Can dogs read a smile?

One of the first questions I’m asked about my Seeing Eye ® dog Dora is “Where does she sleep?” I guess they expect me to say that she sleeps with me, or that she sleeps at the foot of my bed. Nope. She doesn’t like to sleep with me. What’s more is that I don’t even know where she spends the night, but I think she has chosen the guest room as her own, but not on the bed.

Recently, when the weather cooled off, I took off the cotton quilt and put the downy white comforter on my bed, thinking to myself, “Now is the time she’ll decide to get on my bed of course. All summer long,, I have this cotton quilt that I can easily throw in the wash, and now that I have this down-filled white comforter that I don’t know how to wash, now is when she’ll decide to sleep with me”

Sure enough, the other night, as I sat on the end of my bed to put on my slippers, I felt something soft and warm at my back. I reached back, and there she was, looking guilty as could be. She lay stock still, waiting to see my reaction. I leaned back, so I was face to face with her and said in a very calm and non threatening voice, “What are you doing on my bed? Do you think this is your bed now?” I let a couple of seconds go by, and I could tell she didn’t know if she should jump off and pretend this never happened or if I was going to be cool with her being up there. After I let her sweat for a couple of seconds, I smiled at her without saying a word. and if you’ve ever doubted that a dog can’t read a smile, you should have seen this. Sshe gave me the tiniest of licks on the face and lay back with a sigh of relief. Then she reached her front paw out and clumsily touched my cheek.

“Whh,” she said. “That was a close one.”

Mary Hiland

Author of “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir”

Available at


3 thoughts on “Can dogs read a smile?

  1. Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    If there were a love button on WordPress I would press it for this post.
    If you enjoy dog stories, here’s one for you.
    Please do comment on the blogger’s site if you like this post.
    Please do also let her know if you should decide to share it some-place.
    Please do let her know that you saw it here on campbellsworld.

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