Smelling is Believing

I recently wrote a blog on my own site about my oldest dog's journey Into The Twilight.  While he has several aging issues going on, I am most impressed with how little effect his loss of sight has had on him.  I know I shouldn't be surprised, but it really drives home one of the big differences between humans and canines.

We humans so often say, "Seeing is believing!"  This just doesn't seem to be true for dogs.  In the canine world, smelling is believing.  A dog doesn't have to see a bowl of food to know that it is in the room.  Russell (my old blind dog) proves this to me every day.  In fact, all I have to do is sit down at the opposite end of the couch with a cup of yogurt and he makes it quite obvious that he is completely aware of what he can't see.

As I watch my aging dog, I can't help but think about how different our experience of the world must be from our dogs.  I also keep thinking about why we valued them in the first place, thousands of years ago.  They could see what we couldn't.  What's strange is that so many dogs are reprimanded for doing just that in present day.

How many times are dogs yelled at for barking at "nothing".  The dog barks, we look out the window and we explain to the dog that there's nothing to worry about because we can't see anything with our eyes.  Meanwhile, the dog is probably wondering why we can't hear or smell what's out there.