Thursday, December 04, 2008


Canine Psychology


Vikram Karve

My pet Doberman girl Sherry gives me a grand rousing welcome every time I return home. She waits for me at the compound gate, and the moment she sees me, Sherry goes berserk with sheer excitement, wagging her tail vigorously round and round, jumping up at me enthusiastically, making unique welcome yelps, nudging me with her mouth and nose, and when I, overcome by a flood of love, have caressed, patted and cuddled her, she runs round and round the compound in happy joyful exhilaration and ecstatic glee.

And then as I proceed towards the house, Sherry does something unique which I have never seen any other pet dog do – she brings me a “gift”.

Yes, she comes to me carrying in her mouth a welcome gift, and drops the gift at my feet.

And do you know what this welcome gift is?

Well, sometimes it is an old bone she digs out, or maybe an old soiled rag cloth or the pair of socks she had stealthily pinched from the drying stand and hidden, buried deep in the lawn, or one of her toy “babies”, or an old shoe, or maybe just some piece of muck she has dug up, or a twig, anything – but Sherry always welcomes me home with a gift.

She does this to my wife, kids, mother, friends, maid and others she knows well and though her welcome may not be as vigorously enthusiastic as she does for me, Sherry always brings them a “gift”. [For unwanted strangers Sherry has a ferocious, rather ominous bark, and, if unheeded, and they dare to enter our compound, maybe a vicious assault followed by a memorable bite – she is a superb guard dog].

Sherry’s “gifting nature” has me perplexed. As I said I have never seen any other pet dog bringing welcome gifts.

Sherry’s fantastic welcome overwhelms me with a delightful emotion of happiness, gratitude and love that I cannot describe in words, and I always look forward to returning home to Sherry [My wife and kids do sometimes welcome me home too, but certainly not as enthusiastically, and there is never the “welcome gift” at my daily homecoming after work].

Dear Reader, have you ever seen any dogs demonstrate their happiness and affection in this way?

Please can some dog lover or canine psychologist throw some light on this “gifting behaviour” – why does my darling pet Doberman girl Sherry express her love in such an inimitably endearing manner?


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