As Far as the Nose Could Sniff

Drawing of dogs and an ancient Great Wolf in a scene of rivers, trees, and mountains
Have you ever wondered why the first dogs formed themselves into packs?

It’s a very fine question, Cooper, my young pup: why it is that we form ourselves into packs. Why it is that we aren’t lone like the wolf.

You see back in the earliest days of the First Dogs there were no other creatures. We were ‘lone dogs’ then and we roamed the fields and the hills and the forests. In those early days the land was empty of creatures for as far as the nose could sniff. A strong, young greyhound could run all day in any direction and not encounter any other creature. It was a very safe to be a dog and that’s why the First Dogs slept very soundly and never woke even once during the nights. But, the truth is, Cooper, my pup, it was a also a terribly boring time for the First Dogs.

Then one day a change swept across the skies above and soon so many new creatures migrated into our lands until the hills and the streams and the forests were alive and teeming with life. In those wonderful first days of the new creatures a dog with even a very weak sniffer could put his nose to the air and discover a million wonderful smells: fresh smells of ants carrying away bits of cut leaves; heavy smells of beetle stink in the face of a hungry rodent, rich smells of scat, pellets, and dung. And, imagine to be a hound back in those days of the very first smells from the very first creatures! A hound could roam the land and never catch two smells that were exactly alike.

Well, in those days the very first creatures who came to our land were small and harmless. It was still a very safe time to be a dog but it was also a wonderful, exciting time as well. Then in short time the big, slow creatures followed the very small ones: the cows, the horses, the long-necked giraffes, and even the great, hairy elephants. None of the big, slow creatures were threatening to the First Dogs and they ate only of the grasses and the bushes and the tress. Sure, in those later days of the first creatures, the dogs learned to sleep less soundly and to wake from a sound or a shudder. But that was because they were still accustomed to making their beds in the open under the great, wide skies and, if they slept too soundly, they could be trampled – quite on accident, of course – by the elephants, buffalo, and other lumbering beasts in their great herds.

Then one day, as the story goes, a pair of two ‘lone’ First Dogs who happened to encounter each other in a clearing beside a river encountered a great paw print quite unlike any other that had been seen before. It was more than twice the size of the largest dog’s paw and it had the clear marks of great, terrible claws….

To be continued