The Miraculous Memories of Animals


As a pet owner, the one thing you may never want to experience is losing your beloved pet somewhere in the world. Unfortunately, many people know this pain all too well. They may hang posters, make phone calls, or even go out looking themselves in pursuit of their friend. Sometimes their efforts prove fruitful, others sadly do not. But in some cases, it is the pet themselves that deserve the credit for their incredible memories and skills. Take some time to hear about some of these acclaimed pets and the science behind how they were able to make it home.

Tails Stranger Than Fiction

One particular story that is interesting involves a budgie names Piko-chan. His owner previously taught him their address to avoid such an issue. So, when Piko flew away to the city on April 29, he was caught by the police and unexpectedly tweeted his address to the officers. Thanks to the bird’s wonderful memory, Piko was promptly returned to his owner only three days later, who was happy to be back. Another remarkable story comes from Ginger the basset hound. Ginger was separated from her owner Jaime during a divorce settlement. They promptly lost contact, so there was little chance of him seeing her ever again. However, ten years later, Jaime stumbled upon a dog description on an adoption listing that resembled Ginger so well, it had to have been her. He immediately adopted her and sure enough, it was Ginger. Even after all the time that had passed, Ginger had recognized Jaime as if there was nothing wrong and licked him affectionately. After that, they were inseparable and remain so today. If that is not impressive, Holly the tortoiseshell cat went to great lengths to be reunited with her owner. Her family relentlessly searched for her and handed out posters, but eventually they had to head back home without her. About sixty days later, a neighbor reported seeing a cat roaming around the neighborhood and took her to the vet to get her microchip scanned. Sure enough, the cat was Holly and was promptly returned to her thankful family. The lost cat had traveled almost 200 miles just to return to her family.


How Do They Know?


While these stories are no doubt amazing, how exactly do animals accomplish such tasks without human devices like a GPS or a map? It turns out that animals have their own form of guidance that depends on their species. For instance, some forms of birds and beetles use the sun and stars as means of navigation and only seem to be lost during overcast periods. More commonly, other animals can sense the Earth’s magnetic field and utilize its magnetism to their advantages like an internal compass, such as bats and sea turtles. Cats may also fall under this category along with many other mammals with recent studies unearthing that most mammals’ ears contain iron, which can possibly help them sense magnetic fields in the ground. Dogs have a more well-known way of getting around by scent, but their range is remarkably far, to say the least. Dogs manage to increase their range by overlapping a familiar scent with others around it, much like a cell phone tower does to gain coverage. This allows a lost dog to follow a trail of familiar scents back to their source and back to their owner. It is even possible for a dog to follow one continuous scent, such as its owner, over several miles and return to their owner if the wind is right. Traveling that far is also plausible depending on the temperament of an animal. Dogs have a strong animal-human connection; therefore, they will try to return home even if it means traveling a great distance.

What About My Pet?

In the end, it doesn’t matter what method your animal may use to find its way around, but rather it is important to realize that your pets do remember you and will try their best to come back home to create even more memories with you.

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