An Old Dog Teaches Humans New Tricks About Love.

For some reason, many humans arrogantly believe they are innately superior to dogs. That they have all the answers and there is nothing at all they could possibly learn from their best friend.

I beg  to disagree.

If only humans could only interpret paw prints, they’d know that their canine counterparts also have a significant understanding of matters philosophical and psychological, although like so many of our canine achievements, they have gone unnoticed.

Perhaps, you’re already aware that I am quite the dog philosopher. My particular field of research is how to teach old humans new tricks.

Unfortunately, I’m not having much success.

Although you might think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, this is all lies. Pure human propaganda!!

Dogs, both young and old, are more than willing to learn new tricks…just as long as we consider them worthwhile. Of course, there has to be a point… a sense of purpose. After all, we’re dogs…not robots!!

I’m sure you’d understand that once you’ve worked hard to reach that all-important 10,000 hours of practice and have finally become a champion, be that a champion ball chaser, stick fetcher or sheep herder, you don’t want to start all over again and lose all those precious skills. You see, whenever, you take on a new skill, there’s that very steep learning curve and you have to put in quite a lot of time and effort to reach the top of the hill. So, if you’re already dedicated to your chosen field, you might not have the capacity to take on something new and master that as well. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn new tricks. It’s a matter of choice. After all:

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Although I’m not all dogs, I’ve been quite willing to try new things and extend my horizons.

In the last two years, I’ve gone from being your garden-variety backyard dog and stepped out into the world of extreme sports. I’ve been sailing, kayaking and hardest of all, I’ve even welcomed another dog into our household. Hence, I’ve had to share the things I value most with my uninvited “guest”: Mum, Dad, the kids and even my precious tennis ball.

To further stretch my patience and my heartstrings, Lady, the new dog in our family, still hasn’t worked out that tennis balls are for retrieving. Instead, she ignorantly runs off with them and parks herself on the grass where she chews them up and even pulls their fur out bit by bit. I might be patient but that’s a lot for The Ball Fetching Champion of the Universe to endure.

However, in the spirit of love and acceptance, which is key to all my philosophical beliefs, we have become friends. Lady has also taught me the power of positive thinking and that it’s good to wag your tail once and awhile.

This is what it means to live in harmony.

On the other hand, my research has shown that humans are very set in their ways and can’t even teach themselves new tricks. Instead, they just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again non-stop.

In my first post, I mentioned that humans seem to have a strange aversion to being “nice” and that indeed there’s quite a lot of “haters” out there. People who would much rather hate than love, accept and encourage. I found this very difficult to understand because most dogs innately try to be good. We want to love and be loved, although there might be a few exceptions. So many humans, on the other hand, seem to be hell bent on being mean, hurtful and just plain nasty.

On the home front, I’ve mentioned how my very own family takes great delight in throwing my ball into the water at Palm Beach, even though they know how much I suffer. Then, adding salt to the wound, Mum takes photos and video footage of me writhing in agony thinking it’s funny…a huge game. That is, instead of saving my ball and helping me out. That really hurts…especially since Mum uses the Golden Rule as her mantra:

The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

As we move further afield, you just need to turn on your TV.

Last year, we had the shooting down of MH17, the Sydney Siege, the Pakistan Massacre, seven children murdered seemingly by their own mother in Cairns.She also murdered their cousin.

Fast forward to 2015, the United Nations Year of Light, and we have Paris.

Perhaps, I’ve missed something but from where I sit, the humans haven’t learned anything at all.

Well…

That’s not entirely true because you can’t judge the many by the few.

Australians mourn the loss of hostages in the Martin Place Siege. We send their family and friends our heartfelt condolences.

Australians mourn the loss of hostages in the Martin Place Siege. We send their family and friends our heartfelt condolences. Photo: The Age.

Indeed, following the Sydney Siege, the heart of the city was overflowing with genuine grief and floral tributes. There was an overwhelming outpouring of love. One man might have been evil, pure evil, but millions were good. While that couldn’t change what had happened, it did show that the humans do have a capacity for love, compassion and empathy. There was also that campaign #I’ll ride with you that reached out to show love and acceptance to Muslim women in the aftermath of the siege.

This very encouraging development was certainly something new. Perhaps, the humans are learning, after all.

We’ve been on holidays this week so it’s been difficult for me to really process what has happened in Paris with limited TV access. However, I did see people coming together and lighting candles and another hashtag emerged: “#Je suis Charlie”. While I don’t believe all those people loved the magazine itself, they supported free speech and not being shot for your opinion.

While hate tried to tear down these cities, love has triumphed. It really has.

Love.

Love. Photo: Rowena

But that doesn’t let us off the hook…humans or dogs.

I don’t have all the answers but if we perhaps start with the Golden Rule and treat others the way we would like to be treated, humans and dogs will both be learning new tricks and helping to spread  love throughout our aching world.

“For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Reach out and connect with somebody beyond your comfort zone. Share the incredible power of love.

Reach out and connect with somebody beyond your comfort zone.  Share the incredible power of love. Photo: Rowena

However, I’d just like to request one little furry exception to the Golden Rule…

Do I really have to be nice to cats?

This thing between cats and dogs goes way beyond me and that pesky cat next door. It’s in our blood…our genes. As long as there have been cats and dogs on this planet, it’s been war and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Humph, this Golden Rule is more of a problem than I thought. It’s all very well to treat everyone you like the way you’d like to be treated but it’s quite a different story when it comes to your enemies. However, there can be no exceptions to the Golden Rule. It doesn’t work like that.

Humph. At this point, it’s very tempting to head back to my laboratory and stick to research. There’s such a gaping void between research and practice and I have no idea how to build a bridge. I might be smart and The Ball Fetching Champion of the Universe. However, being the change myself is just too hard.

Humph!

Perhaps, I’ll have to bring in an expert. I have heard about households where cats and dogs are family but there certainly aren’t any in my particular neck of the woods.

Yes, indeed. This is a great place to launch the next phase of my research.

Who knows, perhaps with a bit of training and some loving support, even I might just be able to love cats after all but I suspect that dogs will be living on the moon long before that happens.

Love & a fairly cautious wag of the tail,

Bilbo

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “An Old Dog Teaches Humans New Tricks About Love.

  1. carlpeters

    I believe that the humans may just be able to take the mantra of treat others as you wish to be treated yourself when they can finally understand that we cannot put a barcode (price) on everything. As Dave Mustaine sings, “Peace sells, but who’s buying”.

  2. roweeee Post author

    Wow, Carl. Had to Google those lyrics and they really are quite thought provoking. Heavy metal wasn’t exactly my genre but I am starting to appreciate that it could well be another way of expressing a sense of disillusionment as something more mellow like John Denver.
    I’ve just been staying at Palm Beach where most of the waterfront mansions are weekenders, which are used rather infrequently and there are boats moored there which seemingly haven’t moved all year. Where I live, a lot of people really struggle. Also, when you care about the environment such waste really does aggravate.
    It would be so good if people can appreciate good character etc which, like you say, you can’t put a price on but I’m going to do my best and try encourage our kids to do likewise, At least, that’s a start. xx Rowena

  3. carlpeters

    It’s the reason (as well as I can’t dance for toffee!) that I got into the rock scene! They may look a little weird but they are all peace loving at heart! Good crowd, seen more problems with so called hippies! Rave scene is pretty good too as all they wanna do is dance and love all night! can’t b bad, just not the type of music for me. My ol’dog hated rave stuff but no problem with the rock!

  4. roweeee Post author

    That sounds like great advice, Max. Mum went to a parenting course once and the speaker said that even if your kid is basically good for nothing, praise them for something…even if it’s just getting out of bed. This will hopefully encourage them to stepping over further hurdles. Thre have been times when Mum’s really appreciated that advice.
    I have been told that my New Year’s Resolution to change the world was a bit ambitious but I have found that when I go on photoshop, I can paint the world all sorts of pretty colours.
    By the way, Max, Mum found you sniffing around that make your own wine and cheese post, I wouldn’t mind going there myself. Being on four legs, we should be able to handle the wine better than our two-legged companions but as much as I love cheese, I am starting to think about reducing my waistline this year. I’ve been described as a wine barrel just a bit too often xx Bilbo

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Carol. A few years back, I was working on writing a series of dog books for kids. I ended up thinking that my writing style was better suited to adults as I was constantly simplifying my language and I am quite verbose but after writing this, I am going to revisit these pieces. You can say a lot more about human nature using animals as characters. We have only had Lady for a couple of months and it’s pure coincidence that their characters are naturally quite opposite, which works well for a rich story.

  6. Pingback: Two Fold Kindness | janetkwest

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much. I was quite surprised how far I could take that theme. There is a series of posts there written by Bilbo on the Golden Rule and a couple still to come. I am a serious dog lover xx Rowena

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