Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 16, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page A:10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 16, 2013 



Well Founded Fact or 
Fallible Fantasy?


Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

You’ve got looks and personality all rolled into one unique 
mix with Mouse (A4650833)! This boy is a gem. Mouse is a 
spirited five year old black and white male Corgi/Jack Russell 
Terrier mix who was brought to the Baldwin Park Shelter on 
November 7th. Weighing fifteen pounds, Mouse walks well 
on leash, is well socialized and most likely housebroken. He 
has a medium energy level, is good with other dogs and it 
is our belief that he will be good with children. Volunteers 
who have met Mouse think he is a great little guy. Imagine 
him just hanging out with you as content as can be, while 
you watch TV or surf the web -- what a great life! Mouse is a trouble-free dog who is the perfect pet 
for anyone in any living situation and he would be a great companion for a senior citizen. To watch 
a video of Mouse please visit:

To meet Mouse in person, please see him at the Baldwin Park Shelter, located at 4275 N. Elton, 
Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (Phone: 626-430-2378 or 626-962-3577). He is currently available now. For 
any inquiries about Mouse, please reference his animal ID number: A4650833. The shelter is open 
seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-Thursday and 10am-5pm Friday-Sunday. This is a high-
intake shelter with a great need for adoptions. For more information about Mouse or the adoption 
process, contact United Hope for Animals Volunteer Adoption Coordinator Samantha at Samantha@ To learn more about United Hope for Animals’ partnership with the Baldwin Park 
Shelter through its Shelter Support Program, as well as the many dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes 
available for adoption in local shelters, visit

 Much ado has ensued in recent years, regarding the cognitive capacity of the “common” domestic 
canine, and some psychologists who have conducted and successfully completed studies in this field 
of interest, have earned due respect from their peers in the animal behavioral science community. The 
burden of proof always lies on the individual whose desire it is to prove a particular theory as scientific 
fact, and with that comes the responsibility and challenge of addressing and proving un-true numerous 
pertinent opposing viewpoints.

 Science is a discipline defined by very specific perimeters that must be acknowledged in determining 
the difference between fact and theory, and the process of proving a theory as fact requires accurately 
documenting the results of repeated controlled studies with consistency, tenacity and patience. Therein 
lies the uniquely inherent value of the discipline itself. Anyone can come up with a theory, and hopefully 
we all have a theory or two of our own that we make known at some point in our lives, but it is the 
proven fact that ultimately becomes a part of true science in the end.

 When it comes to studying and accurately defining the thought processes and learning abilities of 
a dog, the first major challenge is communicating effectively with the subject. As we all know, animals 
don’t speak human language, so in order to figure out what is really going on the mind of a canine, an 
alternative language that the subject will hopefully comprehend and respond to in a consistent manner, 
must be employed. There have been various studies conducted over the past several decades wherein 
sounds, signals, sign language, objects and/or graphic imagery were used to communicate with the 
canine, in an effort to learn more about what they are thinking. The results of some of those studies have 
sustained strongly enough scientifically to be accepted as true building blocks for future research into 
how a dog actually thinks and learns and why he even bothers to.

 Does “Fido” respond consistently to a hand signal or verbal command simply out of natural instinct, or 
does he do it because he feels the desire to please the human? Is his response more the result of empathy 
about what the human is asking of him, or is it simply an inherent reflex or robotic response completely 
absent of logic? How much of how “Fido” responds to stimuli comes from cognitive comprehension 
versus natural instinct? These are among the questions yet to be answered definitively and ones that 
many animal behavior psychologists and professionals are on a major quest to find answers to.

 It is a fine line to define whether our four-legged furry friends understand what we are saying and 
thus respond by virtue of cognition, or if they respond in a certain way simply because they were wired 
by nature to do so. This subject stirs up an immense amount of interest and intrigue not only among 
professionals in the field, but also among lay people such as myself, who love their pets and want to 
know what they are thinking in order to form stronger bonds and perhaps know better how to care for 
them when they are ill. It also stirs up a big hot pot of controversy among certain folks of various schools 
of thought regarding the cognitive capacity of a canine, and whether they are even capable of having 
emotions as we humans understand them.

 Indeed, the concept of canine cognition is a very touchy subject among some religious groups who 
deem it blatant blasphemy to give a dog the credit for being anywhere near able to have feelings the 
way we humans do. I don’t see the connection, myself. I believe God created the dog (and every other 
animal for that matter), for very specific purposes, just as He created each of us for a specific purpose. 
We come from different species, but we all play an important part in this universe and on this globe. I 
would never be so bold as to assume my reason for being is more important than any other creature’s 
on earth. We are all part of a big picture, and we should humble ourselves to the knowledge that we are 
blessed to even be alive at all.

 I don’t have time or space in this article to go into the details of studies that have been conducted or 
are currently underway on canine cognition, but here is a short list of websites that I found during a 
brief Google search, for those readers who are interested enough to look them up:

. Duke Canine Cognition Center (Duke University) -
. Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology -
. Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab (Columbia University) -
. Harvard Canine Cognition Lab (Facebook) -

 If you are interested in learning more about what goes on in the mind of your dog, you can visit, a website where you can assess your dog’s cognitive tendencies in a list of categories such 
as empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reason. There are various games and tests you can 
choose from for you and your dog to participate in. When you complete the assessment, you enter the 
data results, and the website provides feedback that is supposed to be accurate and somewhat valuable 
regarding your canine‘s cognitive capacity. I found it interesting, but how scientifically correct the results 
are is another question. At least you and your dog will have fun in the process! You can purchase a one 
time tool kit for $39. If you are not interested for yourself, it might make a great Christmas gift idea for 
a friend! (No, I don’t get a kick back, it’s just a friendly suggestion!)

 I am fascinated by the concept of canine cognition, and I am glad there are so many scientific 
research projects underway to help us better understand our furry four-legged friends. I may never 
know what my two girls are thinking, but I can’t help believing there is more going on in their heads 
than, “When’s dinner?”, or “I need to go out and pee!” Regardless of what Tater and Molly think, one 
thing is for sure…they KNOW I love them!


Zander is too! He is a friendly, mellow, easy going 2 – 3 
year old white terrier boy. He is very handsome and often 
turns heads on his walks. Although he loves the lap and to 
spend time with you, he is not a needy, demanding dog. He 
is very mannerly and independent. He has been great on 
our walks, loves to explore and is curious about everything 
around him, especially other dogs. He doesn’t pull, goes 
with the flow and will stop when you do. He was one of 
the participants in our recent “Tea for Tails” event and was 
very cooperative, well behaved in public and attracted a lot 
of attention. He is up to date with all routine shots and 
ready to be part of your family!! 

He currently resides at the San Gabriel Valley Humane 
Society located at 851 E. Grand Avenue in San Gabriel 
with his roommate, Arthur. We are located off San Gabriel 
Blvd., north of Mission and south of Las Tunas. 

To arrange a ‘Meet and Greet’ with Zander (aka….TC12233), please stop by any time from 10:00am 
to 4:30pm Tuesday thru Sunday. 

His adoption fee is $120 which includes his neuter surgery, a microchip, first vaccinations and a free 
wellness check-up at a participating veterinarian. Feel free to call us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information on Zander. 

See our website at for information and photos of all our available pets. 


The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society proudly announces donations in excess of $113,000 as a 
result of its October “Monster Match” fundraising event. Challenged to match $30,000 in donated 
funds, shelter supporters mobilized throughout the San Gabriel Valley to meet the challenge.

The shelter has been rescuing animals and finding homes for them for almost 90 years. Throughout 
its long history, the SGVHS has provided food, shelter and medical care to thousands of dogs and 
cats who were stray and homeless, who were rescued from abusive conditions or were relinquished 
by their owners. Dedicated staff and volunteers work hard to socialize the animals in their care, 
and adopters know their new pet has been well cared for and loved. Every healthy, adoptable animal 
deserves a home and the SGVHS is committed to providing every animal with the opportunity to 
find its forever family. 

The shelter provides spay/neuter services, scheduled vaccinations, and sponsors adoption programs 
including ‘Seniors for Seniors’ and the ‘Buddy System’. Animals are spayed/neutered, have their first 
vaccinations, a microchip and come with a free wellness check-up at a local veterinarian.

The shelter is located at 851 E. Grand Avenue in San Gabriel off San Gabriel Blvd., north of Mission 
and south of Las Tunas. Hours are 10:00am to 4:30pm Tuesday thru Sunday. To learn more about 
the shelter, visit the website at for information and photos of all available pets. 

Nestled in the coastal mountain range of central California mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco and 
just 30 minutes from the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport, Paso Robles is a centrally located respite for families, 
couples, groups of friends and canine travelers longing to enjoy a relaxing getaway. Boasting a vast wine region 
with more than 200 vintners, farm-fresh cuisine, nearby Hearst Castle and beaches, a quaint downtown filled with 
local artisan shops and galleries and a wide selection of accommodations, Paso Robles offers something for everyone- 
including pets. Please post a photo of your pet on vacation in Paso Robles on our Facebook Page.


Don't leave your best friend at home when you travel to Paso Robles. We've got hotels, wineries, restaurant patios, 
pet photographers, museums and missions, dog friendly attractions and events, as well as dog boarding services 
and parks that welcome your pup with open arms.


Here is a sampling of what dogs 
and their owners can enjoy:


Pet Friendly Hotels and Inns: 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites- 

Hotel Cheval (under 80 lbs)- www. 

La Quinta Inn & Suites- www. 

Paso Robles Inn- www.pasoroblesinn.

The Oaks Hotel & Suites- www.pasooaks.


Pet Friendly Restaurant Patios:

Thomas Hill Organics- 1305 Park 
Street www.thomashillorganics.

Big Bubba's Bad BBQ- 1125 24th 

Pappy McGregor's Irish Pub- 1122 
Pine Street www.pappymcgregors.


Pet Friendly Stores:

Firefly Gallery- 1301 Park Street 

Jayde Boutique- 823 12th Street 

Rocky Mountain Chocolate- 1106 Pine Street 


Pet Friendly Wineries:

Adelaida Cellars- 5805 Adelaida Road 

JUSTIN Winery- 11680 Chimney Rock Road 

Steinbeck Vineyards- 5940 Union Road 

Tablas Creek Vineyards- 9339 Adelaida Road 

Treana Winery- 1585 Live Oak Road 

Venteux- 1795 Las Tablas Road Templeton 

Victor Hugo Winery- 2850 El Pomar Templeton 


Dog Boarding:

Canterbury Tails Dog Resort features air-conditioned canine casitas, comfy beds, lavender baths, chicken and rice 
dinners and more.


Dog Parks: 

Sherwood Dog Park is located at 290 Scott Street. The park is fully fenced 1.25 acres with a separate area designated 
for small, timid, or senior dogs. Amenities include park benches, picnic tables, shade, a swim area for dogs 
to dunk, and a toy bin with assorted retrieval toys.

The Toro Creek Dog Beach on Hwy 1 in Cayucos is about a 35-minute drive from Paso Robles, where dogs can 
run free off leash.


Dog Events:

Doggie Days in the Vineyard each 


Pet Portraits:



Museums and Missions:

Rios-Caledonia Adobe in San Miguel 


Pet Friendly Transportation Companies: 

Breakaway Tours- 179 Niblick Road 

For Paso Robles information, go to: or call 888.988.PASO (7276).