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Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home Paperback – Apr 26 2011
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It's rare for a book's title to say so clearly what the book is about. In the case of Rupert Sheldrake's latest work, the controversial content is right on the front cover. Pet owners will see it and smile in recognition; skeptical scientists will shake their heads and mutter about "maverick scholars." We all know of cases of dogs (and cats) who know when their owners are coming home, who go to wait at the door or window 10 minutes or more before their human arrives. Conditioned by the tight rigor of contemporary scientific thinking, we either look for rational explanations or we file the phenomenon away in our minds as "unexplained" and are careful not to talk about it with our scientist friends.
Sheldrake has shown in the past that he is not afraid to be labeled a rebel, thanks to his theory of morphic resonance, which suggests the following:
Natural systems, or morphic units, at all levels of complexity are animated, organized, and coordinated by morphic fields, which contain an inherent memory. Natural systems inherit this collective memory from all previous things of their kind by a process called morphic resonance, with the result that patterns of development and behavior become increasingly habitual through repetition.
Sheldrake believes that the "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be explained this theory. Sheldrake is less persuaded by anecdotes that suggest animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to disallow the possibility.
He accepts that the case histories he details so thoroughly in this book are anecdotal, but that makes them no less real; and as a scientist himself he sets up experimental conditions for studying this previously ignored phenomenon that show beyond any doubt that the phenomenon exists. He castigates traditional scientists for their refusal to countenance anything that doesn't fit in with their existing paradigms (or prejudices) and challenges them to come up with some more "acceptable" explanation--but none is forthcoming.
This fascinating book is a first attempt at a scientific investigation into a puzzling but quite common occurrence. One hopes that other scientists will follow Sheldrake's brave lead. --David V. Barrett --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
While there have been many books on pets' psychic powers and on animals' seemingly paranormal abilities, English biologist Sheldrake's distinctive contribution is to set forth a theory that begins to make sense of this baffling realm. Sheldrake's bold and influential hypothesis of morphic fields (first developed in his 1988 book The Presence of the Past) asserts that members of a group are linked by self-organizing regions of influenceAfields that have a history, evolve, contain a collective memory, and shape the development of organisms, crystals and new ideas, as well as patterns of behavior, adaptation and learning. Applying this hypothesis to the animal kingdom, he maintains that cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals can communicate telepathically with people (or with other animals) with whom they have emotional bondsAand that morphic fields act as a channel for this ESP. Sheldrake surveyed or interviewed more than 1000 pet owners, dog trainers, veterinarians, zookeepers, blind people with guide dogs, horse trainers and riders and pet-shop proprietors. His study is filled with marvelous stories of missing pets finding their way home over unfamiliar terrain; of cats and dogs responding emotionally, sometimes at a great distance, to the suffering or death of their owners; of animals' precognitive warnings of earthquakes, impending epileptic seizures, bombing attacks and other imminent dangers; of cats, dogs and parrots responding to the ring of the telephone whenever a particular person calls. Skeptics may scoff, yet the cumulative weight of evidence Sheldrake assembles is impressive, and an appendix outlines simple research projects animal lovers can conduct to test whether their pets have psychic powers. This pioneering study throws a floodlight on an area largely ignored by institutional science. Illustrations. Author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The search for `the ultimate truth' is one which requires not only a clear mind and incredible stamina but a unique openness to the world and the actions we see around us.Read more ›
Book contains some great anecdotes, one of my favourite concerning some bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees):
"One bonobo had a long bamboo cane, which she was poking members of the public with, so we wanted it off her. I had a bag of four cakes which we were going to have for our tea, and I thought I would give her a cake if she gave me the stick. But she saw I had four cakes and she broke the bamboo stick into four pieces, one piece for each cake."
Another fascinating historical anecdote concerns the dogs of Scottish drovers. When they drove their cattle into northern England and stayed to work on the harvest, they sent their dogs back into Scotland. The dogs would make the epic return journey alone, stopping in the same inns their masters stopped at on the way down!
Anecdotes aside, the book examines three kinds of unexplained powers: telepathy, sense of direction, and premonition.
Sheldrake gives many examples from his extensive database of pets who know their owners are returning, even when the rest of the family doesn't know it (and therefore can't provide unconscious cues). In these cases, smell and hearing have been ruled out as factors (see the book for the arguments and proof).
Sceptics counter this by pointing out that pet owners' accounts may be unreliable.Read more ›
Sheldrake's experiments, surveys and documentation always prove entertaining. With Sheldrake, science becomes a community experience, open to all who are curious and willing to put their minds together.
Most recent customer reviews
What a disappointment. Some of the "science" here wouldn't pass muster in a high school science fair. Read morePublished on May 23 2004 by David Group
I am quite desolate when I read apriori comments about the book (although, only a few seem to be this time). Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by Alan Wilder
The fact is that he's dealing with interesting material. We all want to believe in something like this. I know I do. But will a book like this convince me? It won't. Read morePublished on March 13 2003 by Bruce R
Animal lovers, especially those who share strong emotional bonds with their pets, are well aware of the special powers that a lot of animals possess. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2003 by Millie Mom
I was skeptical at the claims this book was making until my dog figured out that whole Clinton/Lewinsky thing. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2002 by Derek G
First let me say, parts of the book are rather dry. Perhaps that's the scientist doing his best to provide adequate proof. I found myself wanting to say, come on already... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2002 by F. C. Boyd
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