Benny Huckleberry here and as usual, I’m not wearing a watch. That’s right. We dogs don’t wear timepieces and yet always seem to know exactly what time it is. We know when it’s time to get up, when our special human will be coming home from work, and most important, what time we’ll get fed our dinner! Yup, as most dog people would agree, every day we seem to know the exact time of these activities. How do we do it, you may wonder? And further, how is it we don’t even consider daylight savings?

I don’t really know exactly why I can do this, even if this is how my human explained it to me the other day, “Benny, did you know that you have two kinds of memory? And that memory, along with your circadian rhythm or “body clock” enables you to know what time it is?”

I looked at her with a blank stare. What did this have to do with anything I care about? I’m most interested in long walks, snoozing on the bed, and eating cheese. But time? All I know is it is short for us dogs.

However, she continued, “Well Benny, it seems you dogs have two kinds of memories: associative and episodic. Your associative memory is when I get out your leash or rattle car keys. With both those things, you associate going for a walk, or on a car ride. So, you know it’s time to go through the association. The second kind of memory you have is episodic, which is a longer-term memory. This is more seen with dogs who have been traumatized. They can refer back in their memory to the place where the “episode” took place. Like the dog shelter or even the veterinarian’s office, so if that visit or any procedure was traumatizing, they will remember the time. I would also bet that you dogs have other memory types too, but the scientists haven’t discovered them yet. Like how you know what I’m thinking, just as I’m thinking it! It’s really pretty amazing at how smart you all are my dear Benny.” My human finished what she was saying and had a big smile on her face.

None of this was news to me, despite the fancy terms she used. I know darn well we canines are smart, just like I know when it’s time to go for a walk (her picking up the leash is a dead giveaway.) I also know that any time spent at the veterinarian’s office is never good. I remember the pinch of a vaccine needle or being poked or prodded by the vet in a totally impolite way. So whatever kind of memory it is, or time of day, really doesn’t matter. I already know when to eat, when to get up (usually when daylight breaks,) when I have to pee, and when I’m hungry. I like it this way since who wants to be a slave to some outside clock and one hour either way (daylight savings) when I have my own internal clock?

We dogs don’t live very long relative to you humans. I’m aware of this since I have heard many stories of the dogs that came before me. Sampson and Spanky were very important to my human, and I know she did everything she could to help them live for as long as possible. Further, I have experienced the loss of two kitty friends which was very hard. It must be that cats too, like dogs, don’t live as long as humans either. And because of this, I try not to focus on time and the passage of it. Instead, I simply focus on the things in life that I love. Those would be dinner time, long walks with my human, my animal siblings, and a soft caress and ear rub. That’s all that matters to me frankly, and whether it is 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. or whenever, is irrelevant.

Sending my love to you always and anytime you may need it,

Benny H.

Benny H. is an 8-year-old mixed-breed dog who enjoys writing, meeting new people, and providing companionship to his loving adopter, Liz Hoffmann. They live in Connecticut. Liz has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and opening her heart to shelter animals.

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