Leighton Buzzard is a village in Bedfordshire (UK). It’s home to Callie, a Chocolate Labrador with flying credentials.
As an official member of air crew, Callie’s identification card helps her to clear airport security. The card was issued by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
At the age of 3 months, her owner Graham Mountford first took Callie in the his Cessna. He said, “We first tried her in the plane when she was a few months old, just taxiing around the airfield, and she seemed to love it.”
Callie is now over 3 years old and has more than 250 hours of flying experience. Her favorite trips are to beaches where she can run and play.
Callie tends to sleep on the plane, but apparently gets excited during take offs and landings
An AOPA spokeswoman said “She is the only dog we’ve issued with a card, and it’s going to be renewed.”
Source: BBC News
Researchers at Emory University have published new research into canine cognition. Entitled Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs, the paper outlines findings of research that required two dogs to remain motionless in an MRI machine.
Yes – that’s right. Motionless. The two dogs were outfitted with special ear muffs to protect them from the noise of the MRI and trained to rest their heads on a chin rest inside the machine. As the MRI took scans of the dog’s brain activity, hand signals were used to show the dogs whether there was or wasn’t a food reward.
This is a first-ever study on awake dogs, rather than those that have been sedated. Importantly, part of the animal ethics of the study was to ensure the dogs were willing participants.
The findings show a definite brain activity response when the hand signals indicated a food reward. Those dogs are paying attention!
The lead researcher, Professor Gregory Berns, says “We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication. We want to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog’s perspective.”
Professor Bern’s dog Callie in training in a mock-up of the MRI scanner (copyright Emory University)
Listen to Professor Berns talk about this project in the Emory University YouTube video:
Source: Emory University press release 4 May 2012
Posted in ethics and pet rights, research
Tagged animal ethics, animals, behavior, behaviour, brain scans, Callie, canine cognition, dogs, ear muffs, Emory University, MRI, Professor Berns, research, science, thinking, thought, youtube video