Random Happenings

Random notes and pics about events in the life of a not-your-typical Computer Science grad student. (Yes I am a nerd, but I don't live and breathe the SciFi channel, well maybe Stargate SG-1...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The dog whisperer

My husband's new nickname is "The Dog Whisper." Last night was just like an episode out of a similarly named show on National Geographic or a scene out of The Horse Whisperer.

Every few months, it's time to pest control the inside and outside of the house. I did the outside and Nathan did the inside yesterday. The chemicals can be a tad intoxicating, so we crank up the fans to hurry the smell along.

This whole process really bothers Audrey who paces around the house whining occasionally. She is a notoriously quiet dog --- unless a squirrel happens to be running through our yard --- so we could tell she was really upset. We had always assumed that she was really upset about the chemical smell. It makes sense, she's a dog.

Last night, though, she just couldn't get comfortable. We tried distracting her with a bone, but she didn't care to even lick it. It was then that Nathan got inspired. He said, "I wonder if it is the ceiling fan cranked up on high that is bothering her..." It was astounding. As soon as we put the fan back down to medium (the usual setting), she was absolutely fine!

It turns out that he remembered something he read in a really interesting book on animals and autism called "Animals in Translation". In the book, the author discusses how things most normal human beings don't notice can really bother animals and people with autism. For example, all fluorescent bulbs flicker, but most people don't notice or can't even see it. It is glaringly obvious and distracting for many autistic people. In this case, for Audrey, it was the ceiling fan. The fan in our bedroom is on medium all the time. (That way she gets air circulation in her crate while we are away at work.) Because the fan was on high, it was really bothering her. Turning it down fixed the problem immediately.

Even though he got the idea from a book, I still call him "The Dog Whisperer" because I read the book too and I didn't remember the answer.


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