Let’s face it, one of the best parts of being a dog guardian is laughing at the crazy antics they get up to. I am not talking about canine behaviours that makes us crazy, like getting sprayed by a skunk or even extreme things like riding a skate board. I am talking about sweet, charming things that anyone who has ever had a dog can relate to.
When I was a child, our beagle mix loved to play hide and seek. To be honest, he was house trained and could walk on a leash but that was about all his training. I mention that just to highlight that he was a normal family pet. But when the opportunity to play hide and seek came around, he could stay like statue, track like a bloodhound, retrieve like a hunting dog. We would tell him to “count to 10” (basically stay) then when he heard “find me”, he would bolt like a gazelle. (We never could get him to close his eyes but we did have him turn his back.) Wherever we hid, he could find us. His favourite was when we hid in the top of the bunk bed, under the covers. He loved to scale the side of the beds, burrow under the blankets and lick us to bits. We never actually “taught” him any of these things. He just loved to play with us.
I also had a miniature dachshund. He was a funny little character. He was temperamental, a squirrel chaser and fiercely devoted to my 6-year-old self. He would growl at anyone who came in my bedroom uninvited and bit my brother more than once! Back in those days, we didn’t think about training or giving him boundaries. He was himself and I loved him. His favourite pastime was being dressed up in doll clothes and getting into a pram for a push around the neighbourhood. This fierce, tiny, biting dog, would happily wear a bonnet, dress and diaper around the neighborhood. I was savvy enough even then to stop anyone who may wish to put their hand in to touch him!
A friend of mine has a rescue dog from the southern US. She is a Viszla/hound mix and about 10 months old. To say she has a mountain of energy would be like saying Niagara Falls has a bit of water. She comes into a room and clears coffee tables with her tail. When you arrive at her home, she can knock you unconscious with her exuberance. She pulls on leash like she is an ox in harness and swims like a fish. She is also sweet and lovable and full of joy. All these training issues are being addressed and she is making remarkable progress. One day, my friend was waking up in the morning to find her “wild child” quietly sitting next to her bed. (Her husband left early for work and the pup was in their bedroom). The puppy ever so gently reached out her paw and softly rubbed my friend’s cheek. It was astonishing! This was the dog with enough energy to power a village. On this morning, she looked at her new guardian with love and gently stroked her cheek. Soon enough, crazy girl needed her morning routine but for a brief window, their bond shone bright and clear.
Our furry friends enrich our lives. They make our houses homes and our experiences with them shape our humanity.