May 302009

How did people react when Joey got hit by the car?

I never was able to tell my parents the actual story of how I was hit.  So how did they find out the details?

Here you see the main 4-lane road on the right and the carriage path on the left where people jog and dogs are walked.  People also jog and dogs are also walked in the center green park that stretches for miles and miles.  It was in this green island that I found the other dogs and into the street on the right where I ran and was hit.

Here you see the main 4-lane road on the right and the carriage path on the left where people jog and dogs are walked. People also jog and dogs are also walked in the center green park that stretches for miles and miles. It was in this green island that I found the other dogs and into the street on the right where I ran and was hit.

Humans like to talk so, naturally, following my accident, there had been a lot of buzz in our neighborhood amongst dog owners and dog lovers that a dog had gotten hit by a car. Many of these people were shaken up.  They didn’t know if “the dog” had died or had survived.  Nobody put it together that I was the dog that had been hit. They said it was a brown dog (that would describe me), a large brown dog (that would definitely describe me), but when my favorite mail carrier suggested that it was me, Joey, the chocolate Labrador Retriever, people said “No, No, it wasn’t a Lab”.

Within a few days of my returning home, when my parents  started taking me for walks up and down the block and people saw my wounds and my bandages, they starting putting two and two together that it was me who had been run over.  People who my parents talked to said that there had been witnesses to the accident.  Our mail carrier knew  one of the witnesses and told us where this person lived. One day my parents went over to this person’s house.

She had been the person who reached out to grab me to keep me away from the other dogs who I wanted to play with. She had heard my scream and had been haunted by it for days; she had been thinking about me and hearing my scream in her mind over and over for days. Because I ran off, nobody knew whether I had survived; she and several others feared that I had not.

When my parents talked to her, to her great relief, they told her that I had survived.

However, they didn’t tell her that I had survived to write about it!

approaching a dog, part 2.


Is it ever okay to approach a dog that we do not know? What is a dog’s instinctive response when we approach him? How can we protect a dog that we see is playing near traffic?

A few days ago Jane was talking to a young man named Steve who asked that question, “How did he get hit by a car?”  When Steve was younger, he too had seen a dog off-leash and near traffic and, worried that the dog might get hit by a car, had walked toward that dog to try to grab her by her collar to bring her home. That dog too, like me, had run in exactly the opposite direction from the approaching person and had run, just like me, into the street.  That’s what we dogs generally do.

a dog

I was luckier than that dog. That dog died.  And for years after that, Steve felt badly.  Even as he was telling my Mom about it, his voice trailed off as he seemed to contemplate the scene, saying, ‘I felt badly about it.”

But one thing is for sure: We dogs don’t like it when people whom we do not know approach us, especially if they approach us suddenly and if our owner is not there to tell us that this person is “okay”. This is the case even if the person approaches us in order protect us, as happened in my situation and in Steve’s situation.  Our dog instinct is to run away from this person which, sadly and unfortunately, may mean that we run right into exactly what the person is trying to protect us from: in this case, into the traffic. We dogs perceive the person – though a good person with good intentions – as a threat, and ignore the danger of the traffic.

Steve said that the best thing to do if a person sees an off-leash dog that is about to run into traffic is to stand still and firmly say “Come” to the dog, and it’s even better if you can get a bone or some treat to entice us to come to you.  Also, everybody else should move away from the off-leash dog, further away from traffic.  Nobody’s asking me, but I’d say that Steve has it right. Especially the part about offering us a treat.

So I guess the answer to the question is: Don’t approach a dog that you don’t know if the dog’s owner is not there with the dog –  even if you are trying to help the dog.

 Posted by at 7:04 pm
May 182009

Can you tell what a dog is thinking by reading his ears?  Learn to read your dog’s ears. This is especially important if your dog is sick or injured.

These days I’m pretty relaxed.   I’m feeling better, the sun is shining, and the children in the neighborhood still want to come and visit me.


They like to come and say “Hi, Joey” and they like to come give me a pet.

Because I’m still injured and Jane doesn’t want me to get too excited, I will sit down and then Jane will allow the children to come over to pet me, one at a time.

It’s important for the children to understand when I’m relaxed and when I’m nervous.  How can children know how a dog wants to play?  I can’t tell them with words, but there is one easy way for them to know how I am feeling: They can look at my ears! They can read my ears.

My ears are very important for a lot of reasons.

Of course, I use them to listen.

I also use them when I am trying to smell something!  Since my ears are large and floppy, I can use them when I’m trying to smell the scents of dogs, and food, to cup the odors.

Here's a photo of a dog's ears when the dog is being attentive. Here, I am looking in the direction of the dog that lives next door to us, a black Labrador Retriever.My ears are also an indicator of my mood.  You can tell when I am relaxed, when I am excited, or when I am nervous or afraid. When children want to pet me, they need to make sure that I am relaxed, and not nervous or afraid.

Here are so photos of my ears. Can you read them?

using my ears as a cup when I'm following a scent

Can you tell which is the best time to come pet me, and which is the best time to leave me alone and let me be by myself?

May 152009

Does your dog like to eat a lot? Does your dog eat too much? Does your dog not eat enough? What is a good weight for your dog, and how can you help maintain a healthy weight? The eyes are used as a form of communication between dogs. What does eye contact signal for dogs? What does it mean when a dog looks away from you?

stare down



May 142009

What are the best places to pet your dog? What are the best places and ways to pet a dog that you do not know?  How can you tell when your pet is feeling comfortable and relaxed and wants company, and when he is feeling anxious and aggressive and wants you to stay away? Why is it so important for an animal to have lots of rest when he is injured?

With each new day, my leg is healing more and more. I have more and more energy, but I still need a lot of rest.  I spend a lot of the day sleeping, which is important, because my bones and ligaments need to heal.  My belly is mostly healed, though I have some scars there, and on my legs, and my fur and hair are starting to grow back.  The doctor is also watching one of my top front teeth because she is concerned that it might need to be extracted some day.  I don’t think about that.

under my jowelsI also need a lot of attention!  I go up to my parents a lot and, silently, request that they pet me.  When I go up to them and sit down right in front of them and stare at them, unless they’re eating potato chips or some food that I am interested in, they understand that what I want is attention. They understand that I want them to pet me. They understand that I am saying, “Oh, pet me, please!”

I have some special places where I like being patted and pet.

One place is right under my jowels.neck

I like to be pet also on my neck. It’s much easier to pet me here when I am sitting up.

Another place is right behind my ears.behind my ears

Jane likes to pet me gently on the top of my head. This is her special place.  Most people don’t pet me on the top of my head but I’ve known her for a long time and so I allow her to do that.

In all of these photographs, I’m feeling very comfortable and relaxed.

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