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Unbelievable: Things You Can Learn From My Pet

Nury Vittachi tilts his head and wonders if dogs have all the answers.

Unbelievable: Things You Can Learn From My Pet
Illustration: Andrew Joyner

My dog spends hours visualising her dinner, licking her lips in anticipation of it and walking in and out of the kitchen to catch the precise moment when it is served. And then she inhales it in ONE NANOSECOND. Slurrrp! Gone.

“At least savour the thing!” I shout, but she pretends not to understand English. Besides, she follows dog logic, which isn’t human logic. For example, here’s how dogs deal with problems: 1) Face whatever it is. 2) Slowly tilt your head and look at it from a 45° angle. 3) If it still remains puzzling, you go off to the kitchen to see if any food has magically materialised in your dog bowl.

The dog and I communicate well now that I’ve learned dog logic. For example, when she scratches at my door, she is giving me a message: “Let me in, so I can go back out again.” The gap between wanting to come in and wanting to go out can be as little as ten seconds, and she sometimes stops half way in or out for a head-tilt.

“My human spent five minutes looking for that stick. And now he’s thrown it away. See what I have to put up with?”

Top five pieces of dog logic: 1) When someone passes within 20m of our door: “Everybody in the outside world wants to kill us! Get ready for attack!” 2) When visitors enter our home: “Please line up for security inspection. This will involve the temporary insertion of my snout into your nether regions.”

3) When I take her out for walkies: “Every day I find a beautiful new spot to add to my list of sacred territories. And now I will urinate all over it.” 4) When it’s time to clean the house: “I fear nothing. I will give my life to protect this household from danger of any shape or size. What’s that sound? A vacuum cleaner! RUN!” 5) When you buy a different brand of pet food: “I am an extremely discriminating diner and will eat only the finest haute cuisine. Oh, look! One of my old poops! Yum.”

But there is one oddity about my dog. When I try to play “fetch”, she won’t co-operate. She just looks at the other dogs as if to say: “My human spent five minutes looking for that stick. And now he’s thrown it away. See what I have to put up with?”

But dogs are nice. If I have an accident, she rushes to my aid. “You just fell off a ladder! Will a face-licking help?”

Yet, be warned. You will never have any privacy again, thanks to the most annoying bit of dog logic of all: “Hmm, the children are out and Mum and Dad have gone to the bedroom. There’s nothing they’ll like better than for me to add to the fun by jumping on the bed and barking!”

I have to stop here now. I did look earlier, but I want to check again just in case anything new has materialised in the fridge.

Not that I am picking up bad habits or anything.

Nury Vittachi is a Hong Kong-based author. Read his blog at

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