Dog’s nose knows
Without saying a word, humans say so much
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lisa Kelley is away this week. Writing in her stead is her dog, Baxter.
Iam grateful for the opportunity to address you again in Owner Dear’s absence. When last we met, I shared with you a bit about myself — my love of cured meats, my fetching looks and my status as loyal companion and law partner of Owner Dear, who would undoubtedly be lost without my constant assistance. I have weighed carefully the many subject matters of which I am astute — selecting chewable footwear, telling time without the aid of a timepiece and holding one’s licker in social situations, to name a few. Alas, I have arrived on a topic to share with you which encompasses all these matters, that being, the very nature of canine knowledge.
In the past decade, I have lived and learned a great deal — some would say, seven times that of the average human. Humans are interesting creatures, and although their perceived knowledge of the world belies their actual knowledge, I remain fond of them in general. Most humans I have encountered think themselves atop the Kingdom Animalia due to their speech ability, equating incessant chatter with that of higher learning. Perhaps they underestimate the power of opposable thumbs.
Then, there is my human, Owner Dear, of whom I am exceptionally fond. Having a human is a lifelong commitment. She needs me. She cannot detect — as I — the subtle changes in pheromones, adrenaline or breathing patterns which alert me to a vast array of information not transmitted vocally. I know when a guest is approaching, or if one is anxious or ill — or about to be ill even if symptoms have yet to develop. She realizes not the extent to which she soaks up traces of her environment, from which I can deduce her every step made without my accompaniment — although thankfully those steps are rare. Her hearing is likewise impaired, for she cannot discern vehicles, footsteps and feral cats to the extent as I.
Even when Owner Dear uses her words, I have learned to remain suspect. I needn’t charge the door when she says, “Let’s go.” Instead, I await her on the landing, for she has undoubtedly forgotten her keys on the table and her lip gloss on the dresser, and she will return momentarily. As she passes me, she will roll her eyes and scratch my ear, saying, “Aren’t you the smug one?” as we then leave together. I enjoy that immensely.
I see Owner Dear has retrieved her keys and is heading for the door without her lip gloss, and I must position myself on the landing. I have enjoyed our time together. Until next we meet, please be good to one another, and remember, we quadrupeds know things. Leather footwear is always best.