Wednesday, 13 February 2008

a tail-wagging great day for Australia

Penny and I had an unusual start to the day. As soon as we were out of bed we sat down in front of the television. Penny has never before started her morning with tv viewing, but this was such a historic day that we were glued to the set. (Well, Penny's eyes were actually shut, but I'm sure she was taking in the historic speeches in Federal Parliament.)

Today, finally... finally... our government presented a formal apology to the indigenous families whose lives have been disrupted by seven decades of forced removal of children from their parents. Having taught indigenous children for many years I have seen first-hand the suffering this policy has brought to communities and I am thrilled that at last their pain has been acknowledged.

If I were a dog my tail would still be wagging. I've cried at the stories aired today but my general feeling is joy that at last our country has come of age and can admit that a great wrong needs to be acknowledged. In my opinion it's a sign of maturity to be able to say 'Sorry'.

And talking of wagging my imaginary tail - Jabari's mum has sent me an interesting piece of info about canine tail-waggers. She says:
The direction of your dog's tail wags may tell you what's going on at the other end, in his brain. Researchers found that dogs consistently wag their tails to the right at the sight of something pleasing and familiar -- their owners, for example. A dog's left brain, like a human one, deals with positive emotions. And because the left brain controls the right side of the body, happy excitement will send a pup's tail wagging to the right. Tails take a left turn when dogs greet someone less familiar or when they encounter intimidating behavior in other dogs. Wagging to the left reflects feelings like fear and anxiety.
I was most interested in her email so I looked around on the Net and there are heaps of sites reporting this research. I thought the one at Land of PureGold Foundation has a clear discussion and, by the way, it's a great site, well worth a look. At Science Buddies there's info for anyone wanting to investigate this behaviour. It's aimed at students wanting to do a science project.

Then again, another report at Discovery Channel, which I found by following a link from Karen Pryor's clickertraining.com says that the tail wagging direction is so subtle that the average person couldn't measure it without analysing a video clip.

12 comments:

Slavenka said...

Big day for Australia :)

Jabari said...

I agree with the clicker link: it is extremely difficult to see which direction a fast waging tail is taking!!
Jabari

parlance said...

Yes, Slavenka. A wonderful day!

parlance said...

Jabari, I agree. I had a look at Penny today when one of her favorite people came to visit and we thought that - maybe - there was a certain tendency to the right. Too tricky to work out, though.

Sparky said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you, Penny!

Sparky

Johann The Dog said...

Great day for all in your country! Congratulations!

Stopping by to say hi and wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Woofs, Johann

curator said...

Hi Parlance - I dropped by today to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day, but then I learned some stuff like I always do when I visit. You always do such a good job with your posts. Happy V Day to Penny and to you!

parlance said...

Sparky, I hope you also had a lovely Valentine's Day. I hope that White Cat didn't cause you too many problems!

parlance said...

Johann, Happy Valentine's Day to you, too. I enjoyed your video clip of how to get used to a walking machine. It was good to see the first steps at getting used to it, as well as the final success.

parlance said...

Thanks, Curator. I hope the day was good for you, also.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Finally! It was indeed, a very big day. Congratulations.

parlance said...

Wayfarer, it was a great day and hopefully will lead to a more positive future for us all. In my opinion, the refusal to acknowledge the suffering of indigenous people was a festering sore in our country. Not that indigenous people want pity as such, of course - they want to be respected.