Cooper and me saving energy on the couchMy cousin Mark is a pretty smart guy who reads widely. (All my cousins are above average.) Here is what Mark sent to me in an e-mail about dogs:
Professor Temple Grandin says that dogs are genetic wolves that have co-evolved with humans for 100,000 years, maybe more. Hence dogs and humans have complementary advantages and deficits. Humans used to have a better sense of hearing and smell, now dogs are better than us at those. Humans walk upright and have better vision and organizational skills, so dogs depend on us to see things and try to find them. Both are social creatures. So the lesson is that Nature has bundled the hardware and software for these skills and abilities between the two species. Unbundling them carries certain risks, so you should try to live with a dog if you can.
I agree that dogs and humans are a pretty good combination. Michele and I have had a dog for about a year now. Cooper is a medium-sized Labradoodle, which is a Lab and Poodle mix. He's a great dog and we love him a lot. He's heartbreakingly cute and cuddly. He has a Lab's great disposition and a Poodle's smarts. We think he's the best dog ever.
But, along with being a good partner, is Cooper an energy efficient addition to our household? Are pets, and dogs in particular, a step in the right direction in the battle against global warming and the fight for energy security? Is Underdog more than a cartoon?
I think "bundling" ourselves with animals is a good idea for lots of reasons, but here is why I think dogs are energy efficient: