Santa Fe Scoop

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Randi shared Ben Swan's blog post on Facebook
18 hours ago
Randi shared Ben Swan's blog post on Facebook
18 hours ago
Ben Swan posted a blog post

Local animal news in brief, Feb. 12, 2017

February promotion helps homeless, petsA nonprofit that helps homeless people and their dogs is encouraging businesses to participate in its Project from the Heart program.The monthlong promotion from Street Homeless Animal Project aims to raise awareness and donations for those living on the streets with their animals. The group asks individuals and businesses to consider a donation to help homeless people and their pets. Those who donate will be featured on the group’s website and receive a…See More
Feb 18
Profile IconSilvia Geiger and HelenKGarber joined Santa Fe Scoop
Feb 9
Ben Swan posted a blog post

Local animal news in brief, Feb. 9, 2017

Shelter reduces dog adoption feesThe Santa Fe animal shelter is reducing the fees on many adult dogs in celebration of Valentine’s Day and beyond.The adoption fee for adult dogs is $25 through February; the fee for puppies and Shelter Heroes is 50 percent off. The adoption special kicks off Friday and coincides with the shelter’s release of a parody on The Bachelor called The Dog Bachelor. The short film will premiere at a special event Thursday at the New Mexico Hard Cider Taproom, 505…See More
Feb 9
Allison Stephens shared their event on Facebook
Feb 6
Allison Stephens posted an event

Integrative Veterinary Wellness - Open House at Rodeo Park

February 8, 2017 at 9am to February 25, 2017 at 1pm
Integrative Veterinary Wellness would like to invite you to our open house! Integrative Veterinary Wellness focus is on prevention and alternative options in the care of their pets. We combine eastern and western medicine and offer nutrition consults, supplements, and acupuncture. We are welcoming everyone one from Santa Fe and the surrounding areas to check out our hospital and learn more about Integratve Veterinary Wellness. We are all about prevention so we are offering FREE SCREENING…See More
Feb 6
Profile IconKathleen Healy, ALLISON CLAYTON, Lynn M Hammonds and 1 more joined Santa Fe Scoop
Jan 19

Links

Lost your dog? Find a lost or injured animal? Here are important contact numbers in Santa Fe and Santa Fe County:

In the city limits, Animal Services is at 955-2701. On weekends and holidays, call SFPD dispatch at 955-2700.
In the county, Animal Control is at 992-1626. On weekends and holidays, call Sheriff's dispatch at 428-3720.

Still unsure about what to do to find your lost pet? Read these tips put together by Scoop member Julie.

Suspect an animal might be suffering from abuse? Call the toll-free statewide hot line for reporting extreme cruelty to animals at 1-877-548-6263.

Have a favorite animal-related link? Let me know at scoop@sfnewmexican.com and I'll post it here.

Animal Protection of New Mexico

Animal Shelter Tips Blog

All Creatures Memorials

Baghdad pups

Best Friends Animal Sancturary

Bridging the Worlds Animal Sanctuary

Cat Spay of Santa Fe

City of Santa Fe Animal Services

Desert Paws - news from Cochiti Lake

Dew Paws

East Mountain Pet Alert


Espanola Valley Humane Society

Felines & Friends New Mexico

House Rabbit Society

Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary

Listening to Raven: Artist Beth Surdut

 

Luvin' Labradors Retriever Rescue New Mexico

New Mexico House Rabbit Society

New Mexico Independent Border Collie Rescue

New Mexico Mustang and Burro Association

Pet Loss Support Page

Santa Fe Border Collie Club

Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society

Santa Fe Dog Park blog

Save the Chimps

Shaking Wind Ranch

Southwest Llama Rescue

The Wildlife Center

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Dear Science: Why do we love our pets?

By Sarah Kaplan/The Washington Post

Q: Why do we humans love our pets so much?

A: Here's what science has to say:

"It really is an amazing question," said Clive Wynne, director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University.

Wynne has devoted his career to studying animal behavior and the evolutionary relationship between animals and people. He said it's easy to see why our pets would love us: "The success of dogs [and other domesticated creatures] on the surface of the Earth is entirely due to the fact that we take some level of care of them."

In fact, some scientists have suggested that pets exhibit a form of parasitism - taking food and shelter from humans without offering much in return. "They argue that we love our pets because they have hoodwinked us into it," Wynne said.

He doesn't buy that argument. (Then again, he is a dog owner - he's under the spell!) But he acknowledged there's no satisfying evolutionary explanation for that warm, gooey feeling we get when we look at our dogs and cats.

This love story started with dogs, our most ancient animal companions. Analysis of dog and wolf genomes, along with numerous discoveries of ancient bone, suggests that humans domesticated our canine friends somewhere between 13,000 and 30,000 years ago. Wynne thinks it's likely that the animals started out as wolves that scavenged from human garbage pits; those willing to get closer to people got more food, and they evolved to become tamer over time. Eventually, humans felt comfortable around dogs - and dogs liked being around us - enough that we took them into our homes and recruited them for our hunts. Recent excavations at mammoth kill sites uncovered dog bones among the remains, suggesting that dogs and humans hunted together.

But even then, it's not clear that we loved dogs, Wynne said. That change happened around 10,000 years ago, when dogs started showing up in our artwork and burial grounds. Last year, scientists discovered an ancient cemetery near Siberia's Lake Baikal where 5,000- to 8,000-year-old dogs were buried right alongside their humans.

"You get dog burials, which show there was a lot of care and attention paid to the burial," Wynne said, "and they include grave goods [valuable items placed in the grave for use in the afterlife], which really seems like there was a strong indication of affection."

By ancient Egyptian times, household pets were laid to rest in elaborate tombs decorated with inscriptions, furnished with treasure and scented by incense. (Though archaeologists believe that some of the dogs were likely raised specifically to be killed, making the gesture seem somewhat less thoughtful.)

If dogs evolved to be the companions of human hunters, then cats came along to be farmers' pets. DNA evidence suggests that cats were first tamed by the Natufians, who lived in the Levant roughly 10,000 years ago and are often credited with being the inventors of agriculture. Cats, the logic goes, are very useful for catching the rodents that inevitably inhabit grain storehouses. As the animals started to congregate around human settlements, they became more social, developing the communication skills needed to deal with other cats and humans.

In the cases of both species, the process of domestication probably started with the animals themselves; tamer animals were better able to take advantage of the resources made available by human settlements. Then people got involved, selectively breeding the cutest, cuddliest and most cooperative creatures until we got the pets we know today.

So, that's how we came to love animals, but it still doesn't really explain why. We can't love dogs and cats simply because of their utility. For one thing, domesticated livestock are also useful, but we (typically) don't name cows or cry over movies about sheep that find their way home. For another, Wynne noted, dogs and cats really aren't that useful anymore.

"My own dog, who I love out of all proportion, is utterly and completely useless," he said.

For several decades, it was believed that pet ownership was good for humans' physical and mental health. But with further research, the picture has become less clear. A 2009 study of nearly 40,000 people in Sweden found that pet owners suffered from more mental health problems than their non-pet-owning peers.

Other theories suggest that the benefit of pet ownership could have more to do with other humans. For example, pets might be what's called an "honest signal" of their humans' wealth, demonstrating that their owners have so much time and money to spare that they can afford to keep a creature whose purpose is only cuteness.

Then again, some argue that our love for pets is purely social, rather than biological. After all, a 2015 survey of more than 60 countries found that, even though dogs were kept in 52 countries, they were considered companions in fewer than half of them. Harold Herzog, a psychologist at Western Carolina University, has written that love for pets is a contagious habit we "catch" from our peers, as evidenced by the rise and fall of fads in dog breed ownership. Perhaps the warm and gooey feeling we get when we look into a puppy's eyes is just a consequence of social pressure and "Lassie Come Home."

As a scientist, Wynne isn't happy with any of the theories put forward to explain our love for our pets. He'd like to see more and better data - perhaps an experiment that examined brain scans of people taken while they looked at cats and dogs.

But as someone who knows what it's like to love a dog, he was willing to indulge in some unscientific musing. Wynne noted that domesticated dogs are very childlike: They exhibit several behaviors usually found only among juveniles in wild animals, such as licking (or "kissing") their owners' faces, and they're unable to survive on their own. When Wynne's family adopted their dog, his wife ("who is an engineer and very practical," he said) remarked that perhaps they should have had more kids.

"She perceived that same buttons were being pressed that were pressed when we had our child," Wynne said.

Maybe that's all there is to it: Humans are programmed to love soft and helpless things.

Scoop bulletins

Scoop - We are the heart of Santa Fe's great animal-loving community.

Remember in order to become a member of Scoop, you must indicate whether you have an animal companion and what his or her name is. Those who don't have animal companions must simply say what animals mean to them. It's a simple rule, but it helps to eliminate spammers or those with certain agendas.

PLEASE remember we do not allow unsupported blog postings that are intended as attacks on any groups or individuals. This is a place for communication about animal-welfare issues and not one-sided agendas.

GOT NEWS? Send all your animal story ideas, pet-related events or interesting facts to bendavidswan@gmail.com and they will be published in Thursday's Scoop section of The New Mexican (depending on space. You are welcome to post items here as well!

Santafescoop.com is a community-networking site. If you wish to advertise a product or service please contact our advertising department at (505) 995-3846. Profiles that are overtly commercial can be removed.

We continue to be plagued by Spammers. Those interested in becoming members, please sign up, but also email scoop@sfnewmexican.com to assure acceptance. Sorry of the inconvenience.

Blog Posts

Local animal news in brief, Feb. 12, 2017

February promotion helps homeless, pets

A nonprofit that helps homeless people and their dogs is encouraging businesses to participate in its Project from the Heart program.

The monthlong promotion from Street Homeless Animal Project aims to raise awareness and donations for those living on the streets with their animals. The group asks individuals and businesses to consider a donation to help homeless people and their pets. Those who donate will be featured on…

Continue

Posted by Ben Swan on February 18, 2017 at 10:59am

Local animal news in brief, Feb. 9, 2017

Shelter reduces dog adoption fees

The Santa Fe animal shelter is reducing the fees on many adult dogs in celebration of Valentine’s Day and beyond.

The adoption fee for adult dogs is $25 through February; the fee for puppies and Shelter Heroes is 50 percent off. The adoption special kicks off Friday and coincides with the shelter’s release of a parody on The Bachelor called The Dog Bachelor. The short film will premiere at a special event…

Continue

Posted by Ben Swan on February 9, 2017 at 12:14pm

Local animal news in brief, Jan. 18, 2017

Clinic offers open houses

A new Santa Fe veterinary clinic that features holistic services is hosting a series of open houses to meet its staff and learn about its care.

Integrative Veterinary Wellness, 2001 Vivigen Way, Suite B, offers acupuncture, counseling, Bach flower remedies, Reiki, preventive screenings, immunotherapy and discounted dental care. The open houses are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.…

Continue

Posted by Ben Swan on January 19, 2017 at 10:58am

Local animal news in brief, Dec. 1, 2016

Brewery hosts adoption event

A special pet adoption event will be held at Santa Fe brewery that is also offering a portion of its beer sales to the Santa Fe animal Shelter.

The Pulls for Pups adoption event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, 1405 Maclovia St. The brewery, which specializes in rustic farmhouse and sour ales, has a heated outdoor patio where dogs are welcome.

“The heated patio is the perfect place…

Continue

Posted by Ben Swan on December 1, 2016 at 4:39pm

Barn Cats in Need of Homes

A small colony of sterilized feral cats are now not welcome at their current location.   We are in urgent need of a new home for them either to live as backyard or barn "pest control".  If you can help us place them, please contact:

felinesandfriendsnm@yahoo.com

Posted by Bobbi Heller on November 2, 2016 at 9:46am

Local animal news in brief, Sept. 29, 2016

Fundraiser helps wildlife legislation

The political action committee of a statewide animal-welfare advocacy group is hosting a fundraiser Wednesday in Santa Fe to help support its efforts in passing humane wildlife legislation.

Animal Protection Voters is hosting Winning for Wildlife from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Oct. 5, at the Animal Protection Voters’ Santa Fe office, 1111 Paseo de Peralta. The event features vegan appetizers and beverages along with discussion…

Continue

Posted by Ben Swan on September 29, 2016 at 11:00am

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