Canine Detection Test #10

Date:  Mar. 8, 2015

Locations:  Queen’s Park Cemetery and Mountain-View Cemetery

Total Testing Time:  3 hours, 15 minutes

Weather: Chinook cloud, winds gusting from the southwest at between 15km/h and 20km/h.  Temperature range between 12C and 14C.

Other conditions:  snow/ice/soggy patches, vehicle traffic, occasional appearances of living humans, some grave-site services in progress

Assistant:  Christine Ford

Queen’s Park Cemetery

We began the session at one of the Memorial walls near the administration buildings.  It has been almost a year since Glimmer was brought to this location, so she was very anxious, nervous, and tense. She was given several minutes to re-familiarize herself with the environment. Once her anxiety and tension eased up, she was given the command to “find the energy”.  This command was given with the hope of learning whether or not ghosts or spirits possess an energy signature in the form of scent, and if so, if Glimmer could detect that scent and provide a visible response.

Glimmer became very nervous and tense at several spots at the memorial walls.  At one of the sections, she balked, pulling backwards on the lead and refusing to approach the wall. Several attempts were made to bring her closer to the wall in question, but each time, she balked and refused to approach.  Her back arched in fear, her tail dropped down to almost right between her back legs, and she began panting heavily.  We were unable to determine a cause for this response.

The dog was taken to other sections of the memorial walls.  Though she did show some nervousness and uncertainty, she did not exhibit that intense fear in the other sections we investigated. We spent approximately 20 minutes investigating all the sections. Living people arrived, then, so we ended the testing session there and moved to the area across from the children’s playground area.

In this area, Glimmer was curious, but not fearful.  Her back was flat, her tail was at a neutral position, and she was relaxed and alert.  She did hesitate at a few ground plaques, but her hesitation was a result of smelling flowers and investigating objects placed on those plaques.  No unusual reactions were presented.  Unfortunately, the session had to be wrapped only a few minutes later, as Christine slipped on a patch of ice covering a large pool of water and fell, injuring her elbow and soaking her clothes.  The test at this location was concluded so that we could deal with the situation.

Mountain-View Cemetery

Glimmer was first taken to a garden-like area of memorial walls north of the main administration buildings.  As she had at Queen’s Park, she exhibited the same fear responses to some of the individual units on the memorial walls at Mountainview Cemetery.  She was especially fearful of a large, non-functioning fountain set in the center of the garden-like area. However, after spending several minutes in this area, Glimmer became curious enough about the structure to cautiously approach and investigate it.  However, even after she became calm again, she consistently balked at some of the individual units on a couple of the memorial walls.  No cause for this behavior could be found.

We investigated several areas of this cemetery.  Some areas contained headstones, others were marked with ground plaques.  We also investigated recent mounds of earth marking the graves of people newly laid to rest.  At these mounds, Glimmer showed intense focus and an unusual, submissive behavior.  Her ears were down and back, her tail went low, and she kept her head low while investigating the mounds.  Also, she did not attempt to walk onto the mounds; instead, she stayed to the sides of them and extended her head outwards when smelling them.

Glimmer has exhibited this type of behavior towards earth mounds on previous field tests.  Even if she sees familiar objects on them – e.g. flowers or toys – she refuses to walk onto the mounds to investigate those objects.  For the purpose of these field tests, this behavior is being deemed as a show of respect from her.  This is not a learned behavior; Glimmer was never taught this type of response.  Thus, it seems reasonable to infer that Glimmer somehow knows she is to be respectful and submissive when she is near these mounds.

Several other areas of the cemetery were investigated. However, Glimmer did not exhibit any unusual behaviors.  After a total time of 3 hours and 15 minutes, the field test was ended.

Field Notes

Glimmer’s responses to individual units of the memorial walls at both cemeteries was unusual.  However, it must also be considered that her responses may have been directed to the structures themselves; having never seen these types of structures before, it is quite possible that Glimmer may have been intimidated by their size, and not to individual units.  Further testing of this theory is required to determine whether or not this is the case.

Glimmer has shown a consistent behavioral response of submission when in the presence of earth mounds.  She has also consistently shown that she does not exhibit this particular behavior at any other time during field tests.  This is interesting, because this is not a learned behavior.  Testing will continue to learn if this behavior will be consistent at all earth mounds, or if this response is subject to change under specific conditions.  If it is subject to change, conditions existing at the time of change will be documented and tested in subsequent field tests.

Overall, Glimmer did very well, considering the lack of field tests over the past year.  It is expected that the initial nervousness and anxiety she presented on this field test will resolve as more field tests are conducted.

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