Friday, October 9, 2015

Dogs Hurt, Love, Chase Their Tails. But I Don't Think They Ever Ask Why

I love my dogs.
I wish I were a better owner and trained them better.
They would have more exercise, know what I expect, be more fulfilled. That is the nature of a dog.
I know scientific observation of dogs is fairly new.
I have some observations.
Gracie and Brodie are, respectively, full and half-Corgis. A lot has been bred into the breed. Brodie, as half, differs in some ways from Gracie. But both shy from anything in my hand. Neither has ever been threatened or harmed. They shy anyway. That must be a breeding characteristic, and I wonder why it was bred in.
Brodie's half not-Corgi side welcomes a pat on the head and stroke down the back. And he came from a rescue shelter. Gracie, who has been indulged her entire life, dodges a hand to her head. She will accept it after she has ducked under my leg, with her head exposed. Sheltered so, she will also let me run my hand down her back.
She is so sweet. So sweet. But if I am petting her and Brodie approaches, she is a bitch. Literally. Females usually rule, and in this, she does. But when I give them snacks, she always lets him go first. I haven't figured that out.
Dogs are in the present.
I don't think the question"why" is in the breed, whichever.
And that makes it sweeter, and sadder for me.
They have hope, and joy. They have sadness. Despair? probably. But they fight to live, to survive.  I don't think they every ask "Why?"
A year ago, Brodie finally had to have the hernia surgery that had been pending from puppyhood. It was a more serious tear than we thought, and in addition to surgery, he had to wear a cone until the incision healed. It took longer than we thought. Seven weeks.
After all, he couldn't eat, except by hand. He could drink. He was uncomfortable. It lasted weeks. His eyes became so sad. And what killed me was--it might have been better if he had wondered why, if he then could be comforted by petting and attention. He enjoyed it. But it didn't really help. He understood this was what I was putting him through, and he had to go through it. He appreciated the attention, and the fact was, this was life for the present. He never wondered why. He just accepted this was life for now. And he was sad. Somehow for me, it made it worse.
Because I had to do it. His life depended on it. He simply accepted it was life for now.
And I realized why the dog that is kicked and abused crawls back, never understanding why, just understanding what the dog is supposed to do. It is what it is.
I am alpha. He is pack.
I didn't hurt him because I could, but because it was necessary. He will never understand that, but then, for him, no justification is required. He loves me constantly, until this moment.
And I love him.
And I wish I did better by him, and by Gracie. They are great company.
Neither are fat. They get some exercise, but need more. Well, so do I.
I am not a human living alone. I am a social being, with my pack. We are household.
The house was much cleaner before they came. Dogs are perpetual toddlers, in a way. In another way, they are a separate specie with separate expectations, needs and understandings.
Often, they are ignored, or receive little attention, but they are okay with that.
They have been sidekicks to mankind for millennia.
And that is just the way it is.

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