I have a couple of German shepherds, adopting them at eight weeks old. Now two, they at times have been a bane of my existence. Ripping cushions in the form of play, leaving “accidents” occasionally, and taking off on a stroll to who knows where, necessitating calls to authorities about lost dogs. But in the end, they do give back a hundredfold in terms of affection and company and a sense of calm as they nestle by your feet as you read, just wanting to touch.
So what would it be like to be a dog? And how does it compare with us refined hominids? Well, the same mental faculties don’t exist. You won’t see a dog working a spreadsheet, composing a novel, or preparing a dinner for eight. Driving, I don’t think so. One might say that a dog has an inferior existence to man. But let’s really think about it. Of course, this is coming from someone whose wiring is a bit off.
First off, you can sleep anywhere. You don’t have to think about what you will wear everyday. You are always satisfied with the same meal. You bathe irregularly. You are generally always warm. Your schedule is your own. And if adopted by the right person, pretty much most things are done for you with kindness and affection.
Your day consists of sleeping and eating, shitting and exercising. No commuting, or cellphones, or emails. While you may have moods, they are ephemeral. It doesn’t matter if your master is white or black, yellow or red, green or blue, you love them unconditionally. And it doesn’t matter what the other dogs around are, whether another German shepherd, or a poodle, a dachshund, a lab or a lap dog. You just think “I’m a dog, you’re a dog, let’s play”. What a concept.
Imagine a human having the same approach. Being flexible and accommodating in every environment. Not caring about what others think about how you look. Always feeling that you are not without as you have no expectations. You live for the moment, the past is the past. No external interruption besides nature itself. Being able and willing to engage with all colors and creeds and sizes. But most of all, having the ability to love unconditionally, thru good times and bad, as you dismiss the accoutrements of your surroundings or lack thereof. It doesnt matter what you have or what you want, you love your companion, and can show it, without speaking the words, “I love you”. No need for the merits or vagaries of language. You show it and you mean it. And it is received just as intended. Very simple and in many ways, very elegant.
Reverting back, the human mind is a gift. The ability to cogitate and analyze, to ideate and to dream is a wonder, which separates us from other species. But there is the dark side too. It can create much discontent, affecting performance and energy, disrupting relationships, and really undermining someone’s raison d’etre or even life itself. And then you look at your dog. Living large and happy on the most basic elements in life. The greatest being the expression of love.
There is a saying, “it’s a dog’s life”, which dates back to the sixteenth century. It generally meant a life of misery or of miserable subservience. You know what, when you stop and think about a dog’s life, it actually sounds pretty good.