Episode 3

In this episode I talk about the research on pet ownership and the physical and psychological benefits of animal companions.  I’m recording this week from our cabin in northern Minnesota, and I got a fabulous new microphone, so the background noise should be greatly reduced — yay!

Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the show:



Around Campus

This week I’m at one of my favorite locations, Woman Lake in Minnesota.  This is the view out the window:


It’s been a little busy here this weekend because of the Labor Day holiday, but things should quiet down after Monday.  The weather is fabulous here!  At  home we’ve been having heat indexes of over 100 degrees, and here it is starting to feel like fall!  Yesterday the high was 64 degrees.  I love it!

I talk about the Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat, which I went to two weeks ago.  It was a wonderful day of knitting at my friend Ann’s “barn.”  Here is a picture:


The weather was perfect so we sat outside and knit all day.  This picture was taken early in the morning, and we had quite a few more people show up over the course of the day.

At home we have been inundated with zucchini!  I have made so many zucchini recipes, I don’t think I can look at another one!


The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATING SENIOR:  Second sock of the Basic Ribbed Sock pattern by Kate Atherley in Tough Love (80% merino, 20% nylon) by Knit & Fiber Creations in the Bill Weasley self-striping colorway on US #1 Hiya Hiya Sharps.  I wanted to finish the sock so badly but didn’t.  I’m about ready to start decreasing for the toe so should be done soon!


SOPHOMORE:  Melon Sorbet Shawl, a triangular shawl pattern by Halbe Prinzessin.  I’m knitting it in Walkabout yarn by High Prairie Fibers, which is a gradient yarn in a custom colorway which I designed!  It has purple, teal, and gray in the transitions.  It is 100% Australian wool and is spun and dyed by Abi at High Prairie Fibers.  This week I finished a few more pattern repeats.


FRESHMAN:  Drape Front Sweater, which is a pattern by Roberta Rosenfeld from Vogue Knitting, Winter 2011-12.  This should be an easy stockinette-based pattern…but I somehow managed to goof it up and ended up ripping out 11 rows this week.  Naughty knitting!!!  We are back on track now, though.  I am halfway done with the back and left sleeve.


At the Library

This week I finished Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen.  I was not expecting the quick ending but even I was not surprised at the attempted plot twist.  Still, I would give it 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for light summer reading.  The reader, Katherine Kellegren, gets 5 stars — she is awesome!

Next in the book cue is the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula!  Although I don’t normally like scary books, I do like this one and have read it several times.  I talk about some of the background on the book re how Stoker changed his vampire’s name from Count Wampyr to Count Dracula after running across the name Dracula in a historical book.  He also changed the homeland of his vampire from Austria to a more mysterious Transylvania.  Also, your quiz for the day:  What does Transylvania mean?

In the Classroom

Today’s topic is the benefits of pet ownership, which was inspired by a difficult situation being faced by Dawn and James of the Wolfe Farms podcast.  Their dog, Fuji, has been diagnosed with lymphoma.  Please consider supporting Dawn and James with your thoughts, prayers, and monetary donations.  Go over to Wolfe Farms and make a purchase and/or donation, for which you will receive a beautiful Fuji “Fight like a girl” button.

I cover the research on the history of domesticated animals (especially cats and dogs) as well as the evidence pointing to the physical and mental health benefits of pet ownership.  In closing, I talk about a fun study which examined personality differences between people who identified themselves as a “dog person” or a “cat person.”

If you are interested in reading more about these topics, here are the sources I used, which will get you started:

Gosling, S. D., Sandy, C. J., & Potter, J. (2010).  Personalities of self-identified “dog people” and “cat people.”  Anthrozoos, 23, 213-232.

McConnell, A. R., Brown, C. M., Shoda, T. M., Stayton, L. E., & Martin, C. E. (2011).  Friends with benefits:  On the positive consequences of pet ownership.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1239-1252.

Walsh, F. (2009).  Human-animal bonds I:  The relational significance of companion animals.  Family Processes, 48, 462-480.

Thanks for coming to class today.  I hope you learned something!

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