Cover image for Dogs that know when their owners are coming home : and other unexplained powers of animals
Dogs that know when their owners are coming home : and other unexplained powers of animals
Sheldrake, Rupert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 352 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SF412.5 .S48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF412.5 .S48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF412.5 .S48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In the bestselling tradition of When Elephant Weep and The Hidden Life of Dogs, Sheldrake shares the astonishing results of his five-year study--including the anecdotal evidence shared by thousands of pet owners--of the uncanny paranormal abilities of animals. (Animals/Pets)

Author Notes

Rupert Sheldrake is the former director of studies in biochemistry and cell biology at Cambridge University. He lives in London.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

While there have been many books on pets' psychic powers and on animals' seemingly paranormal abilities, English biologist Sheldrake's distinctive contribution is to set forth a theory that begins to make sense of this baffling realm. Sheldrake's bold and influential hypothesis of morphic fields (first developed in his 1988 book The Presence of the Past) asserts that members of a group are linked by self-organizing regions of influenceÄfields that have a history, evolve, contain a collective memory, and shape the development of organisms, crystals and new ideas, as well as patterns of behavior, adaptation and learning. Applying this hypothesis to the animal kingdom, he maintains that cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals can communicate telepathically with people (or with other animals) with whom they have emotional bondsÄand that morphic fields act as a channel for this ESP. Sheldrake surveyed or interviewed more than 1000 pet owners, dog trainers, veterinarians, zookeepers, blind people with guide dogs, horse trainers and riders and pet-shop proprietors. His study is filled with marvelous stories of missing pets finding their way home over unfamiliar terrain; of cats and dogs responding emotionally, sometimes at a great distance, to the suffering or death of their owners; of animals' precognitive warnings of earthquakes, impending epileptic seizures, bombing attacks and other imminent dangers; of cats, dogs and parrots responding to the ring of the telephone whenever a particular person calls. Skeptics may scoff, yet the cumulative weight of evidence Sheldrake assembles is impressive, and an appendix outlines simple research projects animal lovers can conduct to test whether their pets have psychic powers. This pioneering study throws a floodlight on an area largely ignored by institutional science. Illustrations. Author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

The seeming sixth sense that many animals exhibit is the subject of this new book on the paranormal abilities of animals. Sheldrake, a biochemist with 25 years of experience as a professional scientist, feels that animals have powers that we have lost. Calling his new work "a book of recognition" of these abilities, the author reports the results of five years of extensive research as he followed up on anecdotal accounts from pet owners on the homing abilities of lost pets, animals that show premonitions of earthquakes or epileptic seizures, and the fact that animals anticipate the arrival home of their owners. Defending his use of anecdotal evidence (the Greek root of the work merely means "not published") by the fact that most researchers do not take pets seriously, Sheldrake used three approaches to gather evidence: interviews with animal handlers, formal surveys, and experimental investigations. The book is enriched with stories from animal owners about their animals' abilities, such as the cow who broke out of her pen and tracked down her newly sold calf miles away or German pigeons that always flew away half an hour before the Allied bombs fell. Whether or not the reader believes in the psychic abilities of animals, all will be fascinated by the weight of the evidence and by Sheldrake's clear commentary. Extensive notes and a thorough bibliography round out what will be an extremely popular book. --Nancy Bent

Library Journal Review

We've all heard anecdotes about dogs who wait at the door for their owners to come home, cats who travel hundreds of miles to return home, and pets who provide comfort to depressed or sick people. Add to these stories of dogs who can sniff and detect cancer, dogs who howl when an absent owner dies, and cats who anticipate telephone calls from their owners, and you begin to wonder if animals are indeed telepathic. Sheldrake (Seven Experiments That Could Change the World) wondered, and he spent five years conducting research on the perceptiveness of pets. His conclusions may cause you to be surprised, dismayed, or disbelieving, but you will never be bored. For millions of pet owners, Sheldrake's book will affirm what they already knowÄthat animals have abilities that have been lost by modern humans. This book is highly recommended and will be in demand by readers of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.ÄPeggie Partello, Keene State Coll. Lib., NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Not just dogs, but also cats, horses, and many other creatures appear in this attractive book. Though it has the interest inherent in any good animal story, it also offers teens an outstanding introduction to science. In a highly readable style, Sheldrake looks at the way recent generations of scientists have begun to explore animal behavior and how it has expanded our understanding of humans in the process. The author describes working with pet owners to document animal behaviors and to test possible explanations. He also relates these experiments and theories to a wide range of modern scientific concerns, from quantum physics to sociobiology. He points out that this is an exciting new field of inquiry, one still open to participation by nonscientists. He suggests several activities that readers can easily carry out and invites them to share observations and experiences via his Web page.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax Country Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Part I HUMAN-ANIMAL BONDS Chapter 1 The Domestication of Animals Many people love their pets and are loved by them. In this chapter I explore the evolution and the nature of human-animal bonds. But first it is important to recognize that emotional bonds between people and animals are the exception rather than the rule. For every well-loved cat or dog, hundreds of domesticated animals are confined to intensive farming systems and research laboratories. In many Third World countries beasts of burden are often treated brutally. And traditional societies are not usually subscribers to modern ideals of animal welfare. Eskimos, for example, tend to treat their huskies harshly. But in spite of all this exploitation, abuse, and neglect, many people form bonds with animals from childhood onward. Young children are commonly given teddy bears or other toy animals, and they like hearing stories about animals. Above all, most like keeping actual animals. The majority of pets live in households with children. Hearing tales about frightening animals, including the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood," and forming relationships with friendly ones seems to be a normal and fundamental aspect of human nature. Indeed our nature has been shaped throughout its evolutionary history by our interactions with animals, and all human cultures are enriched by songs, dances, rituals, myths, and stories about them. The evolution of human-animal bonds The earliest named hominid species, known from fossil remains, are Australopithecus ramidus and Australopithecus anamensis, dating back over 4 million years. The first stone tools were used about 2 1/2 million years ago, and signs of meat eating appear about a million years later, around the time that Homo erectus spread out of Africa into Eurasia (Figure 1.1). The use of fire may have begun around 700,000 years ago. Modern humans originated in Africa about 150,000 years ago. The first cave paintings, including many of animals, appeared about 30,000 years ago. The agricultural revolution began about 10,000 years ago, and the first civilizations and written scripts about 5,000 years ago. Our ancestors lived as gatherers and hunters, with gathering far more important than hunting. The old image of man the hunter striding confidently out onto the African veldt is a myth. Only a small proportion of the food eaten by today's hunter-gatherers comes from animals hunted by the men; most comes from gathering done mainly by women. The exceptions are the hunter-gatherers of the plant-poor Arctic regions. Hominids and early Homo sapiens obtained small amounts of meat more by scavenging the kills left by more effective predators like big cats than by hunting for themselves. Big game hunting, as opposed to scavenging, may date back only some 70,000 to 90,000 years. In hunter-gatherer cultures, human beings do not see themselves as separate from other animals but as intimately interconnected. The specialists in communication with the nonhuman world are shamans, and through their guardian spirits or power animals, shamans connect themselves with the powers of animals. There is a mysterious solidarity between people and animals. Shamans experience themselves as being guided by animals or as changing into animals, understanding their language, and sharing in their prescience and occult powers. The earliest domesticated dogs The first animals to be domesticated were dogs. Their ancestors, wolves, hunted in packs, just as men hunted, and from an early stage dogs were used in hunting as well as for guarding human settlements. Their domestication predated the development of agriculture. The conventional view is the domestication of wolves began between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. But recent evidence from the study of DNA in dogs and wolves points to a far earlier date for the first transformation of wolf to dog, over 100,000 years ago. This new evidence also suggests that wolves were domesticated several times, not just once, and that dogs have continued to crossbreed with wild wolves. If this theory is confirmed, it means that our ancient companionship with dogs may have played an important part in human evolution. Dogs could have played a major role in the advances in human hunting techniques that occurred some 70,000 to 90,000 years ago. The Australian veterinarian David Paxton goes so far as to suggest that people did not so much domesticate wolves as wolves domesticated people. Wolves may have started living around the periphery of human settlements as a kind of infestation. Some learned to live with human beings in a mutually helpful way and gradually evolved into dogs. At the very least, they would have protected human settlements, and given warnings by barking at anything approaching. The wolves that evolved into dogs have been enormously successful in evolutionary terms. They are found everywhere in the inhabited world, hundreds of millions of them. The descendants of the wolves that remained wolves are now sparsely distributed, often in endangered populations. Excerpted from Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals by Rupert Sheldrake All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part I Human-Animal Bondsp. 11
1. The Domestication of Animalsp. 13
Part II Animals That Know When Their People Are Coming Homep. 27
2. Dogsp. 29
3. Catsp. 64
4. Parrots, Horses, and Other Animalsp. 74
Part III Animal Empathyp. 91
5. Animals That Comfort and Healp. 93
6. Distant Deaths and Accidentsp. 105
Part IV Intentions, Calls, and Telepathyp. 117
7. Picking Up Intentionsp. 119
8. Telepathic Calls and Commandsp. 132
9. Animal-to-Animal Telepathyp. 155
Part V The Sense of Directionp. 169
10. Incredible Journeysp. 171
11. Migrations and Memoryp. 193
12. Animals That Know When They Are Nearing Homep. 208
13. Pets Finding Their People Far Awayp. 216
Part VI Animal Premonitionsp. 229
14. Premonitions of Fits, Comas, and Sudden Deathsp. 231
15. Forebodings of Earthquakes and Other Disastersp. 245
Part VII Conclusionsp. 267
16. Animal Powers and the Human Mindp. 269
Appendix A How to Take Part in Researchp. 283
Appendix B Experiments with Jayteep. 289
Appendix C Morphic Fieldsp. 301
Notesp. 319
Referencesp. 333
Index of Namesp. 344
Index of Subjectsp. 347
About the Authorp. 353