the doleful look to devastating effect ever since.

“They are very powerful animals in how they capture our hearts,” said Prof Bridget Waller, the director of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. “We pay a lot of attention to faces, they are meaningful to us, and this expression makes dogs look juvenile and sad. It induces a nurturing response. It’s a cute factor.”

For the full article go to the Guardian website.

St Mary’s Island, Chatham

View of the Medway from St Mary’s Island

We haven’t been this way for at least a year or so and now a new housing block has sprung up. We looked at the display homes about 3 years ago – which inspired us to move to our current home. Those houses where nice enough but had too many stairs for a dachshund and too many bathrooms for me (I hate wasted space on extra bathrooms, people can share, you don’t need one for every bedroom.) I like St Mary’s Island but there are no corner shops and it feels too suburban so we didn’t look to buy there. I like to be near a train station. It’s great for a walk though. We must have got the right time as lots of people were out walking their dogs. We met a Cyprus rescue dog who’d eaten all the owners Celebration chocolates out of the wrappers and was taking a daily dose of charcoal for his sins.

We park on the street along Island Way East, near where the walking avenue heads to the shore line. Marked with a cross on the image above. We walk down the avenue to the river then go left or right. Go left: you’ll walk past Upnor Castle and come to the docks, keep walking round and you get to the shopping centre, you can do a full circle and come back along the main road. Go right: you’ll eventually go through some streets but you’ll come to grassy hills and you’ll find walking tracks through the centre of the Island, in amongst the trees.

Dogs at Hever Castle

Dogs are welcome in the grounds at Hever Castle & Gardens, as long as they are on leads…

Take your dog to the cinema?

Ashford’s Elwick Place Picturehouse: the only cinema in Kent where you can watch films with your dog

A town centre cinema has hosted its first dog-friendly screening.

The Picturehouse Cinema in Elwick Place, Ashford, invited dog owners and their beloved pets down to a special viewing of Pick of the Litter – a documentary following the training of Guide Dog puppies.

The furry film-goers were treated with water bowls, blankets to lie or sit on and dog treats, while lights were kept on and the volume reduced to improve their viewing experience. Representatives from Ashford’s Guide Dogs branch also attended, welcoming guests to the cinema.

The special screenings are expected to continue, taking place on the second week of each month. Other curated film experiences at the Elwick Road complex are designed for people with autism and dementia.

For screening times and information on future events, visit https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Ashford_Picturehouse/

from Kent News Online.

Leybourne Lake, Kent

Back to an old favourite.

Dachshund on duty

Click here for the Guardian story on Jimmy, the therapy dog. (My only concern is that they are giving Jimmy cheese. I thought cheese was bad for dogs?)

Does you dog look like you?

Gerrard Gethings says: “Certain breeds would be essential because of their unique characteristics: Afghan hounds, poodles, pugs, bulldogs etc. I put out the word on social media and was inundated with dogs. I chose 10 of them and then set out to find their human counterpart.

To see the pictures click here to go to the Guardian

Fenella and Georgine, a saluki

“The plan was to shoot the dogs, find the humans, style them, then have them behave or pose in a similar way. This process would be repeated until we had all the shots. At the same time I would always have one eye on people I passed in the street. Many of the subjects I stopped in the park or on the bus, and had to find a tactful way of saying you look exactly like a poodle, can I take your photograph?

Henry and Hope, an Afghan hound

“Without exception, people reacted positively. I always led my request with a compliment, particularly if it was to a total stranger … ‘I’m working on a photographic project and you have beautiful hair/ interesting teeth/a magnificent nose!’ I’ve been taking photographs for a long time so am well versed in administering dubious compliments.

Amelia and Artemis, a standard poodle

“Almost all the dogs were funny. The giant Newfoundland had way too much love to give and almost killed my assistant, knocking her to the ground and cuddling her into submission. Our beautiful, competition winning, standard poodle was in hair and make-up for about two hours, and then the next dog turned up early. They took one look at each other and set off together, rolling and barking and generally going bonkers. The groomer was distraught. One dog mistook my tripod for a lamppost and every other dog who followed saw this as an invitation that would be rude to ignore.

Sophie and Percy, a pug

“During the casting process, I decided I simply had to photograph the Turkish man who helps out in my local shop. He has an amazing beard but speaks hardly any English. It was impossible to explain to him that he reminds me of a miniature schnauzer. I gave up in the end but wrote down the studio address and a time on a piece of paper. He showed up anyway, with absolutely no idea what was about to happen. His pictures were great.”

And more…

 

 

Westminster Dog of the Year

Alex Norris MP’s two dogs Boomer and Corona have been announced as co-winners of the Westminster Dog of the Year competition. The Labour MP for Nottingham North, although a newcomer to the Commons, is a veteran of the competition, having won the the paw-blic vote last year.

For the full article click here.

I want to live in Denmark – New-build apartment block in Denmark has communal dog washing facility in the gardens

Landlords having mostly failed to get the memo about dogs being man’s best friend, a Danish developer is building an apartment block exclusively for dog owners.

The three-story complex in Frederikssund, Zealand, about 45km from Copenhagen, should be finished within the next 12 months and its 18 rented flats will be reserved for tenants with dogs, the local Frederiksborg Amts Avis newspaper reported.

“There’s a real demand,” developer Niels Martin Viuff told the Ritzau news agency. “People are tired of the fact that there are so many places where you cannot have a dog. We’d like to welcome dog owners. Many of them feel a little lonely.”

Viuff, who consulted the Danish kennel club on the apartments’ design and canine-friendly features, said he and his partner Palle Søegaard hoped the Doghouse, as it will be known, would also foster a strong community spirit among residents because they will share a common passion.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” Lise Lotte Christensen, a behavioural consultant at the club, the country’s largest association for dog owners, told the paper. “It’s super exciting, it’s innovative, and we look forward to following the project as it evolves.”

Christensen said the flats would feature hard-wearing, easy-to-clean floors. “Dogs wear things out. They have their winter outdoor footwear on all year round,” she said. “They don’t take their shoes off in the entrance.”

The complex will also have a communal dog-washing facility in the gardens, which would be designed to take account of the fact that dogs are not great respecters of plants, she added.

Viuff said he would want to meet prospective tenants and their dogs before signing the lease. Residents with more than one dog would be welcome as long as the dogs were small, but the very biggest breeds, weighing more than 45kg, would be refused because the apartments were not big enough.

Cat owners, too, would be discouraged, for obvious reasons. But if the Doghouse proved successful, a Cathouse might follow. “I could imagine we might build an apartment block for cat owners,” Viuff said. “It’s on the drawing board.”

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

We were on the way to Knole and passed a sign for Riverhill and decided to go there instead. Glad we did. Dogs welcome. Nice cafe. There is so much to the garden to explore. The top of the hill has a great view. Couscous seemed to love it so we got a season pass. We need to go back 2 more times by end Oct 2019 to make it worthwhile so we should be ok. Unfortunately they are closed over the winter.