Questions about dog behavior and training? Send them to:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My life as a dog

When I watch my dog joyfully running with complete abandon through the woods and across the fields, it makes me feel good inside. Why? In my mind, I'm the one out there running. I'm 10 years old again, a carefree kid with an entire countryside to explore, and with all the time in the world to do it.

She runs down the long driveway, flat out, as fast as she can. She runs for one reason: it's fun. I like running too. Can hardly do it anymore, but I can remember being able to move my legs fast and pain-free. What freedom! My dog brings that joy back to me as I watch her move. She runs for me.

Later, she'll lie in the front yard, and suddenly she'll flop over onto her back, writhe around in the cool, damp grass, and then flop back onto her side. With her nose next to the ground, she'll inhale deeply, taking in the green and earthy scents. As I watch her, I'm doing it too, in my mind. I know that wonderful scent myself. I've been there where she is right now.

In the evening, she'll crash on her bed next to the fireplace. Sleeping puppies, like sleeping kids, have a certain innocent charm about them. No matter what hellions they were a few hours previously, they're all irresistible sweetness when they're slumbering. It's because we are there, too. We're slumbering babes ourselves, sharing that incredible feeling of peace, warmth and security that comes from being in a warm, safe home with big people who care about you. We had to leave that feeling behind when we became adults, but our dogs can bring it back to us when we watch them sleep.

Dogs--and kids, I suppose--bring us back to that age of uncomplicated innocence, when we were able to experience pure joy from the simplest things in life. This is why owning a dog can be so therapeutic! Dogs make it possible to vicariously re-experience the happiest moments of our youth, and to remember the importance of life's simplest and richest joys. Innocence lost is innocence rediscovered when a dog shares your home.

No comments: