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Jessica Pierce Ph.D.

Bioethicist and writer Jessica Pierce, Ph.D., is the author of Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets (Chicago, 2016) and The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the Ends of Their Lives (Chicago, 2012). Additional authored and co-authored books include Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible (New World Library, release date of Feb. 6, 2019, with Marc Bekoff), The Animal's Agenda: Compassion and Coexistence in the Age of Humans (Beacon Press, 2017, with Marc Bekoff), Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals; Contemporary Bioethics: A Reader with Cases; The Ethics of Environmentally Responsible Health Care; and Morality Play: Case Studies in Ethics. Some of the questions she explores in her writings on death and dying in animals are: Do animals have death awareness? Why is euthanasia almost always considered the compassionate end point for our animals, but not for our human companions? Is there ever a good reason to euthanize a healthy dog? Why do people often grieve more deeply for their pets than they do for people?
yellow dog project

The Yellow Dog Project

An innovative way to identify dogs who need some space Unfortunately, Bella is really cute. She has big Yoda ears, and a long tail with a white tip, and big brown eyes. People are drawn to her—especially children. They want to meet her and touch those enormous soft ears. They walk right up to Bella, hand outstretched to pet her...
aggression in dogs

Understanding Aggression in Dogs

Mean dogs are not just born that way One of the most common reasons dogs wind up being relinquished to shelters, abandoned, or euthanized is aggressive behavior. For dog owners, canine aggression can be frightening, distressing, and baffling. One of the most important things we can do as dog owners is understand why dogs become aggressive, why punishment is not the answer, and whether...
signs a dog is in pain

Is Your Dog in Pain?

A new book will help you answer this question. By the time my dog Ody was thirteen, he had really begun to look like an old dog. Not only had his dark red coat turned a lighter shade from all the white hairs, but he was covered with lumps and skin tags and was missing quite a few teeth. Old Man...
human-animal relationships

Seven Reasons for Unsuccessful Human-Animal Relationships

When the human-animal bond fails We often hear the phrase “human-animal bond.” “Bond” seems to imply that all is warm and fuzzy and positive. But not all human-companion animal relationships are successful. There are complications and, at times, relationships that are downright unsuccessful. Some people who acquire a pet for themselves or for a child have no real capacity to...
Dog Stress Eating

Is Your Dog a Stress-Eater?

A new paper examines emotional eating in companion dogs Food and feelings are intimately intertwined, often in ways that challenge our well-being and our waistlines. Emotional eating, or “stress eating,” is when we use eating to soothe negative emotions. When Bridget Jones plops down on the couch with a huge tub of ice cream after her latest emotional love-disaster, this is...
dog muzzle

Why Muzzle Training Your Dog Is A Good Idea

Comfortably wearing a muzzle is a useful skill for all companion dogs. If you perform an internet search for images of “dog muzzle,” you’ll likely pull up a collection of photos showing large, powerful dogs snarling behind a Hannibal Lecter-style face cage, providing confirmation for one of the most persistent stereotypes related to companion dogs: Muzzles are for vicious dogs...
adopting a puppy

Too Many Puppies Are Acquired at Too Young an Age

A recent UK study finds disturbing numbers of dogs being adopted before 8 weeks. This is Poppy at Too Young An Age. She was only 5 weeks old in this picture, and in foster care with her 4 siblings.theSource: Jessica Pierce The early life experiences of puppies reverberate throughout their adult lives and influence their physical, emotional, and social well-being. Like...
dog valentines day

Give Your Dog the Gift of Enrichment

This Valentine's Day, show your dog love by giving her the gift of enrichment. Do you want to give your dog something truly special for Valentine’s Day? Give him or her the gift of enrichment. Enrichment is easy, inexpensive, and will make your dog happy.  Here are a few ideas: Take your dog on an extra-long walk where she gets to set...
dogs go to heaven

More Dogs Going to Heaven Than Ever Before

A new study of pet cemeteries reveals shifts in human-animal relationships. Stephen King has established the pet cemetery (or ‘semetary’) in our collective imagination as a spooky place befitting of Halloween. But I don’t find pet cemeteries the least bit scary. To my mind, they offer a beautiful testament to the human-animal bond and the power of loss and mourning. They...
dog socialisation

All Our Dogs Are Socially Awkward Now

The pandemic has made dogs "out of practice" socially. In a recent essay in The New York Times called “We’re All Socially Awkward Now,” journalist Kate Murphy suggests that over the course of this pandemic human social skills have begun to get rusty because we are all out of practice. She notes the widespread concern that social distancing or virtual schooling will negatively impact...
dog cloning

Cloning Pets

Just one bad idea after another You love your dog or cat. Someday your dog or cat will die. (I’m sorry, but it’s inevitable.) What if you could put aside the genetic materials to make a perfect copy of your beloved animal, a clone of your pet? Would you do it?  This is something we need to think about, as individuals...
tips for new puppy owners

Craving a Pet

Scratching the itch isn’t always the right response. Rachael had just returned to school at the University of Colorado and was excited, as a sophomore, to be living off-campus in a shared house with five roommates. Amid the excitement of a new year, though, there was the underlying angst of COVID and an ounce of homesickness. The thought entered her...