Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canis Sapiens

Sometimes you have to be there and see it for yourself. In fact, that's always the best way. Nothing on television can match the entertainment value - and the educational value - of just sitting in a corner and watching what's going on. You can explain what you saw, but the telling is never as good as the seeing. And this little story isn't either, but since you're already here and browsing through The Inn, I might as well present you with the evidence.

I was playing for a bridal shower yesterday. That's unusual in itself. I've played for probably hundreds of weddings but I've never even been to a bridal shower before. People with Y chromosomes just don't get invited to those. So this was my first, so far as it went. I played for the bride-to-be when she arrived followed by a few other tunes. Then I had a quick lunch and played the shuttle pipes for a half hour or 40 minutes while the guests had their lunch. When they got down to the serious business of the bridal showering activity, whatever that might be, I was given my fee and the door.

But that's not the point of this. What I actually learned yesterday, is that dogs understand English better than I thought. More than just "heel", "sit", "beg", and "squirrel!!". I was sitting in an out of the way spot as various guests arrived. The family dog was having a great time giving the visitors a welcoming sniff and allowing himself to be petted by those so inclined. One woman was a little late. The dog welcomed her, approved, and started to trot off as she explained to the hostess why she was late. "I had to pick up Jody from Little League. And then we had to take the dog to the vet, come home and change and it just took longer than I thought." At the words "dog to the vet", that dog spun around and stared at the woman for a good 15 seconds, quite obviously trying to determine if he was the dog in question and if evasive action was required. The answers appeared to be "no" and "no" so he went back to the front door to resume his duties. It was wonderful to see. Clear understanding where understanding was not expected.

All those complicated directions Timmy used to give to Lassie might not be so far-fetched after all.