We’ve all heard stories of lost dogs traveling thousands of miles across the country to find their owner. It’s uncanny how a dog can reunite with its owners over such long distances. It has to be some kind of cosmic force that links dog and human.
In this video, a very special dog knew something was wrong when its owner got sick and needed to get to a hospital. Let’s explore the science behind how this dog tracked down its owner.
When you’re note feeling well, you want to be cared for and loved by those that are close to you. A dog companion is one of the strongest forms of care that anyone recovering can wish for. One dog in Cedar Rapids, Iowa knew that its owner needed that special care and somehow tracked her down inside a hospital.
It’s the type of story that movies are made of.
Time magazine published an article on the subject of dogs and cats traveling distances to find their owners. They address the science behind the phenomena. This is an area of understanding that is still in its infancy.
When it comes to researching and understanding there are plenty of grey areas. Time has collected some of the more interesting research.
As we can all pretty well agree, a dog has a keen sense of smell. It’s not terribly ignorant to say that a dog’s nose is the key to tracking across distances.
“An eleven-mile distance is actually not terribly long for a dog,” says Bonnie Beaver, the executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University. “If the dog had walked both from and back to his home he’d be following his own scent trail.”
You might be surprised to know how dogs can use overlapping circles of smells, which they link together to find their final target.
“Dogs extend their scent range by moving among overlapping circles of familiar scents—much the way cell phone coverage relies on interconnected footprints from different cell towers.”
Is it possible that dogs can feel and work with magnetic fields?
“There are some studies that show that the ears of most mammals contain iron,” Beaver says. “That may cue them into the magnetic direction in the ground. There’s work showing that cattle, deer and voles tend to orient in a north-south direction.”
Many animals have a sense of North and South. One study showed how baby sea turtles swam according to the magnetic poles.
When magnetic generators changed the orientation of north and south, that also changed the direction the sea turtles swam.
The dog in this video, traveled fifteen blocks to find its owner. Several eyewitnesses piece together the account of a loyal dog’s trip. It’s a heartwarming story.
The dog’s name is Sissy, and her owner was surprised when she learned her dog was roaming around the lobby.
We can’t follow the science if we don’t address confirmation bias. Our minds tend to line up any new information with one’s prior beliefs or values.
The sad news when it comes to pets finding their owners over thousand of miles is that the stories might be affected by this bias.
For all the stories about dogs that find their owners, there are thousands more who remain lost. And sometimes there’s no way to identify if the dog or cat is the actual pet without a microchip to make sure. Some of these stories involve pets that took months or years to reunite, which can add a level of uncertainty.
YouTubers are sharing some of their personal experiences…
“My cat did this… It ran 5 miles to get to the hospital when I broke my leg… It was a good surprise, and it stayed until I could go…”
“I lost my brothers on a walk through town when I was 7, and I was wandering around for about half an hour and then our dog Bruce came running toward me and when we were walking he lead me down the street to our home.”
Sissy must have a super sense of smell, and a big-hearted love for her owner.
Watch the story of this incredibly faithful dog below!
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