Kerry dog here again, just being a dog on the move.
My humans are reading a book (or so they tell me – I can’t read so I have to trust them) called ‘Inside of a Dog’ by someone I don’t know called Alexandra Horowitz. This book has been a source of information and Barbara and Martin often ask me if I agree with some of the propositions about dogs. The first one I definitely agree with “Outside of a dog, a book is Man’s best friend – inside of a dog it is too dark to read!” (Groucho Marx). My humans were interested to know if I had some memories like them because things have changed a bit around here over the last while and we suddenly arrived back on the floating box.
We spent a long time back in my garden. I remember coming back to my garden in Victoria – it was strangely familiar, then after a few sniffs I knew where I was. I was a bit jet lagged when we first arrived (yes dogs do get jetlag as we expect to be fed at a certain time and if there is a time change then I get a bit confused as when to eat, sleep and go ….. you know for a walk. We stayed in the house where my garden is located, the old ladies (Barbara’s mum and Joan) came for a long time (I really enjoy their company as they talk to me and feed me bits when Barbara is not looking), and I was happily settled in – doing a bit of barking at strange dogs as they walked by – just so they would remember who I was, when suddenly the big box for flying appeared in Martin’s office. I had an inkling about what was coming.
Eventually the day arrived and my buddy Colin (man not dog) came to pick us up and take us to where the flying machines leave and arrive. My box was scanned (to make sure there were no gremlins inside – I climbed in and was promptly hauled off into the flying machine. Once inside I just lay down in my box and waited. Apparently people would drug dogs that had to fly, but dog doctors do not this anymore, because we dogs pant to regulate our temperature, and we can’t do this if we are drugged. Instead there was a lovely calming smell in the big box – it smelled like my mother (Note – Dog Affective Pheromone DAP is used to calm dogs that fly).
We did not fly for very long and then suddenly I was with Martin and Barbara again – it was a quick flight to a cold place called Calgary. I was very happy but I was misled as my box was again scanned for gremlins again and I was put inside – this time for a long time………………..
Upon arrival in the new country (Holland) I was taken outside and had the best pee in the world (after 14 hours of no peeing believe me it was a great relief.). Then someone picked us up and took us in a moving box to familiar place in a town called Dordrecht. A dog used to live in this place but its humans had to give it to another human as they were leaving for Canada (personally, all things considered, I glad my humans took me with them). Heather and Erwin still missed Diesel (a rotund Golden Retreiver) but I didn’t mind as they made a fuss of me and I didn’t have to sleep in the same room as him – he snores.
We stayed a few days then we climbed into a new moving box (a red one this time) and drove back to the airport where Barbara disappeared, and Martin drove on for a while to find the big white floating box.
Martin and I were left alone to fend for ourselves (Martin was actually fending for me) so we spent a few days in a strange little room at a hotel. Martin was in work mode so he parked our red car in front of the yard where he was working on our floating box. I would stay in the car with hatch open and watch him work or I would go to sleep. He did work very hard but took breaks so we could have walks together along the grassy side of the canal nearby.
This was all in a place called Sneek (reminds me of a cat I once knew called Sneekers). After a while and a lot of work the floating box was put back in the water and we could live on it again. After what seemed like a long long time we took a trip back to the airport (where the flying machines were everywhere) and suddenly Barbara appeared. I was very glad to see her and went into squirmy mode – sometimes I was so squirmy that my tail (such as it is) almost touched my nose and then whips around the other side to touch my tail to my nose. We were all together again back on the floating box so I was happy.
The very next day Martin disappeared for a while and came back with two new people (Caspar and Lorena). They were very kind and obviously liked dogs, and petted me a lot. We took walks from the floating box into town, (not much grass around, I must say), then we took a short trip to another town with a name like “name the lion” (Leeuwarden), with lots of grass and nice walks. I like this country Holland, because I can go almost everywhere with my humans – shops, restaurants, trains, buses everywhere expect the meat shop (where my food comes from).
My new friends left after a few days (herding humans is a satisfactory if somewhat tiring exercise and I worked hard with these people), so we three (me and my two humans) went off to one of the islands and enjoyed an evening in the sun playing tag – and I could really have a good run. The floating box was located in an industrial area with lots of smells of metal, burning and chemicals. The first day or so that we were there, Barbara and I had to disappear as the inside of the floating box was all torn up and there was nowhere to go to sleep. We went down the road to a lovely walk beside the waterway to watch other floating boxes go by. The grass had been mowed so there were places to run and no leash! I saw all kinds of creatures including rabbits that were suddenly there, then not there. I could run, or chase or best of all roll in the long grass and scratch my back and then do it all again. Diving into long grass it such great fun you should try it sometime!
We went on a road trip in the red moving box. We were going to a country called Denmark that seemed to be a long way away. The road trip took us to another town and the next morning we went to a very crowded place called a market. A market may be fun for humans but to me it is just a sea of mainly human legs (all shapes and sizes and covered in different materials) and an expansion of the olfactory spectrum (lots of very interesting smells – luckily I only eat food I am given and not off the floor).
We drove for a while longer making stops here and there in this place called Denmark. We eventually stayed at a house with two very nice people, who like dogs yet owned a cat. Didn’t see the cat – too scaredy I guess. Anyway they were very kind and took us out to a field with lots of sheep (and very smelly sheep dung), which was the site of an early human settlement (Trelleborg). I could smell many years of change especially in the old house where humans had lived (or so they said). It was big and drafty with birds living in the roof nothing like the house we lived in. We walked around I smelled the sheep but could not get near them as I was on a tight rein because someone may have mistaken me for a sheep.
Later that day we went for a boat ride to a small island. Very nice, warm, lots of humans to herd as walked around, then they sat down and had food – I had to wait until we got back to the place we were staying. We moved on quite quickly and said good-bye to the nice people and arrived in a really big city called Copenhagen. I had the feeling that this country of Denmark was not as dog friendly as Holland – I was not allowed in restaurants or stores. We walked down town and then caught a bus for a while.
Here the strangest coincidence happened: We were at a statue of a woman with a fish tail (what a weird idea) when two ladies began making a fuss of me (being a dog -I love it when that happens), saying they had two Wheaten terriers. Then one lady took a look at my dog tags (from Victoria) and seemed very interested in me. She asked Barbara if we were from Victoria British Columbia Canada. The affirmative answer led to a second question (because she was also from our home town and was travelling on a cruise in the Baltic Sea): as she wanted to know where I came from. Barbara explained I was part of a litter, born just north of Duncan. The lady replied that her dogs came from the same place. She knew the names of my parents; Abby and Wilson as her two Wheatens came from the same parents – but a different litter because they were older. What a small world we live in, when dogs have a chance meeting the owner of my siblings in a different country across the globe☺.
We did not have time to hang about as we had to leave but everyone was just thrilled at this amazing coincidence. We continued to look around this town – not quite my kind of place as there was hardly any grass anywhere, then went back to our red moving box.
Barbara and Martin took all of our stuff out of the car (including my bed so I knew we were staying) and we walked up many stairs to another house and another dog. We stayed with some very nice new people who had a Shitsu called Karla. I have a friend who is a Shitsu (Pancho) but he and I have known each other forever. Karla and I had not, and it was her house, she was territorial and did not roll over, and I don’t like small female dogs, so it was a bit tense – for about two days. Everything was OK when we went for a walk but in the confines of her territory, I had to obey Martin despite my inclinations. We were kept apart which was a good thing. After a couple of days I was kinda used to little Karla and she tolerated me (although I had to have my leash on in the house!), but then we left and spent a long time in the moving red box before arriving back at our floating box in Holland.
So in answering the question about dogs memory – I would say that we do have memory but not in the same way as humans. Memory is the result of learning and experience, and usually requires language to make it real. Well – dogs learn (and yes you can teach an old dog new tricks – it just takes longer), but we do not talk – at least not in a language humans understand, although I do try and tell my humans what I need and what is going on. Our memories are more olfactory than experiential, aural or visual smell is our ‘Umwelt’. It seems that humans actually do not know much about dog memories but clearly we do remember, because I remember my garden and lots of people that are my friends, but I might not always know where I have buried a bone or put my favourite toy. Anyway I was very happy to be back on my floating box again after we returned from Denmark because I knew where I was.
It looks like we are on the floating box for a while now – more adventures and more floating to who knows where. I will just have to keep my nose to the ground and sniff and try to remember if I have been there before.