“Happy Paws” is no laughing matter…

In spite of its innocuous-sounding nickname,  Ecstatic Omniphilic Paw Syndrome, or “Happy Paws” is a very serious condition that affects a growing number of pets.  EOPS often presents with an inability to keep still, excessive tail wagging, and rapturous dancing on hind legs.  Sometimes the paws may move at a rate in excess of human perceptual limits, with observers reporting the appearance of multiple “ghost” images trailing the movement of the hind legs (Fig 1, Schutz, Sept. 22, 1965).

Snoopy can't stop dancing.
Fig 1: An example of “ghost” images surrounding the hind legs of a male beagle, shown here with noted behavioral psychotherapist and existentialist Lucy Van Pelt (b. 1946-).

The exact cause of this condition is still being investigated, although early studies point to a set complex interwoven environmental, genetic, and socioeconomic factors which are known collectively as “Being A Dog”.    Also, “Being In Love With Everything Everywhere”, although some argue that this falls under the larger “Being A Dog” umbrella and should not be counted separately.

The most difficult photograph I’ve ever taken

brian and koa

My dog Koa and I spend practically every day together.  We play together, nap together, clean the house together, you name it.   I’ve taken about a zillion great pictures of him, and quite a few of myself, but trying to get us together in the same shot is like trying to get the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch in frame while being attacked by a swarm of bees.  What you see above is the BEST result I’ve gotten out of like 1,000 tries.  I look like a frantic escaped mental patient, and Koa looks like a Muppet in the middle of a transdimensional warp experiment.  I had to hold a little squeaky rubber duckie next to the camera to get him to look anywhere near it, and he kept backing away from every available light source, leaving me crouching on the floor in shadow trying to frantically squeak the duck and mash the shutter single-handedly without dropping the camera.  Perhaps I can enlist the services of a police sketch artist to do our family portrait, cobbled together from eyewitness accounts of the two of us hanging out together looking cute, which I assure you we do.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  Really.

BG