Essay From A Dogs Point Of View

Animal Tales

As animal lovers, we all enjoy a heart-warming tale about animals, their intuition and their amazing impact on our lives. For your reading pleasure and as a thank-you to Monty’s Home visitors for their continued support and interest in our programs, we offer a collection of stories about many species of animals.

Some stories you will recognize. They have circulated the Internet via email for many years. Others are interesting news stories saved and collected over time. Some will make you laugh; some will make you cry; some will make you angry; some will reinforce your belief that there is no love like the unconditional love offered by the creatures sharing our planet with us.

Sit back, grab a box of Kleenex, spend a little time with us and enjoy this collection of animal tales. And if you have a story you’d like to see added to our collection, please, forward it to info@montyshome.org. We’re always on the lookout for compelling additions to our collection.

 

If we know the author or the source, it’s noted at the bottom of the story. Those without footnotes came from unknown sources. If you have information about the origin of any story, please let us know. We want to give credit where credit is due.

A dog’s life – My view
A touching story of life with a geriatric canine.

A good dog story
Find out what happens when Lucky finds out about his mistress’s cancer diagnosis.

A pet’s 10 Commandments
Ten things to remember when you decide to share your life with a dog.

Dogs want you to know
Authored by our own PPPP trainer, Whitney Doremus, this list dispels many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding canine behavior. This is a must read for all of you sharing your life with a canine companion.

Don’t mess with old dogs
An amusing anecdote about how age and skill overcome youth and treachery.

Essay from an unwanted dog
As this story teaches us, animals are not disposable possessions. They look to us for a lifetime of love and care, and remain loyal to the end. (This one is difficult to read.)

Grim Reapurr: The cat that can predict death
Read about Oscar the cat. He lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence, RI. His uncanny and accurate predictions within four hours of a patient’s death were originally documented in the New England Journal of Medicine.

I am an animal rescuer
Discover the gamut of emotions animal rescuers experience everyday – boundless joy, love and heartache – and why they continue their work.

I rescued a human today
A wonderful story of shelter adoptions from the animal’s perspective.

Just a dog
This essay came from one of the inmates at the Burgaw Correctional Institution, and was shared during the first week of the first class of the Pawsitive Partners Prison Program. Grab your Kleenex. Knowing the story behind the story makes it that much more poignant.

Martha’s Christmas Miracle
The fable of how all animals are granted the gift of speech each Christmas Eve and how one animal rescuer reunited a long lost dog with its forever family.

Pet Rules
This one is laugh out loud funny. Anyone who lives with animals will recognize their own animal’s behavior in every paragraph. 

The old man and the dog
A touching story of how even a grumpy old man and a recalcitrant canine can change each other’s lives for the better. Keep the tissues handy. You’ll need them.

Untangled – A beautiful story written by a whale
Unconditional love isn’t limited to creatures with four legs and fur.

When I am old
Young or old, you’ll understand if you share your life with a dog.

Your dog
A gentle reminder to just sit and be with your dog. Their time with us is so short. Take a moment and enjoy the precious time you have together.

 

       

How to Help

THE STORM is approaching! And after yesterday’s blog, you know that’s serious!

Today’s blog is all about how I created a “dog’s eye view” of the world for the series. Because I was writing from the point of view of a dog, I knew that some aspects of my writing were going to have to change, but the more research I did, the more I realized that not only my writing, but my entire worldview needed to shift to even begin the process of creating a dog’s perspective on the world.

The first and perhaps biggest change that I had to make was that I had to learn to “see” the world nose-first, meaning I had to think about everything from a scent perspective. Try it yourself—smell your way around your house or room. Try to imagine everything from a scent-first point of view. It’s super hard, but when you do it, the spaces around you change dramatically. Suddenly, your laundry hamper or stinky gym shoes or the garbage is the most interesting thing in the room. Gross, but true.

This is how dogs sense the world—smell-first. Dogs smell MILLIONS of times better than human beings. That’s right, millions. They can smell trace amounts of sugar dissolved in the equivalent of swimming pools of water. They can smell when someone is about to have a seizure. They can smell the difference between one petal of a rose from another because a bee landed on one and left a dusting of pollen. One author posits that they can smell the time of day. How awesome would that be? But what a different way of experiencing the world from our own! For most of us humans, our primary way of experiencing the world is through sight. This bias is evident even in the way we talk about things. When you agree with someone, you might respond, “I totally see what you’re saying, dude.” Would a dog woof, “I totallysmell you, dog”?

Dogs can also (obviously) see, but they see differently than we do. They see a slightly muted color spectrum because of how their eyes are structured. Dogs’ eyes only pick up blue and greenish-yellow light, so they only see a color when it is in the range of blue or green. They also see “faster” than we humans do, which is why they can catch a whizzing Frisbee mid-air.

All of this research into how dogs sense the world changed how I wrote my scenes. When I thought about my main character, Shep, interacting with other dogs, I had to think about how he would smell them first, and then see them. What would he be able to tell from the other dog’s smell? I decided that he would be able to tell a lot about him or her—that she was a girldog, that she was a young dog, etc.

Through my research, and using some common sense, I knew that dogs communicate not only through barks and growls, but also through their body language. For example, once Shep saw this girldog, he would notice more than just whether there was a smile on her snout. He would see how the other dog held her tail—was it up and wagging, friendly, or flat and rigid, or between her legs, showing fear? He would notice how the dog held her ears, whether she was crouched down or standing proud.

On the subject of communication, I wanted to capture on the page a uniquely doggy kind of language, a dog-dialect. The book is written from a third-person close point of view, meaning that I tell the story from over Shep’s shoulder. The reader hears his thoughts and the story is told in his voice. I thought of what human words Shep might understand—Go, Car, Walk, etc.—words my own dogs understand. I also thought of how Shep might describe human things that he didn’t know the human words for—what would he call the vacuum cleaner? The refrigerator? A television? What kinds of metaphors would a dog use? Shep might compare something he really liked to a big bowl of kibble with gravy or a squeaky toy. How might he describe something he didn’t like?

Sometimes I had to depart slightly from the dog’s eye view of the world. For example, even though dogs live in a smell-first world, us human readers need some visual details to picture a setting. And so I describe certain locations as a human might experience them—I say what Shep sees around the room, give details of colors he might not really be able to sense. I also made some assumptions in writing the book, like that dogs would know what glass and plastic were. All of these choices required me to balance the authenticity of the “dog’s eye view” against what would best serve the story, and ultimately the reader.

As you can tell, I really got into all this dog research. It’s fascinating! If you’re interested in learning more about how dogs sense the world, check out Alexandra Horowitz’s amazing book, Inside of a Dog. She does a great job of talking about complex science in an easy-to-understand way. Or watch the great NOVA special,Dogs Decoded. You’ll never see your dog the same way again!

Check back in tomorrow for details about my contest! You could win a signed copy ofThe Storm, a signed advance copy of The Pack, and a series bookmark! Huzzah!

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