Today at sunrise, I navigate to the same desert space that worked so well for us yesterday.
With enjoyable memories fresh from their previous day’s adventure, Bernie and Chris burst from the car, chasing each other and darting through scrub brush.
Busy taking pictures of the glorious sunrise, I give a quick glance spotting Bernie’s white coat about fifty feet away. Chris, still in sight and quickly heading east, is soon lost among the undergrowth.
I know the approximate area where he might go. Heading in his general direction, I’m veering southeast as Bernie patrols twenty feet ahead. Suddenly, Bernie stops. He abruptly swings his body directly east and gallops off in pursuit.
I didn’t hear a sound, yet he alerts and rushes off? Immediately twisting to the east, I seek anything unusual. I only capture serene silence.
Remaining calm, I recall Chris heading east. Accepting the bond between both dogs, could Bernie be telepathically responding to Chris? Using trek poles, pushing my limited pace, I pick my way over small stones and sweep clear the low brush. Within a minute I spot Bernie. Recognizing his bent eating posture, I slow my hurried gait. There is no possible way Bernie catches a rabbit.
Whatever he is eating, when I call him, he stops and returns to me. I guess he finished. Bernie doesn’t stop eating because I call him. Whatever he ate, I hope it doesn’t make him sick.
We don’t visit garbage dumps thus those few times he discovers free food; it doesn’t adversely affect him. Last week he found and devoured a rabbit caucus without suffering.
While petting Bernie as a reward for returning, I realize that he wasn’t running to Chris. What attracted Bernie’s attention?
Is it the smell of whatever Bernie is eating?
The sensitivity of a dog’s nose is from ten to one hundred or even one thousand more responsive than humans. “Dogs read about the world through their noses, and they write their messages, at least to other dogs, in their urine.”
Bernie is famous where we live in Sunflower RV Resort, and at a nursing facility, we visit. A neighbor lost his hearing aid in his yard. I took Bernie to the area and had him smell the remaining hearing aid. Within a minute, Bernie located the two-thousand-dollar hearing aid for a very grateful neighbor.
In another situation, for more than a week, the nursing facility staff tries locating a foul smell that infuses the entire ground floor. Within thirty seconds Bernie found a rotten fish sandwich in a wastebasket stuck under a desk. The staff and residents were grateful.
In the desert today, did Bernie’s nose alert him?
A dogs’ extraordinary nose can assist and save lives. “According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a Service Animal is any dog which is specifically trained to perform tasks for a disabled individual that they would otherwise have difficulty completing on their own.”
Although there are many types of Service Dogs, some common specialties are Diabetic Alert Dogs, Severe Allergy Alert Dogs, Medical Alert Dogs, Seizure Assistance Dogs, Bomb and Drug Alert dogs and Disaster Relief and Recovery Dogs.
We are in the area where I expect to find Chris. With Bernie beside me, I blow the whistle and double-tap the remote device. I fully expect Chris to appear.
During the next two minutes, I twice repeat the recall command. With still no response, disappointedly I begin the quarter-mile trudge west to the car.
Within several yards, while blowing the whistle, I excitedly spot Chris running toward me from the direction of the car. Thankful, I relax, confident he always returns. I muse as I was heading east, catching up to Bernie, Chris, was heading west, seeking me. We passed each other, probably a within a few hundred yards.
Approaching the car, I spot six hot air balloons ascending into the popcorn sky. This event often happens during early August mornings,
Located adjacent to Interstate 17 and Arizona Route 74, the hot air balloon site lies about ten miles from us.
With my cell phone camera, this is the clearest image I can achieve. (original photo)
As the hot air folks enjoy their lofty view, we exit the desert for our breakfast.