Saturday, June 21, 2008
By Mary Durfee
As readers of this blog may recall, I have had a foster dog, Floppy, for nearly nine months. I was a novice dog owner in October, having only really interacted with cats. It has been quite an experience. Going on walks has been especially informative as one does not, as a rule, take them with cats. My dog had not really been taught to walk on a leash and he would have helped the Red Queen zoom even faster through Alice’s Wonderland—and to the same effect of not really getting anywhere.
As the struggle of just walking him got less intense, I’ve had occasion to wonder about dogs and dog pee. I realize this is hardly a scholarly topic, but with all these hours in Malta invested in walking that born and bred in Malta dog, I think it’s fair game for my blog.
I know that dogs leave notes to each other through their pee. We have our blogsophere, they have the dogosphere. Apparently, they can tell sex, size, when last came by, and perhaps individuals. I know my dog was suspicious that a new dog had arrived in the building, and it had to be from smell and the new markers. I was astounded by one enterprising little dog I saw once. He would do a “handstand” and pee with his hind legs in the air. Perhaps he had a “Napoleon complex” about his size.
One of the local females went into heat, and her pee was apparently ambrosia of the dogs, fraught with unspoken canine desire. My dog could moon over one of her wet spots indefinitely, if I let him. Other scents from her meant that every walk was a tug of war over whether to go to her front door. Perhaps he left “pick up” lines for her.
I also know that it’s perfectly sensible that dogs would have likely spots to pee (and the other event, as well). My husband claims I know all the likely good bathrooms from our house to St Louis, a previous sabbatical locale, and also all around Lake Superior. So, I am not surprised my dog has preferences. I don’t quite know, however, why some spots have to be carefully considered, from all physical angles, before a well-aimed shot can take place. What Jane Austen-like like doggy etiquette requires this considered response, I wonder?
But, I am most amazed at how he manages his pee. Mine seems to leave something about every 10 meters. Eventually he really lets loose. What I don’t get is how he can always have enough pee for whatever length walk we go on, so that the 10-meter rule can be obeyed. How can he determine that one walk will only be for a quick relief, while another might take 40 minutes?
I have a physical image of his bladder as a little train with boxcars, each with a tiny door. He drops his cargo in one place and new boxcars get added. Some of his “I was here” announcements require just a drib, while others take considerably more. So he can control his little railroad of dog pee. He can go from a dot to an “AHHHH stream” with no trouble.