Dogs are Goose Poop-Eating Sages

 

IMG_0639Lola and Jude are considered our first children, and have eights legs between them.  Lola is a Great Dane and Jude is a Border Collie/ Terrier/ who knows what.  My husband and I actually met each walking our respective dogs down on the shores of Lake Michigan.  They brought us together in a 101 Dalmatians kind of way, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Over the years, we have completely personified them. Lola has a deep, forlorn, Eeyore-type voice and Jude, the more energetic one, is more high-pitched, repetitive and excitable. They often comment on their dismay about not getting to eat what we had for dinner, or how they don’t understand why so many other dogs go ballistic barking at them on walks, when they are so perfectly silent.  They also comment on the general happenings of the household.  My husband and I tell half our jokes to one another in this fashion.

I think in general people find that dogs live in the present moment very well.  They greet you coming home each time with the same enthusiasm. They don’t stay mad at you for too long after you’ve left them for a week in the kennel to get a tan on the beach.  They gobble up the same boring kibble everyday with the same intense vigor.  But, like most dog owners, our dogs are more like people to us, and because of that I see them float in and out being in the present moment, just like humans.

Lola on the whole is much more of our “present” dog.  Her passions in life include being petted, sleeping in the sun, and eating.  She could do just these three things all day long, every day.  I look at her most days and think, boy, she really has the life.  When I’m with her, I truly feel like I am all that matters to her.  She is never distracted when I’m petting her.  She would nuzzle every single one of her 115 pounds onto my lap if I let her.

With that said, prior to my husband adopting her, she also had a dreadful history of separation anxiety.  It continued after he adopted her, especially “pre-Jude”.  On one occasion to the supermarket, she crawled out of my husband’s partially open sunroof (picture a Honda Accord giving birth to a Great Dane), slid down the windshield to the amazement of the bystanders, and started nervously trotting back and forth around the strip mall looking for him.  The announcement in the supermarket was something to the tune of, “Would the owner of a very big black dog with a red collar please go to customer services immediately”.  Really- how many very big black dogs with red collars could there be? My husband dropped his groceries and sprinted outside to find Lola being shooed out of the bank in a state of distress and her subsequent relief when she saw him.

The separation anxiety also causes a condition called stress colitis.  We learned this fancy term from our veterinarian, which really means, “craps everywhere when she thinks her parents are never coming back”.  The longer she knew Jude though, the less these incidents happened.  We’re pretty sure he used to tell her something like, “Mommy and Daddy are coming back, like they do EVERY time, so settle down!”  If she was truly in the moment, I don’t think she’d worry so much.  To get herself back into the moment, and forget about her anxiety, she on many occasions has raided the trash, the refrigerator, and even a bottom freezer.  After one of these episodes, there was not a shred of evidence she had gotten into anything, except a pork tenderloin price tag, perfectly intact, laying on her bed.  In cases like this, we are also convinced that Jude plans out these operations by telling her to forget about her troubles.  “Live in the moment Lola, you’re like 100 in people years, you might never eat meat ever again!”

That brings us to Jude, our border collie mutt. He’s Lola’s partner-in-crime and our “less present” dog.  He’s the one who when he’s inside, wants to be outside, and vice versa.  Thus, he’s been given the nickname “Greener” (i.e., the grass is ALWAYS greener where he’s not).  The second after he gets outside and attempts to catch a squirrel, he’s back at the door waiting to come back inside.

He too has anxiety, but in a totally different way.  I’m pretty sure he believes in ghosts, as the slightest noise frightens him half to death.  He once ran the other way in panic when a plastic grocery bag floated to the floor.  But, he’s also the kind of dog who lies by my feet all evening and sleeps under the bed right below my head.  He regularly comes up to us with his head down, grin on his face and wagging his tail, ready for some affection.  He lives for a simple walk and loves to romp around with other dogs.

Because of my dog parenthood for the past eight years, I’m convinced that dogs, like humans, struggle to live in the moment and have tendencies to worry and be anxious.  What I think they do most exceptionally well though, that puts them in the present moment much more often than humans, is give absolute unconditional love to their owners.  They don’t huff and puff that you haven’t walked them for a couple days (although they might chew up something with the extra energy).  They carry on with their day when you leave them for eight hours.  They come to you for affection minutes after you’ve just scolded them.  And, they still love you despite the fact that you have brought kids into their life who grab their fur and chase them around.  They understand that while they used to be your only kids, their parents now might erroneously, on occasion, think of them as “dogs”.

 And don’t let their love of devouring goose poop fool you.  They only do that to protect our egos from knowing that they are truly wiser than we are.  They’re too sweet to lead us to believe otherwise.  That to me is the most amazing type of sage imaginable.

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2 thoughts on “Dogs are Goose Poop-Eating Sages

  • Sandra Knight

    I loved this little story so much. MY one girl that passed named Ellie May would lay down in the street when I was walking her so that the children could pat her. When she was one I adopted. male rescue from a breeder which was one yr old. He loved children the same way even though he had been neglected and starved. He just passed two days from this past Christmas. My Grandson bought us a puppy Dane which is named Lily this past May to keep company with my large boy Jackson. Both my husband and I were just devastated when he passed in December. To finish this story we have just adopted a male from a rescue group here in Florida. He is 8months of age. He was very abused but in the last week he is out playing with our girl and eating like no tomorrow. I enjoyed your article so much as it brought back to mind all of the funny antics of our four legged kids that we loved and will always love in our hearts. Just writing this makes me shed a tear. Loving all animals has always made me a better person.
    Best, Sandra Knight

    • PSadmin Post author

      Thank you Sandra for your kind words and sharing stories about your wonderful four-legged kids. Great Danes in particular seem to be such fabulous dogs with the two-legged kids :) You summarized it so well- they really do make us better people.

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