OK. This is about anthropomorphizing, specifically about how I humanize the actions of my two Tibetan Terriers, Wigglebutt Duncan and Isadora Duncan (aka, Izzy or IzzyDunk). You may or may not know that all dogs have a keen sense of smell. It has been reported that dogs have approximately 220 million olfactory (smell) receptors while people have approximately 5 million. That's why dogs are typically used in search and rescue training and likewise have been trained to detect oncoming seizure activity in people. In my own vocational field, health psychology, there have been reports of certain dogs that somehow sense when a patient is near death in nursing homes. Obviously, dogs have a great sense of smell.
So how does this relate to me and how my dogs greet one another and other dogs with what I call "the sniff'n lick?" When Dunkie and Izzy have been separated for as little as several minutes, they greet one another with the following 'conversation' upon return:
"Aha. You're back! That's great."
"Let me guess where you've been. Have you gone someplace cool without me?"
(another sniff, sniff).
"Aaah, essence of rabbit and goose poo. Lucky you. Can I taste it?"
(sniff, lick, lick)
"Has it made you feel ill? Was it healthy for you?"
"Did you poop, too? Let me smell."
(sniff, sniff at the other end of the dog)
"Oh, you seem OK … I'm done for now."
(sniff, then having finished the ritual, walks away)
How many of you have experienced this? Then there's the other ritual between Izzy and me that started when she was about 16 weeks old with her stuff-less baby toy fox. I call this the "drop'n kiss" routine. I am totally clueless as to how this started but it begins each and every morning before Dunk and Izzy go off to work with my husband. Izzy loves her baby toy and has loved it since she came into our home. She folds it into three, holds it neatly and gently in her mouth, and walks about our town home whimpering until she's 'dug' a place in a couch to 'bury' it and then hides it by pushing pillows over it to conceal its resting place. This happens in the evenings. Mornings are different and here is our 'conversation.'
(Jumps onto the bed, which I'm still in, baby in mouth)
"Hi, Mom, gotta run off to work. Am dropping my baby off with you to take care of while I'm away. Is that OK?"
("Baby" is dropped onto the pillows with the covers being pushed up around it.)
"Hey, Mom, are you feeling OK?"
"Seems like you're healthy this morning! Love you … back later!"
(lick, lick, jumps off the bed and goes into the crate in our car).
Even though many people may say that Izzy is simply hoarding or burying a bone, I am honestly convinced that we are having a conversation in which she is entrusting her baby to me and giving me one kiss goodbye before she goes off to work. It happens every day.
I kind of like these conversations. It makes me feel loved by my little canine girl and that makes me a happy owner.