Fresh off the leash

Puppy eyes from Fido

Who hasn’t given in to those famous puppy dog eyes? You know, those glances that your faithful friend shoots you when they want something … According to researchers from the University of Portsmouth, it would appear that our furry friends developed this particular gaze over the course of their millennial cohabitation with humans. Indeed, it’s said that the canine eyebrow movement triggers a nurturing reaction among humans because it makes dog eyes seem bigger, resembling those of an infant, so that this movement looks more like a gesture by humans when they’re sad. Not bad, right? This is something to be a little wary of next time Fido shoots you that look…! 😊


Enough with the kitty hugs already!

According to the latest results from a study conducted by Nottingham Trent University, in England, moderation is sometimes the best choice when it comes to showing affection to a cat. You’re thinking, well duh, no surprise there, right? Point taken, but did you know why we must hold ourselves back, as tough as that is, and dole out our love to kitty in carefully managed doses? According to science, it’s because of the cat’s ancestor, the Southern African wildcat (felis silvestris cafra). Long used just to hunt small rodents, the Southern African wildcat was only domesticated around 4,000 years ago. This “short” (!) period of time has apparently been insufficient for cats to fully adapt to their new social environment alongside humans overflowing with affection. Add its low genetic divergence with its ancestor, a purely solitary species, and you have good reasons to believe that your overabundance of love is sometimes not desired… As they say, sometimes less is more!


Four-legged prof

Middlesex University, in London, is now the perfect place to go to university. Why is that? Because, since last May, five specially trained Labradors are now canine teaching assistants, on hand to reduce anxiety during exams and help homesick foreign students stay at university. The five doggies even received their own identification badges to make sure that they’re considered a fundamental part of the teaching staff, crucial to the university’s well-being. Fiona Suthers, the institution’s head of clinical skills, said that “it’s hard to describe the impact of just having a dog lying down in the corner of a class. You can literally feel stress levels reducing. It’s amazing and we’re very keen to continue and expand what we’re doing.”  We understand her… and we’re also looking forward to this initiative coming to Quebec!