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Patricia Simonet, 1959-2010
Jan. 22 memorial for researcher who discovered dog laughter

We were saddened to learn Patricia Simonet, who “discovered” dog laughter, died in December—at only 51, three after years of being diagnosed with breast cancer. She will be missed not only for the contributions she made in our understanding of dogs’ play vocalizations and smiling but also because of her advocacy for homeless dogs in the Spokane, Wash., community.

 
Simonet, who wrote about dog laughter for Bark magazine in September 2007, not only translated the “meaning” of various grunts and breathy pants, she revealed the value of laughter in calming dogs, which could be deployed to ameliorate stress in shelter environments.

In Spokane, Simonet worked as an animal behaviorist at SCRAPS, the county animal shelter, where she helped promote pet adoptions by matching the animal’s “personality” with that of their prospective owners. She also volunteered at the Spokane Humane Society. In 2010, the Spokane County Board of Supervisors named Spokane County’s only off-leash dog park, the Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park in her honor.
 
► Patricia Simonet will be remembered and celebrated on Saturday, January 22 at 1 p.m. in the Spokane Buddhist Temple at 927 S. Perry St., Spokane.

 

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Crosbie Ronning | January 13 2011 |

What a tremendous loss of such a wonderful person. I'm so terribly sad to hear of this news. Patricia was one of my dearest college professors, and I feel so lucky that I had the chance to not only know her as a person, but to have learned under her as well. She was a wealth of passionate knowledge, and the Earth will most certainly miss her amazing grace and spirit. Rest In Peace 'Tricia, you have done amazing things in this life!!! I love you, I always have and always will!

Submitted by Anonymous | June 14 2011 |

Dear Crosbie: I'm a local author in the Spokane area researching Dr. Simonet and her work with dogs, particularly their laughter. I would be very interested in corresponding with you about your time with her, your impressions, etc., as I'm planning on writing an article on her (or an essay) for publication. I've contacted the Spokane facility where she was working until her death, and they, too, seem interested in seeing a further piece being published about her work and life. If you're interested, please reach me through my website, www.quickfalloflight.com and I will get back to you as quickly as I can. I plan on taking my time with this but would like to have an article in the works by late summer. Thank you for considering. Sherri W.

Submitted by Robert (Bob) Brost | July 5 2011 |

Hi Sherri, I am Patricia’s husband. If you would like some information about Trisha’s research on the Laughing Dog CD, I can probably help you out. RF@Brost.net. wwww.Laughing-Dogs.org

Submitted by LarryJ | January 31 2011 |

I am feeling the loss our world is experiencing with the loss of Trisha. She was an amazing person, smart, talented and beautiful. I am grateful that I got to know her.

Submitted by Lianne Meinzinger | September 3 2011 |

Tricia was indeed special. She helped with with behavioral problems I had with several of my animals, one dog in particular. I was astounded to see how easily she solicited the desired behavior, and wish I had a fraction of her gift. She was amazing and I often tell others about things she taught us. So tragic to lose her! :*-(

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