I thought I’d seen it all in terms of global warming being blamed for every problem under the sun. (Just in the past couple of weeks I wrote about experts claiming that it may lead to humans evolving webbed feet and gills, and to more turbulent airline travel).
Happily, I was mistaken.
According to a report in the (U.K.) Independent, “leading pet behaviorists” now claim that global warming is leading to depressed, bored and “unsettled” dogs. They say that the number of dogs they have seen in recent months exhibiting those symptoms is “unprecedented.” They further suggest that the spate of wet winters could be at the root of the problem, as owners cut down on the daily walks that are crucial to keeping dogs’ spirits up.
“I’ve been working with dogs for more than 20 years and I can’t remember a time when they’ve been this bored. I tend to see boredom in bursts but I’m seeing it chronically this winter,” said Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviorist who was named Britain’s Instructor of the Year in 2015. “They are just really, really, bored. People are quite happy to get their dogs out in frosty, hard weather but not when it’s muddy and horrible.”
She soldiered on: “But we have over 200 breeds of dog in this country and an awful lot of them – especially family dogs like Labradors, retrievers and spaniels - were bred to do a job. So they are hardwired to work and need a lot of exercise.” Ms. Menteith spends a good deal of time outside walking dogs and says she has noticed a significant change in the weather in the past five years or so – cold, crisp winters gradually giving way to “constant wet dreariness.” Naturally, she attributes this to man-caused climate change and expects to see global warming unleash increasingly frequent and intense bouts of winter rainfall.
And more bored dogs.
We need to build more indoor dog walking areas, running tracks and pools. They could have a few faux fire hydrants sprinkled amongst them and maybe an artificial mailman or two. That will be the next big thing: canine fitness centers. (“LAB Fitness, where your dog can work (out) like…a dog”).