Losing focus
By Raymond Douglas and Dog(s)

Started on: 04/22/13 11:36:43
Medium: Visual

Yesterday I was with Panda once more. Instead of trying to communicate and explore the depths of her mind a second time I took us on a walk. Firstly, however, it must be noted that despite her aforementioned obesity, Panda loves to exercise by the way of being walked around her neighborhood. Usually, her older (yet much smaller) brother Shakespeare comes along for the journey, but that little guy is getting older and his bones are becoming more and more fragile. So, this time it was just Panda and her favorite male companion, me. During this walk I had the intention of letting her lead the way completely and simply documenting where we ended up. However, as we left the houses and started to turn left (here I directed her to try and avoid the busy road to the right) Panda simply lied down and decided to rest. My initial plan of transferring control to her had one major flaw: Panda is forever lazy and will never be a leader. I tugged at her to continue our walk and we left our first idea behind.

As we forged our trail around the neighborhood, I started to document each of Panda’s full stops. For the remainder of this text a full stop is defined as: any interruption in quadrupedal motion to inspect and/or smell an interesting spot on any surface. At each full stop, I took photographs of Panda doing what a dog does best, sniffing. I would wait for her to finish and then we would continue on down the road. The photographs were for visual documentation of these locations, but also, given that I was using my iPhone, each photo was also appended with GPS coordinates that I could later overlay on a map in software. I took about 45 photos total and narrowed them down to each distinct full stop.

As you can see in the image below, full stops occurred often that deducing the route that we took through the neighborhood is any easy affair. What’s of interest, however, is that most of these locations have been visited many times by the walking dogs of the neighborhood. They act as “dead drops” of information that allow dogs to communicate without confrontation. This time Panda was just on the receiving end. At no point did she deposit her own information with her pee.

In the future, it might be of interest to map the full stops of other dogs in the neighbor to see how well they align with those of their canine companions.

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