Interesting question, I can only hope to answer the second. Yes, my dogs are conscious and their quest for attention makes me believe that they are somewhat self-aware. They have to exist without a sense of yesterday or tomorrow, something isn't it?. They have the ability to remember of course, but their ability to work with and use what they remember is limited. Instinct gives them a powerful advantage over their two legged master oftentimes. Definitely, food for thought.