Saint Peter Island , Digby County
I left you a Message
Asleep by ten, up by five, a routine that I have followed for over fifty years. So this Dead of Night walk with a plastic bag in hand is definitely not my first choice for a nightcap.
Fergus ate a dead crab on the beach today and lets just say he is not in control of his system, so off I go into the rain.
We make our way down to Creamery Square and Fergus is more interested in everything vertical instead of his Montezuma’s revenge
I take a rest at one of the benches on the Deck by the water. Quiet would be an understatement. Like many other occasions when I find my self alone my mind starts to wonder and my imagination or memory drifts off to thoughts of past experiences or I go to the plot or mystery in the novel that I am currently reading.
Fergus lifts his left leg and directs another wet message high up on the telephone pole.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and John Le Carre and for that matter all Mystery writers include characters involved in either leaving messages or deciphering messages to solve the Mystery at hand. Sherlock quest to solve the solution in many of his cases was to find solution that was hidden in British Rail Departure Schedule . Not an ordinary pamphlet but a Timetable of more than a Thousand pages.
Throughout history people have used many clever ways to send secret messages.
Every Black and White movie about Good Guys and Bad Guys and beautiful ladies in distress had secret messages left in clever hideaways
I remember one Film Scrip that had an Egyptian Pharaoh who wanted to send a note to his general. He shaved a man’s head and tattooed a message onto the man’s bald scalp. Keep in mind that it took the man 2 months to travel to Persia and by that time his hair grew back.. On his arrival in Persia, the general shaved the man’s head.. and the message was delivered. There are countless variations on how one conceals a message.
In his book “The Blind Banker Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has his secret message hidden in the form of a book cipher.Traditionally book ciphers work by replacing words in the plaintext of a message with the location of words from the book being used.
Now you might be asking what has this got to do with Fergus’s upset stomach.
Nothing, other than we Humans are not only ones to leave Messages.
Fergus leaves on average 47 messages every day for other dogs to read.
How do I know this?
Well my friend Rodney hangs around the Farmers Market on Saturday and spends his time drinking coffee and providing all that will listen countless tidbits of useless information on every possible subject .
It was he who advised me of the significance of Fergus’s Messages on Fire Hydrants . telephone poles, tree stumps and car wheels. When I told Rodney that Fergus stayed in a local kennel, when we travel these days he was disappointed for Fergus’s sake.
According to him Dogs needs to broaden their communications skills just like we Humans. By taking him on trips out of Province he gets to be acquainted .with other canine languages so to speak.
Fergus like all dogs loves to sniff. Using their nose is often the highlight of their walks, if not dominating their entire day. Dogs are born to sniff. The area of the canine brain that is devoted to analysing scent is 40 times greater than that of the human and dogs can identify smells at least 1,000 times better than we can!
Fergus can tell from sniffing a tree or lamppost when a dog has passed, who it was and what status they have – male/female, top dog or not.
When Fergus and other dogs sniff people they are gaining all sorts of information about us. They know if we are familiar or a stranger. They know which scents we have attracted while we’ve been away.
They know if we are experiencing changes in hormones, such as those that occur during pregnancy.
They may even know if we are experiencing illness or simply Just in a bad mood.
All dogs are ruled by their noses. The canine sense of smell is their primary sense and they gain more information using their noses that using any other sense. This is why dogs like to stop and smell the roses and everything else too.
When you are out walking your dog, your dog is experiencing a multi-scented world. The most interesting scents tend to be either the scents of other dogs or the scents of potential food sources.
Dogs leave their scents or Messages in their urine deposits that they leave on pavements, kerbs, trees and lampposts. By sniffing these, your dog is gaining information on who is in their neighbourhood; the gender of the dog, its reproductive status, general status in life and exactly when it passed by. So much information in this Pee-Mail!
We also now know that scent marking is another strategy dogs use to avoid conflicts with each other. By marking his territory with a yellow stream, a dog who wants others to stay away may get his wish.
Have you ever watched the effort a tiny dog will put forth to make his mark more substantial than any other’s? It can be dramatic. I’ve known many little dogs who have an almost acrobatic ability to stand on their front legs and adjust their rear ones to squirt as high as any Great Dane can.
They put the high-hitching leg-lifters to shame! These dogs are trying to “overmark” the scent of other dogs, and they won’t let short legs stop them. Don’t tell a little dog that he can’t do what a big dog does! He’ll work extra hard to prove you wrong every time.
Perhaps not surprisingly, dogs who are low on the pecking order sniff but don’t pee over another dog’s mark as often. It may be that those dogs are looking to identify a threat but aren’t interested in waving their urinary capes in front of the neighborhood bully.
Fergus has just found something in a bush and yes he started immediately to eat some samples. That didn’t stay down too long and fortunately that is not all that he brought up. Perhaps that was cure for his upset stomach.
He now has a skip to his jump and makes his way to telephone pole to
Send a New Message.