Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Dogs Who Hear Quite Well, Thank You Very Much

With all the brouhaha (brouhaha?) (Yes, brouhaha) about Jake's hearing going, it's quite intriguing to realize how acute Tika's hearing is.

The other evening, I was sitting in my office. That's behind a desk. Jake was looking at me. Tika was upstairs napping, presumably on my pillow which is excellent for those of us with allergies and who love inhaling dog hairs while trying to drop off to sleep. I hardly ever invite Jake up on my lap any more because Tika gets jealous and wants attention, too. I've tried ignoring her but she's evil--I think I talked a year or so ago about how she'd go and find a squeaky, squeak it (which is not part of her normal repertoire, thank you very much), and Jake would leap off my lap to go see what the brouhaha (brouhaha? ... never mind) was all about. Then of course she'd come over and point out that my hands were now free for petting other dogs.


So I thought about this. Jake is looking at me. Tika is on the other side of the desk, around the corner, up half a flight of stairs, around a U-turn, up the other flight of stairs...all the turns and corners with walls in the way, mind you...around the corner, into my bedroom, around the corner, and muffled all snug as a bug with my pillow and down comforter fluffling up around her ears.

I thought to myself, thought I, "I'll bet Tika won't be able to hear Jake leap into my lap. On top of being up the stairs, around a corner, etc. [I often think "etc." to myself], he is standing on carpet, so his toenails will make no sound when he leaps. Plus the washer and dryer are both running full out [being dedicated overachieving appliances as they are], so it will deaden the sound of, say, his soft little feet hitting my soft little lap [no observations necessary]."

So I gently patted my chest, the signal for Jake to come up. He leaped. His tags didn't even jangle. I didn't even hear him make much more than a tail-fur-brushing-against-air-molecules sort of sound.

And, an instant after he landed on my lap, I heard kerTHUNKthunk from upstairs, which is the sound of a Tika leaping from a bed, and then the sound of toenails in a rattled tumbling down the wooden-plank stairs, and then Tika skidded into the room around the desk to see why Jake got to be in my lap while I wasn't petting her.

How did she know???

I refused to pet her. I guess she couldn't find a squeakie [spelling arbitrarily changes at the writer's whim], because she vanished and reappeared with a nice shakable toy, which she proceeded to shake vigorously and growl and leap about in Jake's sight. Well, Jake, whose brain molecules don't always cohere into something useful, decided that meant it was playtime and leaped off my lap to go find his own toy.

Of course it was not play time. I was working. But he lost his opportunity to hang out on my lap and offer technical advice about the content of the scripting guide I was working on.

Tika wanted to know why I wasn't petting her.

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