Monday, January 16, 2006

Doggish Logic:

Years ago we were traveling with our baby and our dog, when our cheap foreign car died. Hours later we were towed to a motel. Few repair places knew how to deal with our unusual car, and we expected another long tow in the morning to get it fixed. But now it was nighttime. The motel owner eyed our dog doubtfully and said “She's welcome here as long as she doesn't bark.” He put us in a large room with a number of chairs and a large bed.

Barking was a definite prospect. Our basset hound eyed the room, whining miserably. In desperation I went to an overstuffed chair, patted the cushion vigorously and spoke a familiar command: “GO: to your bed.” Our basset happily climbed into the chair (she loved soft chairs and knew that we preferred her to stay OFF them at home), settled down and slept through the night.

The normal meaning of “GO: to your bed” was: go to your own dog bed. Somehow our dog understood I meant to make the chair her bed in this strange place. Maybe when she was whining, she was asking “where am I supposed to sleep?” Thank goodness we communicated.

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