Swift: Dogs May Show Notable Shape Shift (or Shep Shift) Powers
But hang out with a dog, and you’ll soon learn that his physical presence is deceptive. Although cats – with their sinuous movements and ability to squeeze into jars of olives – have a well-deserved reputation as shapeshiftersI have found that dogs have similar qualities.
In fact, I went so far as to invent a word for dogs that can make themselves bigger, smaller, leaner or bigger than they actually are i.e. they have full-fledged canine plasticity.
How else do you explain a 4 pound dog who can make himself heavier than a yacht anchor when he realizes you are taking him to cut his nails? Or the corgi who complains that you put their toy too high to reach, yet can magically reach the kitchen island and eat most of the plate of cold cuts? Not to mention the Great Dane who finds a way to fold nimbly into your Yorkie’s bed or the Chihuahua who keeps passers-by away by throwing himself against the privacy fence with such force that you swear an adult bullmastiff lives there.
Most of the time, especially at dinner time, dogs are solid. At other times, such as when trying to squeeze through a hole in the fence or a cracked gate, they sink like a liquid. And when they get into trouble, they magically turn into a colorless gas.
My dog Wally is a perfect illustration of this. He walks beautifully on a leash – unless he sees a squirrel. In seconds, it magically changes shape from 13 pounds to 3 pounds, until I stand there, holding an empty collar on the end of a leash.
He performs equally miraculous feats when he gets weighed at the vet. Although the scale platform is large enough to accommodate a Newfoundland, Wally’s atoms somehow disperse gravy-like so that his whole body doesn’t. is never on the scales at the same time. (Okay, I get this: If I could, I would perform a similar shape-shifting voodoo every time the nurse tries to weigh me in the doctor’s office.)
By measuring it for its Halloween Stegosaurus Costume (yes, I am one of the those people), I found it to be a stately 12 inches from paw to occiput and had a perfectly proportioned head. Yet when I try to put him in the aforementioned costume, he kind of made his once normal noggin grow to the size of a watermelon.
His most impressive canine plasticity occurs at night. When I lift him onto the bed, he’s a compact little guy who curls up and takes up a small corner of the bed. But as the night goes on it kind of expands. The next morning it became the size of a manatee and occupy 65 percent of prime real estate in the center of the bed, while I find myself clinging thin to the edge.
So what makes a dog’s physique so pliable? Is this Hound-ini magic? Relentless determination? Or maybe it’s just bodily dysmorphia: the Great Pyrenees think it is a Butterfly, so he still rides on your 4 year old daughter’s lap.
“I shrink, therefore I am.”
Tammy Swift can be contacted at [email protected]