Did you know that the texture/pattern of a dog's nose is as unique as the human fingerprint? Neither did I, until reading Stanley Coren's "How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind". This book studies how our sensory organs compare to those of our furry canine companion. It even discussed ESP and the possibility of canine evolution from wolves.
On Wednesday, Dr. Dunn visited our classroom with her special needs dog, Lucy, and her mixed breed, Lily. Lucy has a disease known as Degenerative Myelothopy. This disease involves the slow use of the dog's nervous system, where the muscles are no longer directed by the nerves. Lucy uses a wheelchair-like cart to get around. Prior to the cart, water therapy was used as an attempt to slow down the effects of DM.
On Thursday, Louise Mowbray and Martha Ruskai, the North Carolina Rescue Representative for Portuguese Water Dogs, brought their PWDs, Missy, Champ, Ryder, Rixa, and Tripp. Rixa is the first Tracking Champion in North Carolina, and in the spirit of Salem College, the second female ever to achieve that title. We watched Ryder perform a tracking drill on Salem grounds. We learned about PWDs and tracking within the American Kennel Club.
Dr. Jennifer Geisler of Ard-Vista Animal Hospital came to speak to us about the ten things veterinarians wish pet owners knew. We learned everything from a dog's pain perception, canine food variety, and how to make the decision to euthanize your pet. We discussed the basic needs of a dog and what a pet owner should consider before purchasing a dog. She instructed us that the key to preventing separation anxiety is not to emphasize coming and going with your dog.
This week has been an interesting combination of instruction on the how and why of dogs. Learning how their senses are different compared to ours is so interesting, considering us as humans tend to anthropomorphize our canine pets. Dr. Ersoff takes great care in inviting appropriate guest speakers and demonstrators to class. Discussion with professionals helps us to gain insight into the reality surrounding the world of dogs.