Strap line

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

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Dogs helping cats: February is ‘Lend A Paw’ month


(Source)
 Hi Mia!

Cats chilling with working dogs? I’ve never heard of that, and it’s the best idea! It's possible working dog organizations here in the States do that, and I’m just out of the loop. Clearly that experience/exposure is important for dogs and cats alike!

Yes, Josh had a bit of a run in with block of cheese and a tea kettle. Not to worry; he is healthy and happy, although the cheese felt violated and the tea kettle is out of commission.


Science Online 2013 Conference (#scio13)
Now that the whirlwind of Science Online is behind me, here are my thoughts:

#1. Raleigh is awesome. Beautiful, and fun downtown.  

#2. Trending: Apparently #scio13 was “trending” on twitter during the conference. I just learned a) what “trending” means, and that b) most of the time, things like Justin Beiber and
(Coffee is good)
LOL are trending. Good job scientists and science journalists for smashed them out of the way.

#3. Favorite sessions: How to create narrative, what’s going on in citizen science, making e-books and how to visualize data were some of my favorites. Oh, and coffee. Really good coffee.

#4. #scio13 summaries: If you're interested, here are more in-depth post-conference write-ups:


'Lend a Paw' month 
In other news, I have an unofficial announcement: February is now, 'Lend a Paw' month! By this I mean, Help scientists design a cat behavior questionnaire. (I say this is an “unofficial” month, but how does any month or week get an "official" purpose? How does February become Pet Dental Health month while November is Movember?)

Anyway, in my book, February is helping cats month! Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are creating a cat behavior assessment, similar to what they've done for dogs. You and I are familar with the C-BARQ -- a questionnaire commonly used in dog behavior and cognition research which provides standardized evaluations of canine temperament and behavior. 

Researchers are now creating a similar questionnaire for cats, and they need lots and lots of help. Cat owners can Lend a Paw by completing a brief questionnaire. 
 
Josh taking a break from Things My Cat Broke
While Josh was sitting on my lap (like an angel) I filled in the questionnaire for him.

Complete a questionnaire and Lend a Paw!
  • Have a cat?
  • Have 15 minutes?
  • Help validate and standardize a questionnaire to assess cat behavior.

Regardless of whether you live with a dog or a cat, this Nature video reminds us that "hairy mammals" like to be stroked... Take a look!

   
Here's to lending a paw! 
  
Julie  


Reference  
Hsu Y. & Serpell J.A. (2003). Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 223 (9) 1293-1300. DOI:
© Julie Hecht 2013