Koko”s dog, Rikki Power, mortified by mulch episode

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Photographer: Penny Patterson

Source: 060811_S3_IMG_0927_rikki.JPG

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For those of you who think that Great Apes are the only animals who have a deep emotional life, consider this:

One of our gorilla watch dogs, Rikki Power, a 1.5 year-old Australian Kelpie / German Shepherd puppy dog mix, got herself stuck in a mulch patch a little after sunset. This particular mulch patch is about 10 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a relatively open wire mesh, which Rikki was able to force through, but not back out. So, she barked – but only once, in a manner that caught our attention.

After hearing this familiar “trapped dog” bark, we called her name over and over with no response. We finally found her, with the help of a flashlight, in the middle of the mulch patch looking awfully silly. Why did she stop barking and not respond to any of our calls. Could she have possibly been – embarassed? She looked it, but we think it would be more appropriate for someone from a “Dog Foundation” to investigate this interesting behavioral hypothesis.