This beautiful story proves that our doggy best friends are just furry people… that they have active minds, loving hearts, and little tail-wagging souls!
Rowan, a German spitz who was born without eyes, has learned to navigate his environment using a skill set usually reserved for bats, whales, and dolphins! The clever little guy was never trained to use bio sonar, he just figured it out on his own… that just goes to show you, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Check it out from Mental Floss:
A German spitz named Rowan was born without eyes, but gets around almost as well as a sighted dog. Rowan learned to use the reverberations of his bark to determine where objects are in the great outdoors. This is a version of echolocation, in which a blind person (or dog, in this case) creates a mental map by comparing the way sound bounces back in an echo. Rowan was not taught to “see” this way, but his owners noticed how his behavior outside changed when the trees filled out with leaves. Most people who meet Rowan don’t even realize he is blind – they just wonder why he keeps his eyes shut.
What, exactly then, is echolocation?
Well, according to Wikipedia, echolocation, also called bio sonar, “is the biological sonar used by several kinds of animals. Echolocating animals emit calls out to the environment and listen to the echoes of those calls that return from various objects near them. They use these echoes to locate and identify the objects. Echolocation is used for navigation and for foraging (or hunting) in various environments.”
Echolocating animals include some mammals and a few birds, but the trait is not natively seen in dogs. Well, usually! The toothed whales, dolphins, some shrews, cave swiftlets, and the Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) all use echolocation as a primary way of mapping their environment.
Echolocation is basically the same as active sonar, using sounds made by the animal itself. Ranging is accomplished by measuring the time delay between the animal’s own sound and any echoes that return after bouncing around in the environment.
The intensity of sound waves received at each ear provide information about the horizontal angle from which the reflected sound waves arrive. The time delay gives information about distance.
Here’s a video of Rowan demonstrating his unique ability!
What do you think of Rowan’s special ability?
Have you ever had a blind friend or pet?