Dr. Daniel Promislow–a biogerontologist, professor at the University of Washington, and principal investigator of The Dog Aging Project, a long-term study of health and longevity in dogs—recounts the genesis of the Project. **NOTE: There is static on the line during the first portion of the interview; it does clear up. He explains that it was inspired by a study examining the genetics of dogs across an array of breeds and sizes. As someone who specializes in studying aging, Promislow was excited by the notion of launching a project with that focus, while including thousands of dogs. He proposed the idea to a colleague, Dr. Kate Creevy, a veterinarian who shared his enthusiasm for the Project (and is a co-founder). It wasn’t too long, he says, before the foundation of The Dog Aging Project was coming together. Promislow speaks to the striking scope of the Project, including that some 47,000 dogs are enrolled, and that the researchers intend to track all these canines spanning their entire lives. (Promislow made it clear the study continues to welcome additional dogs: https://redcap.dogagingproject.org/surveys/?s=DYYDHK8HAP) When asked about the monumental number of participating pooches—specifically,what does 47,000 dogs tell the Project researchers that, say, 40,000 dogs cannot—Promislow suggests it’s a matter of degree, or shading. He goes on to note, by way of example, that some dogs have skin disorders, which may give the team an opportunity to investigate underlying causes, maybe genetic factors. We hear about—and briefly, from—Pete, the Promislow family dog. This sort of naturally gives way to Promislow chronicling Pete’s predecessor, Frisbee (no longer with us), whom he not only described as “the best dog,” but for an array of reasons—including that she lived to be 16½ years old—acknowledged that she helped shape his thinking about dog aging and longevity. And therefore, helped shape The Dog Aging Project. Promislow discusses the details behind the study’s primary funding—provided by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health—expected to end in June, and the remedy: He and the other two founders of the The Dog Aging Project formed the Dog Aging Institute, a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to raise funds for research. (https://dogagingproject.org/, https://www.facebook.com/dogagingproject/, https://www.instagram.com/dogagingproject/, https://dogaginginstitute.org/)
ALSO: I spoke briefly with Kate MacFall, Florida State Director at The Humane Society of the United States, about Humane Lobby Day, scheduled for Jan. 29 in Tallahassee. Registration ended on Jan. 24 (the day I conducted this interview), but MacFall explained that Humane Lobby Day represents a significant opportunity to speak with lawmakers about important legislation that will protect animals—meaning, she elaborated, bills that are pending (re puppy mills, black bears, etc.), but also new laws that Humane Lobby Day attendees intend to propose that are specific to their district or county. (https://www.facebook.com/HSUSFlorida, [email protected])
COMEDY CORNER: Brian Simpson’s “Missing Pets” [DS edit] (https://www.briansimpsoncomedy.com/)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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