So, I hook the dog to her leash, we all head outside, and immediately, I can see that she’s got the scent of something. And she’s curious but cautious. She’s sniffing and looking and her ears are at full alert. I sense NOTHING but I take from Mrs. W.’s behavior that we have just missed someone. So, she’s following its scent in our back yard, through the neighbors’ and into the AT&T yard. She even stops and points, like a pointer, one paw up, tail straight, at one point. And then I can see she’s completely focused on the culvert that goes under the road.
She doesn’t want to go near it but she does not want to let it out of her sight.
And then she did something I have never seen her do before: she made huge slow running loops around me.
But wait, you say, doesn’t the dog make big loops around you all the time?
Yes, but always playful loops, where she’s focused on me.
This was, on the surface, the same thing, but in person, very different. She was making slow, running loops around me and keeping her eye on that culvert the whole time.
I think she was saying “This is mine, don’t fuck with it.”
She didn’t seem freaked or anything. She seemed like she knew exactly what she was doing and was not nervous.
But man, it ran a chill up my spine.
Never did see what it was she was smelling, though.
It must have decided to keep its distance.
Still, man, dogs are amazing. I don’t hunt, obviously, so I rarely have an opportunity to work with my dog as a team on a task more complex than taking a walk. But this morning… I don’t know. I just trusted that there was something we needed to be mindful of, both of us, and that we both understood that Mrs. W. had a bead on it that I didn’t and hence, that she had a job to do that I wouldn’t be able to guide her at.
I don’t know how we both knew, but we did.
And, man, the people who first domesticated dogs must have had an enormous advantage over their enemies. Today, I really understood how that revolutionized the lives of humans–giving you a whole other set of senses we otherwise don’t have, not like that, anyway.