Saturday, July 07, 2012

The hidden intelligence of dogs

Another Bernice memory came to mind today. While cleaning up, we found a couple of old 3.5-inch computer discs. This brought to mind something Bernice did early in her days with us, back when she was an only child.

I had received anti-virus software in the mail, and it came on a big stack of discs (maybe 10 or 12 of them). They were sitting on the coffee table when we went to work one day. Apparently, Bernice was bored, so she decided to take them apart. A bored dog chewing up something in the house isn't particularly noteworthy, but here's where it gets interesting.

Apparently, such discs have a variety of parts in them. There's the plastic case, of course, and the sliding metal part on the outside. Then inside there are other parts, like a little spring, a fabric piece, the circular disc of recording media itself and probably some other things I've forgotten.

Yes, Bernice had chewed them apart, but what we found was:

A pile of plastic casing pieces.

A pile of metal sliding pieces.

A pile of little springs.

A pile of internal plastic discs.

Every component was sorted and piled together. No one else had been in the house. The alarm system was armed, the doors locked. There was no other explanation. Our silly, young dog did this.

I don't think many people know that story. It's not one we shared too often, but we remember it well. We humans tend to think of dogs as relatively simple creatures, largely because of their inability to communicate with language, but I've often wished I could know what really goes on in their minds. They're probably far more complex than we can comprehend!

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