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Fido Awards to Recognise Dogs in Cinema

Five Corgis, Anna, Poppy, Megan, Alice, and Oliver, have not only starred opposite Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren in her award winning role as Queen Elizabeth in "The Queen", but now they have been nominated for their own awards in the Historical Hounds category of the newly created Fido Awards at the London Film Festival.

Golden retriever nurses stray kitten

A golden retriever has stepped up to the plate as surrogate nursing mother to a stray kitten, according to an Associated Press report.

The hungry kitten, found in an old tire at a concrete plant, refused to drink from a bottle and her rescuers feared she would die. That's when Honey, the family dog who hadn't given birth in 18 months, stepped in with her motherly instincts.

"She started licking her and loving her. Within a couple of days, Honey started naturally lactating," said Kathy Martin, whose husband, Jimmy, brought the kitten home six weeks ago. "The kitten took right to her."

Clicking for Credit: Video of ClickerExpo Cleveland, 2007

Don't miss this great video from the 2007 Cleveland ClickerExpo. Entertaining and informative. If you've never been to ClickerExpo, this clip provides a great feel for the event—and if you've been before, see if you recognize anyone! Click here to watch!

Alex the African Grey Parrot Dies of Natural Causes, Aged 31

Earlier this month the world lost a very special bird, Alex, the African Grey Parrot.

In 1977, Dr Irene Pepperberg, then a doctoral student at Harvard, went to a pet store to purchase an African Grey Parrot for her Avian Learning Experiment (Alex is an acronym of this title). Dr Pepperberg didn't choose Alex as an extraordinary example of the species, insisting that the store-keeper choose a "typical" African Grey for her.

Are McDonald's wrappers a conditioned reinforcer?

When I heard about the study where preschoolers were found to prefer foods in McDonald's wrappers, I told my husband that the paper wrappers were a conditioned reinforcer. I was joking when I said it, but then realized it was true! The study showed that not only did kids prefer identical menu items wrapped in the familiar label compared to plain-wrapped food, but they even preferred healthy foods like carrots and milk when served up in the familiar McDonald's packaging!

What effective marketing McDonald's has created—youngsters have such a positive association with their brand. I wonder if the combined effects of play and socialization also contributed to the conditioning?

The research findings were published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine; an abstract is available here.