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Lives, limbs saved thanks to pet alerts

Feb. 28, 2007

While authorities ponder the possibility of an early warning system for tornadoes, some people already have one in place.

Such is the case with Marty Matthews, whose Italian miniature greyhound, Polly, awakened her just moments before an F3 tornado struck their villa in The Villages. At the time, Matthews' husband, Roger, was on a trip to Michigan.

In those early morning hours of Feb. 2, Marty Matthews was awakened from a sound sleep when Polly jumped on her bed, whimpering and in distress.

"She was trying to nudge me any way she could to awaken me," Matthews said. "I finally got up and said, 'Let's go outside.' She wouldn't budge, just hunched down at the foot of the bed."

Hearing a violent rainstorm on the roof, Matthews picked up Polly and sought shelter(...)

Other similar reports of pet alerts have surfaced since that fateful night. Such stories are quite common, said Dr. Marc Bekoff, a professor of biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. An animal behavior specialist for 35 years, Bekoff has published 20 books on the subject, including one he co-authored with famed "ape lady" Jane Goodall. His latest book, "The Emotional Lives of Animals," was released last week.

"It basically comes down to a very simple thing," Bekoff said in a telephone interview. "It's the same thing we observed in the tsunami. Animals hear things we don't hear and they feel things we don't feel. They're sensitive to vibrations, to high-pitched sounds, so they sense these, and it scares them. It's often a fear response. That's basically it in a nutshell.".....







Source: Lives, limbs saved thanks to pet alerts


Date: 2007-03-21

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New book by Marc Bekoff: The Emotional Lives of Animals (en)

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