Study: Your Dog Literally Has No Short-Term Memory

You spend your life loving, laughing, and engaging in wonderful activities with your dog. Too bad your dog doesn’t remember any of it. 

Wait, let us clarify: He remembers it — for about a minute. At two minutes, he’s forgotten it. Unless it’s an event that has to do with food or fear, the memory is gone, zapped, cleared from the doggy record, according to a new study, which seems like an arrow pointed at our heart.  

Thanks, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution at Stockholm University, Sweden.

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Dog playing chess by Shutterstock.

Of course, with studies like this, the important thing to realize is that you can just ignore the results, figuring they'll change in a year or so. Like you did with eggs and meat. But, in the interest of reporting the news, let's have at it:

"A recent investigation of short-term memory suggests animals don't remember specific events much at all," announces National Geographic. "Instead, they store away useful information about what could help them survive."

"Covering 25 species that ranged from dolphins to bees, the study found the average short-term memory span of animals was 27 seconds ..."

Good Lord. How did this animal kingdom ever get off the ground? 

"Dogs forget an event within two minutes," continues the article, cruelly. "Chimpanzees, at around 20 seconds, are worse than rats at remembering things, while the memory spans of three other primates -- baboons, pig-tailed macaques, and squirrel monkeys -- exceeded only bees."

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Wait, sorry, dog EATING chess by Shutterstock.

Humans, on the other hand, remember mundane events like a pro. We're able to ace the memory test they gave animals "effortlessly" up to 48 hours later. 

"The data tell us that animals have no long-term memory of arbitrary events," said ethologist Johan Lind, who headed the team. "We think humans' ability to remember arbitrary events is unique."

About that study: It drew on 100 studies of captive animals who had been given a memory test of recent random events. It's known as the delayed matching-to-sample method (DMTS), in which visual stimulus, like a red circle, is shown to the subject. 

"The red circle disappears, then, after a delay, it's shown again with another sample stimulus -- a blue square, say. The animal, usually with the incentive of a food reward, has to select the original sample it saw."

Of course, you know your dog remembers a whole lot of stuff longer than two minutes. Those memories, claims the study, are associative memories -- a cat associating the cat carrier with the danger going to the vet, for example.  

The study says that animals have "specialized memory systems" hardwired to remember certain "biologically relevant information," according to National Geographic

We're skeptical, of course -- dogs certainly do seem to have memories that aren't entirely related to "biologically relevant information" -- but we'll let this study have its moment in the sun. 

Before we forget it. 

Via National Geographic

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DOG SAVES ELDERLY OWNER FROM CARBON MONOXIDE LEAK

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A recent blizzard could have turned even more dangerous for a Massachusetts woman if it hadn’t been for her golden retriever, Reilly.

According to the Patriot Ledger, Nancy Sheerin of Weymouth, Mass. was at home alone with Reilly during a snowstorm.

Sheerin, who is hard of hearing, went to bed after taking out her hearing aids.

But at 4 a.m. she awoke to the 3-year-old Reilly licking her face.


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Pet Food Recall: Pet International Inc. 6″ Beef Trachea Pet Treat

The FDA has released a pet food recall for 6″ Beef Trachea Pet Treats.  You can find the official report below and here.

Contact:
Consumer:
(305) 591-3338

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — February 11, 2015 — Pet International of Miami, Florida is recalling 1500 units of 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals (i.e. dogs) eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet produTracheacts, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Dogs with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets (i.e. dogs) will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your dog has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat was distributed to retail stores in the following Cities: Conifer, and Lakewood in Colorado.

If you have this product, use gloves and put in a double bag and throw it away as soon as possible. Do not touch the product in any way, and if you do, it’s recommended you must wash your hands immediately with an antibacterial soap.

The potentially affected product will pertain to a particular lot number, and are specific to a particular size of the pouch it’s sold in. Anyone having these products should verify the following:

Brand: Buster’s Natural Pet Supply,
Lot Code: 8501450,
Size: 6” Beef Trachea/ 12 Pack Plastic Pouch,
UPC Code: 8501450

No illnesses have been reported to date. We are still warning consumers that if any of the above information is on the package you have, do not feed it to any animals at all. It may be hazardous and should be disposed of immediately.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and analyzed by FDA, obtained from Buster’s Natural Pet Supply in Conifer, CO. and found to be positive for Salmonella. The product sampled had a Buster’s Label on it, but was manufactured by Pet International. Buster’s Natural Pet Supply recalled the entire product from the two stores that the distributor sells it. The Pet International Inc. continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased 6” Beef Trachea with Buster’s Natural Pet Supply Label on it and are wishing to be refunded because of the recall, can take the product back to where bought it from, with receipt. A special form will be provided to be filled out as well. Both the form and the receipt are needed for the refund.

Consumers with any questions about the recall product may contact the company at by phone at (305) 591-3338 Monday through Friday 9:00am too 5:00pm EST or via e-mail at sergioh@petint.com.


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Another Lump

A few months ago we discovered a hard lump on Lacey’s back right foot. It looked nothing like the cancerous lump we’d found a few years ago between her toes but it freaked me out regardless. It was small, and hard and deep under the skin layer. The vet wasn’t able to get a sample and she suggested we X-ray it to make sure it wasn’t a bone spur or anything like that. Her X-rays were clear and we decided they’d try and get another sample the following week (Her anal glands were badly infected so she had to get sedated for a flush and they’d have an easier time getting a sample). They got three samples, sent them off and they all came back as negative. No signs of anything. Yay.

Fast forward to earlier this week when we noticed her lump had ballooned out suddenly. It looked almost like a swollen ankle would, but it was quite firm and she wasn’t showing any signs of lameness. So back to the vet for more samples. This time the results weren’t as good – there were mast cells in the sample.

Just a few days later and the “swelling” seems to have gone down again and we are back to just the hard lump. We see the oncologist on the 2nd and we are hoping that it will be able to be fixed with a simple removal again. I’m a little worried by how deep it is (Dr. Google isn’t helping) but there is nothing we can do in the meantime, so worrying is pointless and I’m vowing to stay off google as much as possible.

Marlin and I both cleared our schedules yesterday afternoon and took the girls to the beach for some happy time. It was good for all of us.  We definitely feel more prepared this time.

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Essley’s Favorite Books

The Best Books for Toddlers // Bubby and Bean

Ever since Essley first learned to grasp things with her tiny hands, she’s gravitated toward books. She’s only 13.5 months old, so obviously she doesn’t read yet – but there is something about the act of being able to turn each page to discover a whole new set of colors and shapes and words that thrills her. Of all of the toys and games and activities that now sprawl across both her bedroom and the space that was once our living room (sigh), it is almost always books that she chooses first. When she toddles up to me with a book in hand then climbs up on my lap so I can read to her, my heart melts. Although I’ll admit that the best is when she sits on the floor and quietly occupies herself with books long enough for me to return some work emails or clean the kitchen or, you know, get two whole minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time.

Essley has a lot of books (I kept most of mine from childhood, we started buying them for her when I was pregnant, and she’s received a lot as gifts as well), and it will be fun to see which ones end up being her go-to’s over time through the various stages of her learning. Right now, she’s (of course) a fan of baby and toddler level board books that are easy for her to hold, contain interesting pictures and pretty colors, and have simple stories. Her favorites change week to week, but she does have handful to which she is most attached. The books you see above and listed/linked below are the ones you’ll find her carrying around and looking through repeatedly throughout the day, everyday. A few of them (#4, #5, and #11) were my favorites as a toddler too. If you’re in search of some really great books for a special baby or toddler your in life, these are the ones that I’d recommend. (And judging by her apparent bond with each of them, Essley would too).

1. Sally in the Snow by Stephen Huneck 
(Beautiful illustrations and a sweet story about a dog’s skiing adventure.)
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle 
(A simple story with gorgeous animal images and rhythmic text.)
3. Baby Loves to Rock by Wednesday Kirwan 
(A fun, modern book is full of colorful illustrations of animals rocking to different types of music.)
4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
(A classic and the ultimate bedtime story.)
5. I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry 
(A beautifully illustrated simple story of the seasons, originally published in 1963.)
6. On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman 
(Sweet, tender, and affectionate story about celebrating the birth of your little one.)
7. That’s Not My Puppy, Its Coat Is Too Hairy by Rachel Wells
(A fun touch and feel book with bold illustrations great for sensory skills.)
8. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram 
(Sentimental and endearing with pretty watercolor pictures.)
9. Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton 
(Earthy colored, folk-style artwork accompanies a sweetly reassuring story.)
10. My Very First Book of Colors by Eric Carle 
(This first book in which Essley took interest as a newborn. Teaches color matching through vibrant artwork.)
11. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper 
(A slightly abridged version of the classic children’s book made for toddlers.)
12. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd 
(Another classic by Margaret Wise Brown filled with poetically rhythmic text and a mix of lovely black and white and color illustrations.)
13. Hello Baby: Animals by Roger Priddy 
(Full of high contrast colors and simple animal shapes, great for stimulating sight and learning simple words.)
14. Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice by Alison Oliver and Jennifer Adams 
(Part of the super clever BabyLit series; teaches numbers via charming Jane Austen-inspired illustrations.)

Those of you with kids (or nieces/nephews, or grandkids, or children of friends who you love), are any of these books among your little ones’ favorites as well? What were your favorites as a young child?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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