Animal Clinic of Kalispell - December 2018

TEARDROP TO TJ How’s it going? The name’s TJ, and for seven years, I’ve been hanging out with Rose Ann and her husband Jevon — aka Dr. Clark. They rescued me from the shelter after I came in with my littermates when I was just a kitten. The folks at the shelter dubbed me Teardrop, which is a ridiculous name for a cat! Thankfully, Rose Ann and Jevon agreed. They quickly changed my name to TJ, and I have been happily living with them ever since. Apparently, Jevon wasn’t sold on me joining the family at first. He used to be atrociously allergic to cats, even when he was in vet school. But life changes, medicine changes, and now he can be around cats with no problem. Fortunately, they ended up with me. I don’t like to brag about myself, but Jevon has been known to describe me as “the best cat ever.” Who am I to argue with a veterinarian’s professional opinion? Even still, when Rose Ann threatened to get another cat, Jevon asked her why she wanted to upset the apple cart of their home, since they already had the perfect cat.

‘What the Fluff?’

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DOG THINK YOU’RE A MAGICIAN Dog owners across the world are confounding their sweet pups with the latest internet craze, aptly known as the “What the Fluff?” challenge. For this puppy prank, the rules are quite simple. The owner stands in front of their dog and lifts up a blanket in front of them. As their pet looks on, the owner runs away and lets the blanket fall to the ground. From the unsuspecting pup’s point of view, it seems as if their beloved owner has disappeared into thin air! Some of the dogs stare ahead befuddled, some spin in circles, and others run around the room trying to find where their owner is hiding. It’s all fun and games for humans, but a lot of dog lovers can’t help but wonder what is going on in the minds of their pets. Zazie Todd, a professional dog trainer who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, explains that the “What the Fluff?” challenge demonstrates that dogs exhibit object permanence: the understanding that objects exist even when you can’t see them. Scientists have long known that dogs, unlike newborn babies, understand object permanence. In 2013, a team of animal cognition scientists at the University of Kentucky conducted an experiment reminiscent of “What the Fluff?” They showed a dog a bone, hid it behind a screen, and swapped it with a bone of a different color. When they revealed the new bone, the dogs spent more time inspecting the swapped-out bone than they did when the scientists revealed the same bone as before. Because the dogs were perplexed by the incongruity, the team concluded that dogs exhibit object permanence. So how does a dog feel when their owner disappears suddenly? It’s hard to say. Most animal cognition scientists are hesitant to hypothesize about something so subjective as emotions, but after watching the pups’ reactions on Instagram and YouTube, most experts deem the prank harmless. “What the Fluff?” is akin to playing peekaboo with a baby. Does it cause some confusion? Definitely. Is it destructive? Not likely.

Gingerbread Dog Houses

The holidays are a time for great food and sweet treats! Why should your dog miss out on all the fun? Here’s a canine-friendly twist on a classic holiday recipe inspired by


Gingerbread • 3 cups whole wheat flour • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon ginger • 1/2 cup coconut oil • 1/2 cup molasses • 3/4 cup water

Icing •

1 cup tapioca starch 3/4 cup maple syrup



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