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Many people who have ever owned a pet will swear that their dog or cat or other animal has exhibited some kind of behavior they just can't explain. How does a dog know when its owner is returning home at an unexpected time? How do cats know when it is time to go to the vet, even before the cat carrier comes out? How do horses find their way back to the stable over completely unfamiliar terrain? And how can some pets predict that their owners are about to have an epileptic fit?
These intriguing questions about animal behavior convinced world-renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake that the very animals who are closest to us have much to teach us about biology, nature, and consciousness.
Filled with captivating stories and thought-provoking analysis, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home is a groundbreaking exploration of animal behavior that will profoundly change the way we think about animals, and ourselves. After five years of extensive research involving thousands of people who own and work with animals, Sheldrake conclusively proves what many pet owners already know -- that there is a strong connection between humans and animals that lies beyond present-day scientific understanding.
With a scientist's mind and an animal lover's compassion, Sheldrake compellingly demonstrates that we and our pets are social animals linked together by invisible bonds connecting animals to each other, to their owners, and to their homes in powerful ways. Sheldrake's provocative ideas about these social, or morphic, fields explain the uncanny behavior often observed in pets and help provide an explanation for amazing animal behavior in the wild, such as migration and homing.
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home not only provides fascinating insight into animal, and human, behavior, but also teaches us to question the boundaries of conventional scientific thought. This remarkable book deserves a place next to the most beloved and valuable books on animals, such as When Elephants Weep, Dogs Never Lie About Love, and The Hidden Life of Dogs.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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. BarrettFrom the Back Cover:
"Delightful . . . this book will turn our understanding of animals inside out."
-- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep
"Wonderful . . . splendid and thought-provoking."
-- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
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