I don’t often post on hot-button issues but this one was too good to pass up. While the canine-feline debate has raged for ages, as reported in the Huffington Post,  the latest scientific (as in trained experts with proven methods) findings suggests that we dogs have the edge when it comes to smarts. How can that be, when those clever kitty killing machines manage to manipulate their human companions seemingly at will? Turns out that social animals, like elephants, dolphins, monkeys and, yes, dogs, develop larger brains to better foster cooperation with each other and, in the case of dogs, their human pals. If you’re a cat lover don’t despair, there’s some good news, too. According to Joanna Liebmann-Smith, PhD, “Dogs usually do outperform cats on most animal IQ tests and have larger vocabularies and bigger brains, but…Cats have almost twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is considered the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, among other things. Cats have 300 million neurons, while dogs have only 160 million, which means that cats have a greater capacity for information processing than dogs.”

Tanner (right)   and his Mensa friend, Porter Massa

And before Lou and Eugenie start gloating, recent studies suggest that ‘Cat People’ (loved the flick with Natasha Kinski, and the Bowie tune) are smarter than dog lovers. An article from LiveScience by Rachel Rettner offered this comparison: “People who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively — meaning they were more energetic and outgoing — and also tended to follow rules closely. Cat lovers, on the other hand, were more introverted, more open-minded and more sensitive than dog lovers. Cat people also tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be expedient rather than follow the rules.” Now that I have both sides riled (a trick I learned from Lou), let me suggest a compromise by paraphrasing Crosby, Still & Nash: If you can’t be with the pet species you love, love the one you’re with!”

Porter with his very smart and outgoing mom, Robby


Thanks in no small part to this pit bull, Lou and Eugenie were invited to attend the 2014 Academic Bowl for incarcerated youth this past Thursday, March 20. The event was held at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park and featured the 4 top teams from the county wide competition. After a Jeopardy-style quiz, a debate on funding for arts education, and a power point presentation on the need to add ‘Art’ to the current emphasis on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering & math), the girls from Road To Success Academy at Camp Scott emerged victorious. All of the teams were very poised and well prepared and everyone enjoyed watching them revel in a positive spotlight. 

Lou (3rd left) Erika Brunson, Principal Zan Mason & the Camp Gonzales School staff

A few days later, Lou and Eugenie accompanied our book angel, Erika Brunson, to Camp Gonzales here in Malibu where she donated 100 copies of GIMME SHELTER to the juvenile court school for use in the upcoming summer ‘Freedom School’. Zan Mason, the Santa Monica Mountains district principal, and the Gonzales staff gave everyone a warm welcome and offered some terrific suggestions how the book could work to bolster the learning theme of ‘Discovery’. My favorite idea was Erika’s suggestion that ‘the dog’ (me!) be allowed to come to Camp when Lou speaks to the students about the writing process. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.  Right now, we’re off to Palm Springs for the Avondale Country Club Charity Pet show where Lou, Eugenie and ‘the dog’ are the guests of honor. We’re hoping our efforts help bring in lots of cash for this year’s charity, The Pet Rescue Center. Pictures to follow.

‘The Dog’ having his morning yogurt