Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Category: Dogs

Dog is my coauthor

A typical early morning writing. Davis gets up on the couch, insists on being petted, and eventually settles down and goes back to sleep. It’s very nice, even if it’s a little distracting on some mornings.

The one lawn Davis likes

I have no idea why it is, but when it warms up, there’s one lawn that Davis likes to roll around on after a long walk. It’s a few doors from our house, which may be a factor. But it’s literally the only lawn he ever wants to lay down on.

(And I’m testing a Word Press-to-Instagram plugin. We’ll see if it works!)

How dogs know when we’re sick

This Amanda Mull article about “How My Dog Knows When I’m Sick” will be familiar to any dog owner:

Midge, my 12-pound rescue pup, isn’t the world’s most affectionate dog. We get along great, but she has her own hobbies: horrifically dismembering her cute little plush toys, chewing through her chew-proof bed. But as soon as even a mild head cold starts to take hold of me, my dog is transformed. She’s no longer her usual self, jabbing a dagger paw into my ribs to prod me into throwing her ball. Instead, she’s Doctor Midge, Medicine Chihuahua, ready to nurse me back to health by cuddling up against me (or on top of me) at all times.

Although I’m of the firm belief that my dog is a unique and special angel, it’s easy to find tales of other pets comforting or guarding their people during times of illness or injury. I was sick last week, and as Midge was glued to my side, friends told me about their own pets attending to them around the clock after everything from surgery to stomach troubles.

My lab pretty much monitors me all the time, which I’ve assumed means he’s neurotic, but maybe means I’m constantly on death’s door; but when the other dog— who normally is more standoffish, pays that kind of attention to me, I’m definitely under the weather. And interestingly, when I’m really laid out with something, she’ll often stay with me more faithfully than the lab.

It’s not clear whether they have a concept of sickness that extends to both themselves and humans— i.e., whether they recognize in us the same state that happens when, say, they eat something they shouldn’t have— but it’s definitely the case that they know that something is happening, and they want to help, even if helping mainly involves making it impossible for us to adjust the covers because they’re weighed down by sleeping dog.

Sous chef

Using the leftovers from yesterday’s New Year’s Day brunch, with a supervisor ready to deal with any dropped ham or cheese.

This dog can sleep anywhere

Dogs are lovely, not because their special connections with us or the fact that evolved from mysteries, but because they can sleep wherever they want, yes dogs have the ability to sleep anywhere! I was moving stuff into the couch so I could vacuum, and before I moved it off, Davis had decided to settle down for a nap. If I could sleep like him I wouldn’t have to take sleep medication every day before going to bed.

Christmas was exhausting, it seems!

Whenever I make pancakes…

I have an audience.

This has been the scene for years!

Dogs with jobs

When I was on my travels, I met several dogs who were helping people I interviewed. There was this dog doing graphic design:

Normally, with dog

Then there was this very good dog who joined us for a meeting.

Meeting the team members.

I was thinking about these dogs yesterday morning when I got up early to write, and had to deal with this:

Not a productivity enhancement.

There are worse problems to have. Still, it does make typing a challenge!

“A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love”

Amid all the lousy news, a nice New York Times reflection about our relationships with dogs:

A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close, to be entwined, to touch and touch and touch.

Dogs and cats in Europe

While I was in Copenhagen week before last, I came across a cat while heading to a friend’s house for lunch:


Then a couple days later, I ran into this cat at the book stalls in Amsterdam:

Open air book stalls

I also crossed paths with a couple dogs.

Open air book stalls

I always like seeing animals when I travel, if only because they remind me of my own pets back home.

Amsterdam city center

When you serve the dogs dinner but forget dessert

Apparently tonight’s menu was incomplete, because my English Labrador dove through the recycles until he found a discarded ice cream container.

Moments in the life of Davis

Fortunately it was empty.

© 2019 Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

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