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A Brief History of Dogs by ECE Professor Stuart Long

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Audrey Grayson
ECE Professor Stuart Long with Great Dane, Grayson

“I can’t imagine how anyone’s life wouldn’t be more fulfilling with a dog,” explained Stuart Long, a professor in the Cullen College’s department of electrical and computer engineering.

Long is an official expert on electrical and computer engineering and an unofficial expert on dogs. In fact, he facilitated a talk this year at the UH Honors College fundraising event “The Great Conversation” about the origin of dogs, alongside ECE associate professor David Shattuck.

“The Great Conversation” event for the UH Honors College takes place each year, consisting of a reception followed by a multi-course dinner. During the meal, guests discuss a topic that has been predetermined for their table and led by a UH faculty member or another expert.

Long’s topic of choice for the discussion he facilitated was, of course, the origin and history of dogs. His presentation was aptly titled, “From Wolf to Woof: The Origin of Dogs.” In his discussion with the group, Long focused primarily on the evolution from wolf to dog, as well as the now-infamous research on domesticated foxes conducted by Soviet scientist, Dimitri Balyaev.

But beyond a scientific interest in the evolutionary origins of dogs, Long also harbors a deep personal interest in man’s best friend. Long is the proud owner of a Great Dane named Grayson (who’s coat is an impossible shade of silver-blue), and is dog-grandpa to three golden retrievers whom he refers to as his “granddogs.”

“Dogs give to people unrestricted, unconditional love,” Long said. “No matter what happens during the day, when I come home and walk through the door, my dog is always happy to see me.”

And Great-Dane-Grayson’s particular brand of devoted, tireless love for his human counterparts even earned him the title of certified therapy dog. Long and Grayson are proud members of Faithful Paws Pet Therapy Program, sponsored by the Bellaire United Methodist Church in Houston. Together, the pair have visited hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and even college campuses to share the healing and therapeutic power of unconditional love.

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