Boudica Talk

Day 181 of 365

Boudica is an exceptional dog. As a Great Pyrenees, she already has a mind that fascinates me. They are bred to think for themselves, and they have to be critical thinkers. They have the ability to care for flocks of sheep and other animals completely on their own, which is just amazing to me. I definitely could not care for a flock by myself.

Last week, we took little Bairre to our son’s orchestra rehearsal because he’s just too little to be alone. We kept him outside, of course, and while Ron was walking him around the parking lot, I heard Ron having a conversation with another dog person.

She had lots of questions about Bairre but knew he was a Great Pyrenees. She also knew quite a bit about the breed, and I heard them talk for a while. “They’re critical thinkers,” I heard her say, and my ears perked up. She knew Great Pyrenees.

But I am convinced Boudica has an extra unusual capacity for language and thinks on a level that is higher end for her breed–not that I lived with very many Pyrenees, but I read a lot and follow other people’s stories in Great Pyrenees forums. I also read the research about scientists finding that some dogs were able to use buttons with recordings to communicate with people. Not all dogs in the study could do it, but some could. I feel certain Boudica would be able to use those buttons.

She understands so much that it confuses me some–at least it used to. One time, I was telling a story about her while talking on the phone with my aunt. My tone was very positive because I thought the story was adorable, but it was embarrassing to Boudica. For real, she walked by with her head down, in her ashamed mode. I was like, “Boudica, oh no, sweetie, don’t be ashamed.” And then I was like, “hey, how did you know what I was saying?”

These kinds of things happen so often that I have come to understand that Boudica just understands. I am not sure if Boudica is understanding the words or reading my mind, but I would love to know. All I know is that she knows.

Last night, I had a great language experience with her, and it made me wish a scientist could come observe her. She was sitting on the couch with Ron on one side and our son on the other. She was so happy to be there, but there were no other chairs in the room. I had to ask her if I could please have that spot. I asked, and she was like “Um, I don’t hear anything.” She ignored me for a good bit, and I was trying to figure out if I was just going to sit on the floor, but my back has been hurting. So I decided to try to reason with her.

I just explained the situation. I told her that I was an older human and that older humans need to sit on things to be comfortable. I made the case that she would likely be about as comfortable on the rug. “Not as comfortable,” I admitted, “but probably pretty close.”

Boudica looked me right in the face with a look of understanding and got up, so I could sit down.

It could be a coincidence, of course, but her history with me makes me think she got up in response to me. I think it’s that she understands a lot of language. When I speak unusual words, I will notice her paying extra attention. Is that possible? Is it possible she’s just connecting with me and understanding my thoughts? Temple Grandin says that animals communicate in pictures. When I talk, I tend to also imagine what I am saying in pictures. Does that help her read me?

Lots of questions tonight, I guess. But one thing is for sure: Boudica is an exceptional dog. Well, she’s really an exceptional being.

2 thoughts on “Boudica Talk

  1. Wow…. Boudicca is awesome! I know pets understand language because I have one that absolutely does!! All dogs, I’m sure, are smart in their own way.
    Of course not all have human language skills but maybe some can hunt out a chipmunk or heard cattle. But Papillons …. and apparently Great Pyrenees …. understand AND respond to language.
    Like you, if I am on the phone and I mention one of Pascali favorite people, he is at the window looking for the visitor. If he is in the kitchen and I say “Pascal there is a dog on TV” he will run full speed to the TV and stare at the show…. bird shows are just as thrilling as my husband photographs birds. 🤣
    Pascal is fascinated by most other animals. He is an amazing dog. I could go on…. but I won’t…. at least not today. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

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