Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dogs Are Never Wrong

For various reasons (related to possible future publication), I've deleted most of this blog entry (which was about how Freddie passed away in his sleep on June 28th, 2007), except for the following:

Dogs Are Never Wrong
That’s one of the great lessons this beautiful animal taught me: That dogs will always respond to our desires in some way; they can’t help themselves. They don’t know how not to.

Some may read this and think: “That’s not true. You never met my dog!” Others may think, “Well, your dog was special.”

The thing is, though, I have met your dog, or one like him. And to me all dogs are special. In fact, if you follow me and Fred on this journey you’ll see that he was one of the worst-behaved, and seemingly one of the dumbest, most willful, foolish, disobedient, and hardheaded dogs who ever lived. There were times I wanted to murder him. But as the story unfolds, you’ll also see that nearly everything he did, or refused to do, was done out of love for me, and out of a real, biological need all dogs have, one they’re born with, which is to align themselves with the wishes and desires of the people and animals they love. Again, I’m totally serious about this; I’m not spouting some mystical new-age crap. This is purely a matter of biology and physics. Dogs will relentlessly align themselves with your wishes and desires even if you’re totally unaware of what those wishes and desires are! That’s what can be so maddening about this trait of theirs!

I mean, let’s face it, very few of us are cognizant of what we’re wishing for at any given moment. Nor do we always know what we really want or truly desire. Not a single one of us is as in touch with our feelings as we’d like to believe. But our dogs are. To dogs our feelings and desires are as real and as pure and as important to them as the air they breathe.

I’m a dog trainer by profession but I don’t think “obedience” is the right word for what we ask of dogs. Or that “training” is the right word for what we do when we supposedly teach them how to behave. What we do, really, is just facilitate what is natural in them. We give them a chance to do what they were born to do. And it isn’t to “obey” us or to perform tricks. It’s to align themselves with our desires.

And that cuts both ways, too. Dogs are much more obedient to us when we align ourselves with their desires, and their wishes. That
s why some methodologies work better than others. Some of them are more geared toward that particular goal.

At any rate, Freddie taught me a lot in his 15+ years on earth, but that’s probably the most important thing of all. That through all the scrapes he got himself into, and despite all his foolishness and daredevil exploits and occasional maddening mealtime persnicketiness, he taught me that no matter what dogs do, no matter what kind of dumbass shit they pull, no matter how crazy their behavior, or how insane it makes us, they’re essentially doing it for our benefit. They know, or I should say they feel, that we can be better human beings if we would just listen to what they’re trying to tell us with their behavior. And when we do listen, miracleslike the one that took place during Freddie's last night on earthhappen. Dogs are miraculous creatures after all.

And the funny thing is, dogs
never wrong.

"Changing the World, One Dog at a Time"