Wednesday, December 8

Science experiment

Last week I didn't post much because some of my cousins, Susanne and Maurice (pronounced Morris, don't you dare say More-ees), were here visiting from Ireland. They went back home on Sunday, leaving behind a black hole of emptiness in our lives.

To try and cheer ourselves up, yesterday evening Noah and I did a science project. But then I remembered that I don't like doing science, so it wouldn't help. But we already had the apparatus and the hypothesis, so we went ahead with it.

First, some background info. We decided to patronize a local mom-and-pop pet store just up the road from us.

Let me take this moment to digress and say, we live in the best little area. From our backyard we can see down into a beautiful valley, where Ethan's brand-new future elementary school sits. Not two miles away—there's not even a stoplight to impede our progress—we have the best gas station ever with the best hot chocolate ever, a grocery store, two pharmacies, our awesome doctor's office, a Greek-family-run breakfast diner, an old-fashioned-style but up-to-date barber shop/salon that's also super inexpensive, an old-school but tony meat market, and a family-run pet supply store. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Noah needed a haircut, and the barber shop (where they shave their client's necks after a cut with warm shaving cream and a straight razor) is next door to the pet shop. We popped in to get some new dog food (the dogs have Cody has been lethargic lately, and losing clumps of fur, which is either due to his crummy food or possibly Bonnie).

The shop is home to a number of cool critters, including some really cute ferrets and a toucan, and the owners are obvious ex-hippies who adore animals. Seriously you guys, the man owner (as opposed to the woman owner...they might be married?) he has the most awesome hair ever: snowy white with hints of soft grey, flowing in perfect unfrizzy waves to his shoulders. They spent several minutes educating us on our dog food choices and sent us home with an entire shopping bag full of free samples and a take-home assignment: find out which food the dogs like best.

And now, we've finally arrived at the point of this post, the science project. Forthwith, the Scientific Method.

Define the question
Do the dogs care what they eat?

Gather information and resources
Free samples, oodles of info from hippie pet store owners.

Form hypothesis
The dogs actually can taste and smell what they're eating.

Perform experiment and collect data

We had six plates (three for each dog), a notepad and pen, and twelve different kinds of dog food to test. Noah wanted me to award bonus points to Taste of the Wild for their awesome packaging,

but I'm serious about my science and refused. 

Analyze data

It turns out the dogs have preferences. The control group was their current crummy food, which they ate, but last. I said they had preferences, not standards. They consider diapers and dead squirrel desserts, so. 

Interpret data and draw conclusions
Even baby-poop- roadkill-eaters can sniff out the better foods. Apparently roasted wild fowl tastes delicious.

Publish results
I'll be submitting our results to Science magazine ASAP.


Danielle said...

LOL as a former biology teacher, and owner of a dog that will eat cat poop but not waffles, I truly appreciate this post!

Erin said...

Danielle--I didn't know you taught biology! AP Biology was my absolute favorite science class in high school.

Anonymous said...

I admire your standards. I TOTALLY would've given bonus points to TASTE OF THE WILD (!) for that killer packaging.

Unknown said...


Do continue this experiment and let us know if both dogs have lustrous coats and exuberant, yet well behaved, energy in six months.

Erin said...

Sal—I think they also make t-shirts. If they don't, they totally should.

Lisa—That is my earnest hope and prayer.

chow and chatter said...

wow your neighborhood does sound perfect and wow relatives from Ireland love that country Rebecca

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

I think your shrewd observation about the difference between preferences and STANDARDS is what really sets this research apart.

I applaud you, sirs.

Erin said...

Chow and Chatter—I appreciate how you bring a bit of the British to our city year-round.

L&WH—I knew I could count on you to grasp the subtleties of what we'd done here. Cheers.

stephanie said...

wow sweet packaging - that's EXACTLY what my alaskan backyard looks like, minus the igloo shed & pet polar bear.

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