What? Where’s the Reader’s Choice Contest?
I have been BURIED under deadlines and it takes hours and ours to look up all those books, so I’m going to try to figure out how to do Reader’s Choice in less time; as for this week, I’m simply giving away a book of your choice up to US$15 (or a $15 Amazon GC). How simple is that? I’ll announce two weeks’ worth of winners next Sunday, when the deadlines should be more manageable.
In the meantime, I have so far kept my New Year’s Resolution of reading at least one chapter in one book each day (pathetic, but it’s all I can manage). I have really eclectic reading tastes so you never know what might be around the corner.
I can give you a heads’ up that next week is KIM HARRISON week here on the blog, and that Kim herself will be guest-posting, so stay tuned for that! (Fangirling for a moment here.)
In the meantime, here’s the book I recently finished:
About the book: The powerful bond between humans and dogs is one that’s uniquely cherished. Loyal, obedient, and affectionate, they are truly “man’s best friend.” But do dogs love us the way we love them? Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns had spent decades using MRI imaging technology to study how the human brain works, but a different question still nagged at him: What is my dog thinking?
After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question—use an MRI machine to scan the dog’s brain. His colleagues dismissed the idea. Everyone knew that dogs needed to be restrained or sedated for MRI scans. But if the military could train dogs to operate calmly in some of the most challenging environments, surely there must be a way to train dogs to sit in an MRI scanner.
With this radical conviction, Berns and his dog would embark on a remarkable journey and be the first to glimpse the inner workings of the canine brain. Painstakingly, the two worked together to overcome the many technical, legal, and behavioral hurdles. Berns’s research offers surprising results on how dogs empathize with human emotions, how they love us, and why dogs and humans share one of the most remarkable friendships in the animal kingdom.
How Dogs Love Us answers the age-old question of dog lovers everywhere and offers profound new evidence that dogs should be treated as we would treat our best human friends: with love, respect, and appreciation for their social and emotional intelligence.
Well, that pretty much sums it up. I actually bought this book shortly before my dog Shane died at age 16, then, six months later I lost Tanker, also at 16. And I wasn’t ready to read it for a while.
Now, I’m glad I got around to it, finally. I think most of us who have pets know they love us–they droop around and miss us when we’re gone, whether it’s a week or a one-minute walk to the mailbox and back. They love us unconditionally.
What Berns was trying to learn was: do they love us in the way we know love? Or do they love us because we feed them and take care of them?
Yes, and yes. Most of the book is a buildup to HOW Bern was able to set up a functional MRI of a dog (his own terrier mix, Callie) while it was awake. Not such an easy thing since the dog needs to remain motionless, yet alert, for about 20-30 seconds at a time while the noise of an MRI (think jackhammers) go on around them. So the book is procedure-heavy and you can pretty much skip to the last chapters to hear how similar the dog brain is to the human brain, and how the parts of the human brain that react to love also react in the canine brain.
The conclusion was that humans didn’t only domesticate dogs from their wolf ancestors to keep them warm in winter, but because some degree of those wolves found pleasure in human company, which over the eons has become our best friends. The ones who love us as much as we love them.
READER’S CHOICE. Today’s winner can pick their choice of book up to US$15 in value or equivalent gift card. Open internationally to anywhere Book Depository delivers free. In the meantime, if you’re a dog person, do you believe dogs love us in the sense that we feel love? (“Us” meaning their owner or person; my terrier Shane loved me best, but she loved everybody and would work hardest when confronted with someone who was indifferent to her until she wore them down. Tanker loved me. Period. With others, he was mostly either indifferent or downright menacing…especially the murderous mailman.) If you’re a cat person, do they love you…or tolerate you?