Dr. Aaron Moe
November 18, 2015
After talking about animal greetings, I took some time to reflect upon the way that I have tried to greet animals in the past. In class, we discussed the concept of “the bow,” which, to dogs, is an invitation to play. “The bow” is done by a person kneeling on the ground and extending their arms while still keeping their hands on the ground. The person then proceeds to rock back and forth. When this action is done toward a dog, the dog will likely respond by trying to play with the person, usually by play biting.
As a child, I would often interact with my dog by doing “the bow,” even though I was not aware that this action actually had meaning to the dog. I would always want to play with my dog when I was bored because I was an only child and did not have any other siblings to spend time with. Once I figured out that getting on my hands and knees would make my dog want to play with me too, I began to initiate play by doing “the bow.” Not only did I realize that it made my dog want to interact and play with me, but I also noticed that the action excited him and made play more enjoyable for him.
Talking about “the bow” in class made me more aware of the way that animals try to initiate greetings between each other and other species. Walking around campus, I was able to see how squirrels would interact with one another. I also noticed they acted differently when a person is walking nearby. The squirrels are clearly aware of the person’s presence. Many times when I walk by them, they would begin to scamper toward me, then stare at me before sticking their nose in the air, as if they were identifying my scent from a distance. Sometimes, they would come closer, and sometimes, they would walk farther away. This intrigued me by making me question if this was somewhat of a greeting from the squirrel, and occasionally, I wondered how I should respond, if I were to respond.
Throughout the remainder of the course, I hope to interact with many more species of animals. When I come into contact with other animals, I hope to observe the greeting rituals that they initiate, and after some experience, I hope to learn the proper way to respond to that particular species. At the humane society, I will interact with dogs and cats, as well as other animals, and I plan to try “the bow” again, now that I have a better understanding of what the action means to the dogs. Observing and understanding these actions will certainly help to enrich my experiential learning for the rest of the semester, as well as my experiences with other species throughout the rest of my life.
While reading When Species Meet by Donna Haraway, I began to think about a popular video game from my childhood called Nintendogs, a game for the Nintendo DS system. When the game came out, I did not have a Nintendo DS, but many of my friends did, and they were all eager to buy the game. Although there were multiple versions, the basic...