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What happens when two canine scientists decide to become pen pals in an era of digital media?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

'Tis the season to be Doggy, fa la la la laaaa...

Hey Julie,

I absolutely LOVE Project: Play with your Dog study and how the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab are crowd sourcing using citizen science! I don't think a better way of contributing to scientific understanding can possibly exist! I look forward to hearing updates about how the research goes. I will certainly participate - next time we head to the river to play, we'll take our camera to get some video!

So you might have noticed the silly season of festivity has landed upon us... Assuming we live past Friday (and I really hope we do, because Friday is my birthday and I selfishly want the fun of a full birthday!) I thought I'd look at some ideas that might inspire gifts for the two- and four-legged doggy friends and family members in our life.


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1. Read about a Dog

I have been re-reading Inside of a Dog recently and thoroughly enjoying it (again). 

This book would make a fantastic gift for anyone who would like to understand more about dogs, the science looking at dogs, how it all fits together and is relevant to our shared encounters with dogs.


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2. Give a Dog

After all those posts about the science of children and dogs I do think every child should have a dog

But make sure it's an appropriate dog. 
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Not every household or child is suited to owning a real dog, but that can't stop you giving that special little person in your life a gorgeous handmade pooch! 


Here are some I fell in love with on Etsy.

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3. Holiday with a dog


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It's Summertime in Australia right now and my dogs love nothing more than coming away on holiday/vacation with us to the beach. What better way to show your dog you've enjoyed their company than to include them on your trip away?

Winter escapes can be fun for dogs too!
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It's easier than you might think to find pet-friendly accommodation in your favourite holiday destination. 

Just head to favourite online search engine and enter 'pet friendly accommodation *insert district name here*'. 


Alternatively just ask normal rental options if they'll allow you to bring a 4-legged friend. You might be surprised how many places will say yes if you just enquire and give them some reassurance that your dog will respect the house rules!
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4. Save a Dog


You can impress your dog loving friends or family members by donating money to your local welfare, shelter or dog rescue group in lieu of a gift. Who really needs another recipe book when the same amount of money could help pay for care to help save a 4-legged life?
 I do love Giddy and Twinkle's words of wisdom! (source)



If you really need a gift to wrap, most of these non-profit, volunteer-driven organisations have calendars they sell to help raise funds.





5. Spend time with a Dog
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At the end of the day, most of our dogs just want to spend time with us

So take time this festive season to go for that extra walk, give that extra pat, groom or game of fetch (depending on what your dog likes and if it is a game, be sure to take a video and submit it to help science!). 

If you don't have a dog, consider volunteering at your local shelter or welfare group. The festive season is an insanely busy period for these places and they are often overrun with dogs who have strayed while their owners are away, who are scared of fireworks or who have been dumped. 


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Just volunteering your time to help clean, feed, walk and care for half a day or three could make a huge difference to the dedicated staff. These people tend to miss out on Christmas lunch with their families or New Year's Eve partying year after year because they nobly spend it looking after our 4-legged friends.



So there you have it - my top 5 gift ideas for two- and four-legged friends this silly season. What's on your gift list?



Wishing you and yours a safe and fun festive season this year Julie.
Here's hoping we all make it past Friday and if we do, I'm sure 2013 is going to be a cracker!


Fa la la la laaaa, la la la laa!

x Mia 


Further reading:

Sitler R.K. (2006). The 2012 Phenomenon New Age Appropriation of an Ancient Mayan Calendar, Nova Religio, 9 (3) 24-38. DOI:

© Mia Cobb 2012