Research Shows Dogs Have a Secret Language at Play

photo credit: sonstroem Dogs Playing via photopin (license)

Nothing is more fun than watching dogs at play. Lucky Marc Bekoff spent decades researching playful dogs and says they send messages to each other with body movements.  We’ve all seen our own dogs do the most used, the play bow.  They use this pose to say, “I’m ready! let’s play!”

Dr. Bekoff, an ethologist, has written quite a few books on animals, their love of play and their morality.  After studying an enormous amount of video footage, Dr. Bekoff found several interesting behaviors when dogs interact.   Once of these behaviors is “self-handicapping”, in which bigger dogs will realize their size advantage when playing with smaller dogs and will allow them to jump on them or even roll over to give the smaller dog a better chance.  Dr. Bekoff says this behavior suggests dogs adhere to a sort of morality. His research as well as that of others supports the idea that dogs play fair which scientists had believed was a uniquely human trait.

Other studies have shown that dogs understand a wide range of emotions like empathy and inequality, which probably does not come as a surprise to those of us with dogs in our lives.  Tests have revealed that dogs will lick or nuzzle others that are crying to show support. Some dogs will not perform certain trained movements like shaking hands for a treat in front of other dogs due to feeling privileged.

For more interesting reading pick up Dr. Bekoff’s new book, Canine Confidential:  An Insider Guide to the Best Lives for Dogs and Us.

photo credit: sonstroem Dogs Playing via photopin (license)

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GuideStar awards Healing Companions Platinum Status

GuideStar PlatinumHealing Companions has been awarded the GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Platinum level logo, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofits. The logo demonstrates Healing Companions’ deep commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability.

We hope you will check us out and tell us what you think.  Click here for our profile.

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Richie Gaiser Joins the HC Board

Richie Gaiser

Richie Gaiser

Richie Gaiser, our newest board member, is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a lover of all things canine. After adopting his pup Maggie several years ago, he has helped many of his friends train and properly care for their furry friends. With a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management, Richie currently works for a local business in Charlotte, North Carolina, promoting and helping spread brand awareness, and has appeared on various morning news programs and websites. Richie can’t wait to help spread word of the great cause that Healing Companions is and those it helps.

Richie has already been an asset to our program as he has generously volunteered his time, knowledge and dedication to our program. He has been helping us understand and raise our profile on twitter, facebook and mailchimp analytics. We are excited he will continue to contribute to our program. Please open your hearts and give a warm welcome to Richie! We are honored to have him join us!

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Healing Companions ~ Brenda Keltner

Barbara Keltner with her rescue dogBrenda Keltner’s family witnessed first hand what a difference a healing companion made in their sister’s life and decided they would like to help make that possible for others.

Brenda recently passed away in St. Mary’s Ohio. She was born on September 12, 1963, in Van Wert, Ohio to Gayle and Margaret (Faller) Keltner who preceded her in death.

She is survived by her siblings, Joyce (Don) Sonnastine of Wadsworth, Ohio, Richard Keltner of Van Wert, Gary (Renee) Keltner of Phoenix, AZ, Larry (Kathy) Keltner of Tucson, AZ, Debra Smith of Convoy, Jan (Doug) Jones of Venedocia, and Linda Keltner of Boston, MA. Her numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews were very special to her.

Her dog Dinky was her loving companion. She had also rescued Monty, Too, and Cosmo, loyal companions who previously shared her life.

Brenda was a 1981 graduate of Lincolnview High School. She graduated in 1985 from Ohio Northern University. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. Formerly an Assistant Prosecutor for the City of Columbus, Ohio, Brenda had presented several cases before the Ohio State Supreme Court. Always an advocate for the marginalized and those less fortunate, Brenda took time to help those who needed help.
She treasured her family. Her generosity, thoughtfulness, along with her amazing, joyful laugh and sense of humor will be remembered and missed by all those who knew her.

The family has requested donations to honor Brenda be sent to Healing Companions.  If you would like to donate, click here.  If you would like us to let the family know about your donation, just click here to email us and we’ll forward a note to them on your behalf.

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