A dog photo from April, not August.
Today’s lesson is inflation.
Katya, one of our dogs, knows many sign lanugage words. That in and of itself is not unusual, we use hand signs with our livestock guarding and herding dogs. But what is unusual is Katya signs back. She converses. She will even use multiple words, stringing them together to form simple sentences. I keep adding more words to her repertoire and she has even made up a few signs of her own, sometimes novel signs and sometimes combining others to mean new things like “small-puppy nose-pusher-in-dirt” to mean piglet.
Since Katya can communicate back and forth she ended up getting chores so she could earn things she wanted. One of her chores is picking up trash, socks, shoes, etc from the cottage floor. She does this with vigor and of her own instigation. At first, with each item she picked up I gave her a tiny reward, typically her choice of a small piece of meat or bread/cracker. Given a choice she would specify by signing what she wanted. Later she had to pickup more and more to get her treats. Scalloping. I was producing a work-aholic.
This game is done by her own volition – I don’t have to start her going or encourage her. She knows the value of hard work. In fact, when the cottage is too clean she gets frustrated because she can’t find anything to pickup so she can get treats. Then she comes and tells me all about it. Maybe teaching her how to talk wasn’t such a good idea after all!
Katya’s much younger brother Remus, who I showed a while back working the piglets, noticed how Katya got her treats so he started picking up trash-for-treats. This creates a bit of competition between the two of them. He’s been doing this for months. Today he got a bright idea. He took a piece of pink foam and broke it up into three pieces and set them down in a pile. Rather than bringing me the whole thing at once he brought me each piece of foam to get a treat. He’s raised the price of trash! Now I’m paying more for picking up. Next thing I know they’ll unionize!
Outdoors: 75°F/54°F Sunny, Hazy, Spot of Rain
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/64°F
Daily Spark: I’ve worked My way all the way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty. – Groucho Marx
PS. As I finished writing this down at the butcher shop work site Remus brought me a steel hex nut and a piece of PVC pipe down on the job site. He’s not just a pig-dog, he’s a construction site janitor too. He’s doing second shift!