Kavi on Cliff
On of our livestock guardian dogs Kavi had gotten a stomach bug or something. Maybe he ate somebody he didn’t agree with. In any case he threw up a little bit of bark and bile Friday evening. Saturday morning I offered him yogurt and he said no. I offered cooked liver and broth. He said no. I offered a piece of cooked heart.
He got up, moved a bit further away, pointed at the piece of delicious heart and slowly but clearly signed† to me just once:
He made a gagging sound “Ka!” while holding his jaws open and wiggling his tongue at me.
After this rather long speech for Kavi, he’s normally the strong silent type, he looked me in the eye and then went to lie down again a bit further away.
“Okay, Kavi.” I said, “I get it. The smell of the meat is making you want to gag, you don’t feel well and you would like to be left alone.”
The gagging sound, jaw motion and tongue bit was not one of the signs in our common language but it was clear what he was saying. Sometimes we just have to improvise when we communicate. It was a good facial imitation of gagging although it had none of the abdominal clenching of real retching – he was just miming to get across the concept. Marceau would have been proud.
When a dog tells you that a smell, especially the smell of good meat, makes him want to gag that’s a pretty strong statement given the things I’ve sometimes seen them eat. They’ve got cast iron constitutions as well as stomachs that can digest bones, teeth and, er, fermented meat they’ve buried for a few days, or longer.
On Sunday he was doing better than the night before so I think he’s on the road to recovery. He’s drinking some water, eating a little yogurt and considered options when I asked him if he wanted some chicken broth or pork broth. He ended up saying “No” “Thank you”. For a while he was just giving me the eye when I asked how he felt. At least now he’s talking about it.
Update 20140210: This morning Kavi felt much better and is definitely recovering.
Makes Me Want to Gag
Katya the Creative Curser
Porcupines & Stock Car Racing
Speaker for the Dogs
Outdoors: 18°F/4°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F
Daily Spark: I went to the doctor and she told me I had the body of a 20 year old. Unfortunately she was a vet and she thought I was a dog.
†We use a variant of ASL and herding signs with our dogs and each other to communicate about things without spoken language. This lets us and the dogs say things that are otherwise difficult to communicate in our respective languages.