As I was standing in line at Publix the other day, a magazine article happened to catch my eye. The title of the article was something like, “Now we know what dogs really think.” I don’t remember the exact title because I couldn’t bring myself to spend money for the magazine simply to learn the secrets that live in the minds of canines.
My first thought was who interviewed the dogs to ascertain what they really thought? Was this writer some sort of dog whisperer? How did the dogs communicate their thoughts to the interviewer? Did they bark once for “yes” and twice for “no”? Or were the questions more complex, requiring non-yes-and-no answers? And did the writer include a diversity of dogs, such as toy breeds, mixed breeds, working dogs, guard dogs, pampered pets, and so on? I have to believe that a spoiled lap dog and a bomb-sniffing dog might view the world a bit differently.
And is this just dogs in the U.S. we’re talking about? I ask this question for the simple reason that having lived overseas and observing the quite different relationship between dogs and owners, and the way in which dogs are regarded in third world countries, makes me think that those dogs might have somewhat different ways of thinking.
Then I thought, I don’t really need to buy that magazine and read that article. As a veterinarian, I can pretty much tell you what dogs think. Here are a few samples:
- Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel! Get the squirrel! Squirrel!
- Oooh! Something dead! Must roll in it! Don’t I smell divine?
- Cat! Cat! Get the cat! Cat! Cat!
- Let me lick my butt and then give you a big sloppy kiss.
- What’s this? Another dog has been at this tree. Must pee on it!
- Greetings, New Dog. You sniff my butt, I sniff yours.
- Oh boy! Oh boy! Dinner time! What’s for dinner? DOG FOOD again! Oh boy!
- You really expect me to vacate this chair? I just got comfortable.
- Who’s that? The garbage man is STEALING OUR GARBAGE! Must kill now!
- Now what? The mail truck is in the driveway. Must kill now!
- A UPS truck? Must kill now!
- Scoot over, you’re hogging the bed!
- What sandwich on the table? Don’t look at me. These are not crumbs on my face.
- A car ride! Yes! Yes! Yes! Wait, we’re at the vet’s. No! No! No!
- Hey, get off the computer and rub my belly.
- Okay, so I ate the sandwich. It was your fault for letting me guard your food.
- NOT A NAIL TRIM! SOMEBODY HELP ME! MURDER!
- I’m so tired. I only slept twenty-two hours today.
- You expect me to go out in the rain when I can much more comfortably just poop on the carpet?
- (And my dogs when I get home from work) What’s this I smell on you? YOU’VE CHEATED ON ME! YOU’VE BEEN WITH ANOTHER DOG!
I think that about covers the mind of the average canine. Besides, I’ve seen The Secret Lives of Pets, so it’s not as if I’m totally uninformed.