Friday, March 03, 2006
Have you ever wondered what it is that your pets see, smell or what they are thinking? It happens to me all of the time-especially since I spend the majority of my time with Jetta. For example, today we were walking back from swim practice-my swim coach sent me home because I couldn't breathe due to this stupid head cold-and Jetta was trotting along, as she always does, and was turning her head to the left looking across the street. She often looks around. I've had professors comment on how she lies under my chair staring at them the whole class. Quite often other guide dogs drift off, but not her. I think she's just too damn nosy...or perhaps she's just very inquisitive. I think it's the latter. Anyway, back to my original question. Since she is acting as my eyes, I would love to know what she is looking at. I can tell when she sees something interesting because she raises her eyebrows and perks her ears. When she sees someone she recognizes-and loves-her tail starts wagging and then her entire body begins to wag. One of the women who works in the Accessible Learning Office likes to say, "the whole dog wags." I often wonder what Jetta thinks when we trek back and forth between classes, go to swim practice and even when we're just hanging out and watching TV. Whenever we come to an obstacle, whether it be a car pulled out too far across a cross-walk or booths set up in the main area of our university, I can tell she's thinking; assessing the situation. On garbage day we have to navagate people's garbage cans and recycling bins. Jetta will stop in front of the obstacle, turn her head from side to side and stare intently. Then she makes a decision as to which way seems to safest. Sometimes, I help her by suggesting either right or left and depending on what she believes is the clearest way, she'll proceed. I once had a professor tell me that dogs do not have emotions and that they cannot assess situations-he was talking to the wrong person if he expected me to believe that. Jetta definitely has emotions and she definitely thinks things through. Perhaps she may not make the correct choice, or her doggy instincts may take over and she may need a reminder to as what her job is, but we all need reminders sometimes. I guess that was my ramble for today. It is a topic that can be elaborated upon, but I have to go make lunch and then head off to class. Hmm, I wonder what classes Jetta enjoys more: biology, sociology of disability, sociology of sport and physical activity or social theory?