Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dogs can tell time

Seriously. They can. I've seen many different examples, with different dogs. For one, Judi's beagles find her at 5:30 every evening, no matter where she is, to remind her that it's dinner time and they want their kibbles. She will see them standing together and staring up at her, and even before she looks at the clock she knows it's 5:30.

My beagle Andrea always knows when it's 5:00 am -- time for me to get out of bed to get ready for work! If my alarm doesn't go off for any reason (sometimes I forget to set it), she'll start pawing me at 5:01. I don't know how she knows it's time, but she does. And she paws me with her crippled leg, which, since she can't walk with it, always has long and sharp toenails. "Get up, get up," she says as she paws frantically. "You have to go to work and make money to pay for our house and our food, or we'll be out in the street." Andrea has experienced life as a street beagle (before she found me), and she's always anxious about having a house with heat and air conditioning and a roof to keep out the rain.

Andrea can time as well as I can (better, I guess, since she doesn't need a watch), but she's not so good with days of the week. "Andrea," I sometimes say, "it's Saturday. I don't go to work today. Leave me alone. I want to sleep." Eventually she'll give up and go back to sleep herself. But if she's not so hot with Saturday, she has Sunday nailed. She never paws me on Sunday. She seems to know that the day after the day when we sleep in, is another sleep in day. And then on Monday she's back on duty at 5:01, pawing away.

But the thing that really throws Andrea for a loop is the twice a year when we change our clocks. Especially in the Autumn, when we turn the clocks back. In the Spring she will just raise her head and look at me and say, "What are you doing up so early?", but in the Autumn it never fails that she will start pawing at 4:01 am.

"Andrea," I will say, "it's only four o'clock. I have another hour to sleep."

"No! No!", Andrea will say, pawing away, "It's not! It's five! It's five! Time to get up! Don't be late for work!"

"No, Andrea, it really is four. Everyone set their clocks back an hour this weekend."

"Say what?"

"We set our clocks back an hour. Twice a year we change our clocks by an hour."

"Are you pulling one of my legs? Why?"

"Ummm.... Good question. I think I once knew the answer, but now I've forgotten."

"It makes," Andrea will say, "no sense."

You know, there are times when I agree with her. And one of those times is in the Spring when we set the clocks forward. I have a really hard time getting my own internal clock to adjust to getting up an hour earlier. A really hard time. It's been, what, four weeks? And I still haven't adjusted.


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