Illustrating Companion Animal Psychology: Favourite Photos

A selection of favourite photos from the blog. 

By Zazie Todd, PhD

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One of the things I enjoy about writing Companion Animal Psychology is picking out the photo for each week’s post. I wait until I’ve finished the first draft, and choose the photo before I go back to edit. It feels like a treat to browse through the images.

Most of the time I’m looking for a photo in which the animal is happy and relaxed. Although there are some gorgeous studio shots, I tend to prefer more realistic settings. There are some stories for which any puppy or kitten would do, but other posts need something specific. Sometimes it’s not obvious what kind of photo is best to illustrate a story, and then I’m looking for some kind of connection, a metaphorical thread that links the visual to the prose. 

Animals, pets and vermin
pjmorley (

This photo of the mouse scampering away from the sleeping cat makes me smile. I used it to illustrate a story about the role of animals in everyday life, based on research from the Mass Observation Project (Animals, Pets and Vermin). 

Rearranging metaphors for dogs
Zanna Holstova (

I wrote a post about the problems with the metaphor of the wolf pack as applied to dogs. Following Eva Feder Kittay’s idea that metaphor works by “re-arranging the furniture of the mind”, I said “We need to re-arrange the furniture and consign the pack metaphor to gather dust in the attic.” This photo of the two Basenjis looking uncomfortable on the settee is a perfect match. The one behind looks a little squashed, and both would be more comfortable if they re-arranged themselves. I also like the three different fabrics of the settee, throw and cushions, and the bookshelves behind. (Re-arranging metaphors for dogs). 

Can cats and coyotes co-exist?
taviphoto (

I like this photo of two outdoor cats doing their own thing, the front one looking towards the camera, the other having a wash. The beautiful autumn foliage is a nice bonus. (Can cats and coyotes co-exist?).

If you lead a Lab to water, should you let them swim?
Photo: Bhakpong (

I love this photo. The look on the Lab’s face is delightful. And this dog is very relaxed in the water. I love the colours in this one too. (If you lead a Lab to water, should you let them swim?)

Positive reinforcement and dog training: Little dogs
OLJStudio (

I love the interaction between the young woman and her little Pomeranian. They are dancing together in matching pink outfits. It’s from a post on research about whether people treat little dogs differently than big dogs. (Positive reinforcement and dog training: Little dogs vs big dogs).  

I use stock photos so I know I have the rights to use the images, and you will always find a credit to the photographer in the blog post. It was incredibly hard picking just 7 photos for this post, because I love all the photos I use.

How clever do you think your dog is?
DragoNika (

I had to include a puppy photo, and this one is adorable. Not just framed by flowers, but interacting with them by biting on the branch. The story is about how clever people think dogs are, and this one is delightfully balmy. (How clever do you think your dog is?).

Thank you to Companion Animal Psychology readers
Linn Currie (

This chinchilla golden Persian kitten is cute and playful, and I love the bold colours. Something about the fabric reminds me of the upholstery on seats on English buses and trains in times gone by. I used this photo on social media to say thank you to everyone who reads, likes, shares and retweets my blog. It's the support and encouragement from readers like you that makes it all worthwhile.

Which photos are your favourites? 

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy. She is the creator of the popular blog, Companion Animal Psychology, writes The Pawsitive Post premium newsletter, and also has a column at Psychology Today. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats. 

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