Animal Instincts

Most people would agree that domesticated animals such as cats and dogs experience emotions and possess a capacity to think that we don't quite understand. My dog dreams, as many dogs do, growling and barking in his sleep.

But what's the difference between my dog and a rat, rabbit, mouse or bird? Well, the latter are not protected by the United States Animal Welfare Act. "The way the act is currently written, those animals are actually referred to as non-animals," explains Marc Bekoff, biologist and author of Animals Matter. This is just one of the topics covered in the book, which includes surprising facts entirely supported by the most recent science: Mice are empathetic, rats are kind to each other, and whales possess spindle cells — the same cells that help humans and apes process emotions.

"I'm really a dreamer and an optimist," explains Bekoff, "and the message of the book is one of hope, encouraging people to get out and do something." Learn exactly why animals matter — and, more important, the steps you can take to protect and help our furry, scaled and feathered friends — when Bekoff signs Animals Matter tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street. Visit or call 303-447-2074.
Tue., Dec. 4, 2007

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen