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What Our Scent and Voice Mean to Our Pets

By Linda Cole

I saw a news story the other day about a little dog named Mango that had gotten onto a multi-lane highway. Traffic was at a standstill as Mango's dad tried in vain to capture the terrified dog. Mango raced around evading capture and finally ran off into a neighborhood. Animal control arrived to help, and the poor dog was at her wits’ end as strangers closed in on her. Finally, Mango's mom arrived and called to her, and the frightened dog raced into her arms. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how confused and scared Mango was. Pets love the sound of our voice, and our scent is the best perfume in the world to them. Our scent can even help lead a lost dog or cat home.

Why do pets steal our stuff? Because our smell is all over everything we touch. They love to snuggle in our beds and clothes. My dog Riley's favorite place to be while I'm working is on a footstool under my desk. I have a pillow on it for my comfort, but she loves to lay on it and rest her head on my leg. I love it just as much as she does; I know she's doing it because she likes to be next to me and she can snuggle next to my scent which makes her feel safe.

Our voice is a sweet melody to our pets. Their entire body language changes when we talk to them. My cat Jabbers will roll over on his back and stick his front paws in the air as he listens to me. His eyes are fixed on me. Then he sits up and talks to me. Some of my other cats will join in to see what's going on. The dogs gather around me with their tails wagging furiously when I talk to them. Some days I feel like I'm a rock star with adoring fans. But then, in our pet’s eyes we are rock stars!

My Siberian Husky Cheyenne was an escape artist. She found ways out of the dog pen or raced past visitors at the front door. She learned how to quickly slip out of her collar on walks. I had to watch her like a hawk. If she got away despite my best efforts, she'd be gone for about an hour before I'd see her slowly making her way out of the woods nearby. When she was running away, my calls fell on deaf ears but coming back, she was worn out from her run. As soon as she heard my voice, her beautiful blue eyes would light up and she'd walk over to me with the most innocent look.

Cheyenne always headed to one end of the woods and came out on the other end. She teased me and ran just far enough ahead that I couldn't catch her. Once she disappeared in the trees I lost sight of her, but I discovered she was following my scent back home. My other Husky Jake raced out of the pen gate one night when it had gotten open somehow. I'm on the edge of town and he ran straight out of town. I trailed a small blanket behind me as I searched for him. On the fourth night, right after sunset, I was sure I heard his howls in the distance. I called out as loud as I could and continued walking on the edge of town until the coyotes began to howl. A couple of hours later, I heard a noise in my front yard and there was Jake waiting for me to open the door. I’m convinced it was the scent trail and my voice that helped lead him back home.

The strong bond we share with our pets is the glue that cements our relationship with them and as far as the pet is concerned, they will never break their bond with us. I've had too many experiences over the years with my pets that have taught me that our pet’s love for us is genuine. The sound of our voice and our scent makes them feel safe and comfortable. Mango was saved when she heard her mom's voice, and as soon as she was snuggled in her arms, the dog knew she was back with the one she loved. That's how powerful our scent and our voice are to our pets.

Photo by rapettif

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