Dogs have long memories. They’ll recognize a person they love even several years after they last met.
A news story a few weeks ago about a woman who found her missing dog after 12 years as well as one about a pup who recognized her foster mom after a year reminded me of a couple of similar experiences.
I fostered a puppy once in Israel. She stayed with me for a couple of weeks before I found her a great home. Several months or a year later, I was walking down the street in downtown Jerusalem, and this huge dog walking toward me got very excited. Always a sucker for a cute dog, I stopped to say hi. And realized it was the foster puppy, all grown up.
And just this past summer, Cali and I were walking along the river in Missoula, when Cali spied a friend waaayyyy down the path. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether Cali sees an actual friend or a friend she hasn’t met yet, but she was very excited. As we got closer, I recognized friends we hadn’t seen in a couple of years.
Dog lovers, they stopped. The husband recognized us, but the wife had eyes only for the dog. She commented on how friendly this dog was as she petted and cuddled Cali for a few minutes … and finally looked up to see me and her husband stifling our laughter. Of course Cali was happy to see her! Cali adores her!
This of course confirms that our dogs do really love us. And, in the case of the lost dog, underscores how important it is to microchip your dog (and keep the registration current) — that’s how that Florida woman in the first example was reunited with her dog after 12 years!
To me, it also means something else: The current trend toward acknowledging that dogs and ther sentient animals are different from inanimate property is long overdue. We need to do a better job of looking out for their interests and considering their well-being.