Friday, April 18, 2008
A Dog Senses Danger
My son called me on his way to work this morning. “Did you hear about the earthquake?” he asked.
I had and was going to E-mail him later to ask if they had felt the quake in the west suburbs of Chicago.
My daughter-in-law had been awakened by a shaking house and had tried to convince my skeptical son that she wasn’t imagining things. Only after checking the morning’s news did he realize she was right.
Now, unlike the west coast, you don’t really hear too much about earthquakes in the Midwest, but according to the U.S.Geological Survey, "this region has more earthquakes than any other part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains." For example, the New Madrid Fault is one you might have heard about most. Back in 1811-1812, a series of earthquakes hit New Madrid, Missouri, and even changed the course of the Mississippi River. Today’s quake, which occurred in the Wabash Valley fault system, was centered in southern Illinois and was felt in St. Louis, Cincinnati and even as far as Canada. Because of the region's geology, earthquakes here tend to be felt over much greater distance.
But, what captured my attention was the strange behavior of grand-dog Monte as reported by my son. My son said that yesterday Monte was barking at the ground like he was terribly afraid. Monte's legs were trembling from fear. From past experience, I know dogs will bark at a lot of odd things--motorcycles, vacuum cleaners and especially items that are out-of-place; however, I am now convinced Monte is an earthquake-detector dog.
The National Geographic has an interesting article on the subject of animals sensing earthquakes. Next time, I think I’ll listen to Monte when he sounds a warning. I have a new level of respect for him.