Wednesday, December 19, 2007

instinct or brilliance?

It was warm enough today to actually stay outside for more than 60 seconds. When I got home from school, I brought Oreo's ball outside and started throwing it for him out in the snow. I have a large area of the yard shoveled, to make it easier for the dogs to get around.

Now, I have never been good at any sport involving throwing, catching, or hitting balls. In gym class, I would always set myself as far away from any flying objects as possible. Even then, I almost always ended up getting hit by the ball while trying to avoid having to catch it.

Today, I tried to keep Oreo's ball in the shoveled part of the yard, but of course some throws went astray into the thick snow. When that happened, Oreo would run for the ball, hit the big snow bank, and then look at me, as if to say, "Do I really want the ball bad enough to plow through this snow bank?" Then, I saw him do something amazing (at least to me, being the proud mother).

Instead of jumping into the snow, Oreo would get his belly on top of the snow bank, and then crawl across the top of the snow. He is light enough, that with his body weight evenly dispersed, he didn't sink into the snow at all. Now, as far as I know, Oreo has never taken a physics course. How did he know to use his whole body to scoot across the top of the snow? Other, dumber, dogs (and most people) would simply jump through the snow. My dog found a better way. Is it instinct, or brilliance?

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