During a recent giorno tempestoso (tem-pes-toe-so) stormy day, when Darla and I were bored because we could not go outside, mamma put on un programma (oon pro-gram-ah) a program for us to watch about animals and we learned about the many purposes of dogs. Did you know that some dogs actually work? They are trained to do all sorts of jobs.
For centuries people have trained and used dogs to herd animals. In the Arctic circle Finnish Lapphunds were used to herd reindeer. I pastori (e pas-tor-ee) sheperds and gli agricoltori (ye ah-gree-cole-tor-ee) farmers in Great Britain bred and trained border collies to herd animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, and chickens. These dogs don’t just follow behind a group of animals but will move on the side and along the front of the animals to control la direzione (la deer-rez-e-oh-nay) the direction of where they need to go. These dogs are extremely intelligent and sono molto atletici (so-no mol-toe at-let-e-chee) athletic and if they are not “working” you might ﬁ nd they will try to herd other dogs, cats, or people. My sister Darla is a border collie, and I can tell you she is very intelligent! Mamma has trained her to use a bell near the back door to let her know when she has to go out. I am still learning.
Since dogs’ noses are super sensitive to odori (oh-door-e) smells, they can be trained to “sniff” out many things. They are often used to search for people in natural disasters or those who are lost, or they can be used to search for dangerous objects.
Services dogs are trained to help their humans in many ways. Some are trained as seeing-eye dogs to help guide their owners as they move around, and others can help their owners if they have trouble walking. Some people have medical problems, and their dogs are trained to sense when they need help. They can identify a change in the persons “odor” if they are about to faint or have a seizure. Others help to calm people with anxiety. Dogs can even bring medicine or other items needed to their humans! We still have more unique and interesting jobs that dogs perform and we will share more in next month’s story.