Viewers who tune into “60 Minutes” tend to be the type who like talk shows filled with hard news and investigative reporting. But the producers are increasingly acknowledging that in a world filled with negative news, it’s nice to celebrate the joys of life as well. And that’s just what they did on Oct. 5 as Anderson Cooper met the charming Chaser, also known as the world’s smartest dog. Plus: Read on for the purrfection of Kate Walsh’s cats.
A border collie, Chaser is devoted to his owner, 85-year-old retired psychology professor John Pilley. Like a father proud of his young son, Pilley happily shows off Chaser’s skills in finding toys by name. Pilley estimates that Chaser has the knowledge and intellect of a two-year-old child.
The two have been immersed in lessons five hours a day, five days a week, for nine years. As a result, Chaser has earned the title of the world’s smartest dog. But that doesn’t mean that the border collie is the only dog capable of mastering a complex vocabulary.
Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University, views Chaser as “the most important dog in the history of modern scientific research.” And through Chaser, scientists have made great strides in discovering the capabilities of dogs. For those who wonder if their dogs really love them, the answer is simple. Gaze into their eyes.
“We know that when dogs and humans make eye contact, that actually releases what’s known as the love hormone, oxytocin, in both the dog and the human,” says Hare. It’s that same hormone that allows new mothers to bond so quickly with their babies. And it’s “released in both dogs and humans when they play, touch or look into one another’s eyes.”
When it comes to celebrating Fido, “60 Minutes” isn’t the only talk show to go to the dogs. Meredith Vieira has turned her new talk show into an opportunity to show off her beloved dog. But on Oct. 6, she decided to go for equal opportunity with “Bad Judge” star Kate Walsh, who confessed her own bond with her cat.
Kate loves cats so much that she calls her fans “kittenchops.” Her Web site is devoted to cats, and the actress regularly celebrates “Caturday” and “Meow Monday.” As for her adored cat Pablo? He helps Kate work out by perching on her back while she does yoga moves.
However, I have a bone to pick with Kate. She demonstrated her ability to meow just like a cat. As she uttered a “MRRROWWWW,” my kitten Mr. Inky Mewster dashed into the room so quickly that he tumbled over himself.
Mr. Inky stood on his back legs, frantically pawing at the TV as Kate repeated her “MRRRRROW.” Mr. Inky galloped behind the TV set, hunting for the cat that he just knew was hiding back there.
Kate, FYI: Mr. Inky has a message for you: MRRROOOOW.