Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Footprints of small dogs and their big companions

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Sidewalks this morning were dusted with a light coating of snow — just enough to record these imprints.



Dogs Hangin’ Out on the Street — a Google Street View, No. 2

Sunday, August 4th, 2013



Location: Intersection of Las Illusiones and Las Margaritas, Santiago, Chile. Image dated January 2012.



Dogs Hangin’ Out on the Street — a Google Street View, No. 1

Sunday, August 4th, 2013



Address: 8 Rue des Noisetiers, near intersection with Rue des Acacias/Rue des Tamaris, 78114 Magny-les-Hameaux, France. Image dated September 2008.



Do Dogs See Colors?

Monday, July 20th, 2009


On our walk through the neighborhood this morning my dog Jesse began to strain on the lead when he got within 20 feet of a certain object of his desire.  It was a blue Toyota Prius. Not my blue Prius, mind you, but someone else’s, parked blocks away from where mine sits in front of the house.  When Jesse reached the car he put his muzzle right up against car’s hatchback door, as if to say “Open Sesame!”  Then he turned and gave me a look that said, “Let’s go to the beach!”

By that point in our walk we had already passed dozens of parked cars, and Jesse had shown no sign of interest in any of them, let alone any move to commandeer one for a day trip.  He’s always ignored other Priuses parked around the neighborhood, cars that were the exact same model as mine, although come to think of it, those others were of a different color (red, black, silver, etc.)  This blue car today was so close in appearance to mine that even I did a double-take.

So why did Jesse select it to be the “stuff [his] dreams are made on”? 

I think the answer is the color blue.

For a long time it was assumed dogs could not see colors.  A post on the website “WikiAnswer”, found here, echos that view.  But recent scientific studies have come to a different conclusion.  In an article entitled “How Dogs See Color” by Dana K. Vaughan, Ph.D., Dept. of Biology, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (available here), Dr. Vaughan reports that, yes, dogs can see colors, but somewhat differently than humans: 

“These experiments showed that dogs do see color, but in a more limited range than that seen by normal humans, who see the rainbow of colors described by “VIBGYOR”: Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red (plus hundreds of variations on these shades).  Instead, dogs see “VIBYYYR”  (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Yellow, Yellow, Yellow, and Red).  The colors Green, Yellow, and Orange all look alike to dogs; but look different from Red and different from the various Blues and Purples.  Dogs are very good at telling different shades of VIB apart. Finally, Blue-Green looks White to dogs.”

Dr. Mark Plonsky, a Professor of Psychology, also at the University of Wisconsin, presents slightly difference results here.  His article includes an admittedly speculative color spectrum chart showing what your pooch likely sees:



One finding common to both studies is that dogs can readily discern the color blue.  So blue is the color to select next time you buy a car, if you want your dog to have a chance of spotting your vehicle in a crowd.

It’s reasonable, I believe, to assume Jesse can recognize a Prius by its size and shape, and through his sense of smell (as the car’s factory installed tires and its brake system probably emit distinctive odors).  But Jesse is able to find my Prius and his personal means of long-distance transport — or  get to the point where he believes he’s found his Prius — only when he comes across those elements plus the color blue.

Meanwhile, I haven’t settled on what to say to Jesse if today’s episode recurs.  This morning I simply said “No!”, yanked the lead, and walked on.  But I feel Jesse deserves a fuller explanation, something to indicate he is mistaken to think he has found my (his) car, yet he shouldn’t feel bad since it’s an understandable mistake.  So what voice command can contain than amount of  nuance? 

I’m thinking, maybe, “Close, but no cigar!”?

Some cell phone photos

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

My prior cell phone, an LG, could store 20 photos.  My iPhone can store, what, tens of thousands?  Here are four from 2008. 

1.  First up, a photo that could be titled “Museum Dog.”  A couple of years ago, while visiting the Getty Museum in LA, I saw a woman on a Segway roaming through the galleries.  From time to time she would pivot and halt in front of a painting that caught her eye.  I said to myself, “Now this is a museum with an enlightened admission policy; they’d never allow that back East.”  Well, here’s evidence that when it comes to disabled visitors, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC does “enlightened admissions policies” just as well.



2.  Although probably not as museum-worthy as a Klee or Miro, the bold, primitive rendering below has, I believe, an equal claim to be trimmed with an explanatory label, like this:

Figure with Small Companion, created 2008, anonymous child artist, colored chalks on concrete, approx. 36 by 36 in. (destroyed 2008, by rain).”



3.  Moving on to sculpture, in October I myself took a stab at carving Dick Cheney as a Halloween pumpkin.


The day after his first night on the porch, Cheney suffered a cruel fate: extraordinary rendition into the paws of  ravenous squirrels.  Nibbled beyond repair, he had to be put down.

4.  Lastly, a photo of a parking garage at night.  In the corner rests a seductive red sports car, as if awaiting the start of her starring role in a film noir.