Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The World We're Not Aware Of

Whenever animals' intelligence is questioned or measured, it's in terms of human capabilities--learning a human language, solving a human-devised puzzle, and so on. But the underlying assumption in such things is that the humans are already aware of everything in the situation.

People ask if animals are aware. Part of the reason that question won't go away is that we're not aware of what they're aware of.

And along that line of thought, here's a new category of service animal: the disease-warning dog. The link is to a video at the National Geographic site.

The video shows a dog that has achieved service animal status by warning his diabetic owner that he is about to have a hypoglycemic episode, something the man is not even aware of, but the dog can smell.

Other uses for dogs' abilities to sense things we can't include detecting bladder cancer.

There are many things in this world that we simply are not aware of. And yet, people ask if animals are aware... The question shouldn't be about the existence of awareness, but of how to communicate one's awareness in a form another can understand.

Here's another video on the subject of diabetes-awareness service dogs:

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