Here, in this very personal comment, I want to take the opportunity, to thank a bunch of people that have paved the way for my research. First of all, I would like to thank the EU Horizon 2020 program and Marie Curie Sklodowska Action for funding my research but also the University of Lincoln to host my current project and giving me the opportunity to set up my lab in Riseholm. Further, I am especially grateful to Kun Guo but also Daniel Mills and Anna Wilkinson for all their support in the last weeks and months. Of course my thank also goes to my former colleagues of the Clever Dog Lab in Vienna, above all Ludwig Huber and Karin Bayer as well as the technicians, lovely dog owners and dogs who have made my past research possible and joyful.
One very special individual I am deeply indebted and whom I would like to express my gratitude is my dog Teddy, who sadly left me in the beginning of 2018 and now hopefully has find his peace in a better place. I still grieve for him – the loss of your companion is never easy and as painful as the loss of a family member. Still, I am thankful for all the years that I could still have with him and during this time he gave me many lessons in “doggish” and always happily volunteered in my research without making any fuss of it. However, being a fourth-hand dog when he found me, he obviously did not experienced the best start in his life and due to neglect, false husbandry and handling in this first years, he unfortunately kept some permanent defects. So besides being an affectionate, lovely, awesome and gorgeous lad, sometimes a switch tripped in his brain and he momentary morphed into an anxious, aggressive and wicked monster. To cut a long story short: We have to be aware that every living creature around us has needs and understanding these needs is crucial. On part of this understanding is now my urge to investigate, how we can measure emotions in our companions. In long-term this project is supposed to not only give us further insights into the emotional life’s of dogs, but is thought to be extended to a variety of (domestic) animals so that we will be able in the near future to ensure their welfare even better.
I am looking forward to the next years of most important and interesting research and will possibly meet you (and your dog) in my lab.