buster the show dog
Posted : 7/9/2007 5:36:57 PM
Do you guys think there's a time limit on these memories? How long do they remember familiar places? Or familiar people/animals?
My first dog lived with me at one home from when he was three months old until he was six months old. During that time we took nearly daily walks that included crossing an old barbed wire fence. There was one spot across the path that was only about a foot and a half high that I could easily step over, but he couldn't easily jump. About 20 feet to the side there was a ditch that provided about a foot of clearance that he could wiggle under.
Then I moved to a new location about 10 miles away. Five years later I was visiting my former neighbor and brought my now five year old dog along. For old time's sake I strolled along our old walking route. Although my now full grown and very athletic dog was capable of jumping three foot fences effortlessly, when we got to that barbed wire fence he ignored the low portion of the fence that he could now easily hop over, and with no hesitation veered over to the ditch and squirmed his big ol' adult body through the spot that he had used as a puppy. Five years prior.
Another somewhat less impressive length of time, but an amusing example of his sense of place occurred when this same dog was almost seven years old. We had been living for five years in a farm house that I rented. Then, I moved out of the area to attend school for a year. The farm house was sublet for the year, with the understanding that the tenants would be moved out a few days before I returned and resumed rental of the house. So, a year passed, and I pulled into the driveway of our farm house very late one night. The interim tenants had not yet moved out. No problem, it was a big farm and it was the wee hours of the morning - I just unrolled my sleeping bag in the barn and figured I would deal with reclaiming residence the next day. But, about a half hour after I arrived, and before I had fallen asleep, one of the interim tenants made a trip to the outhouse (yes, this house still had an outhouse, albeit a nice self-composting, clean-smelling, environmentally friendly one). He foolishly left the door to the house open as he trudged out back. My dog and my cat, who both clearly showed they knew we were back home, saw the open door to "their" house, and casually walked in, just as the tenant was returning from his visit to the little house out back. He had no idea who the dog and cat were, and from my vantage in the barn I could clearly follow his voice trying unsuccessfully to shoo them out as they made their way directly to my old bedroom. I had no problem the next morning convincing the tenant that his sub-lease had expired.