“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”.
The last few weeks have been terribly confusing for yours truly. We all know about the dreadful events which have taken place right around the world. Being quite the philosopher, I often wonder what the humans are doing to our planet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they either blow us all up or we all get fried to a crisp.
It’s hard being a bystander. I had hoped things would improve in the New Year but it’s only got worse. But what can I do? I’m only one dog. Yet, I am not any ordinary dog. I have magic powers. Well, that’s what I call being smart and finding solutions to age-old problems. That has to be a sort of magic.
Rewinding the clock, I considered what I could change in the New Year. As we all know, a new year is a clean slate and anything is possible. Of course, like all good dogs, I wanted to put my best paws forward. However, as I’ve had no luck with dieting and I’ve never smoked or taken drugs, I was stumped.
That was until Mum heard about this new idea of choosing a word to define your year. Mum’s word for 2015 is “love”. That sounded very inspirational but being my usual enthusiastic, over-achieving self, I decided to aim a little bit higher. Why settle for just one word when I could achieve so much more with these three words:
Change the World
I know you probably think that I’ve set myself the ultimate in impossible goals. However, quite frankly, it has to be easier than losing weight. These love handles of mine have definitely become permanent fixtures.
It was this quest to change the world which launched my journey into the perplexing field of philosophical research. From there, the Golden Rule certainly seemed to be the best way forward but further analysis confirmed that there is indeed an exception or challenge to every rule. For me, it was cats.
There was also the matter of my canine companion, Lady, who chews up my tennis balls without any consideration about my feelings at all!! This travesty posed yet another challenge to the Golden Rule. As I said, the Golden Rule works well when everybody follows it but when someone bucks the system, where’s the justice then?
Or, do we just hope karma intervenes?
Being somewhat jaded and disillusioned, I briefly turned to the dark side , investigating a different ideology: Do unto others as they would do unto you. While I could see that this approach could result in both good and bad outcomes, I thought it was all too easy to just start living for No. 1. That was definitely NOT where I wanted to end up. After all, while I’m not responsible for the actions of others, I do have to live with myself!
So it seems that my ideological journey went around in a great big circle and I was almost back to the beginning again. Back to the Golden Rule and trying to work out how I could be nice to cats.
Somehow, Odie pulled it off.
This was all well and good in theory but like all of my philosophical theories, difficult to put into practice.
To be nice to a cat, I actually had to get near a cat and even that was impossible. You might be surprised but I’ve never actually met a cat let alone tried to converse or conduct any type of meaningful dialogue with one. The closest I ever came to fraternising with a cat was when I bailed up that wretched thing, I mean, the nice cat from next door. I’d had that cat cornered until Dad suddenly appeared, grabbing me firmly by the collar, allowing my guest to escape before we’d been properly acquainted. Needless to say, she never came back.
Cats aren’t exactly innocent either.
Firstly, let me mention my friend Snoopy and his encounters with the savage cat next door to him. He is an extremely vicious cat who terrorizes Snoopy and Woodstock. Whenever Snoopy mocks the cat from across the yard, the cat slashes and Snoopy’s doghouse or sometimes, him. Charlie Brown usually ends up having to buy another doghouse, as a result.
Then there’s Garfield who constantly berates Odie.
I guess it’s probably due to heated moments like this that humans have decided to keep us separate: dogs here, cats over there. Even when I go to the vet, cats are inside, dogs outside. As I said, we live in divided worlds.
However, how is separation and ignorance building bridges between cats and dogs? Bridging the gap and trying to overcome our differences? It’s not.
The time has come to start bridging the gap uniting cats and dogs through love, understanding and forgiveness to create a better world. To achieve this, we at least need to interact and get to know each other better. After all:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
The trouble is how do we break the ice and get the ball rolling?
All I do know is that if I want to change the world, it all begins with me. I have to be the change.
Back to the lab… A protocol is definitely required to improve relations between dogs and cats.
How to Become Friends with Cats
- I drew a picture of myself being nice to cats and stuck it up inside my kennel. Perhaps, if I could visualise being friends with cats, that could be a start.
- I keep repeating “I love cats” over and over and over again. I’ve even stuck a flag on top of my beloved kennel: “I love cats”. While I still make the occasional slip of the tongue, surely, it must sink in eventually.
- Feed your enemy. As everyone knows, the easiest way to the heart is through the stomach. I retrieved a dead fish from the beach and shoved it under the fence. I had thought about sharing my bones and even throwing my ball to the cat next door but I soon realised that cats don’t value either of these canine pursuits. This is what’s known as the Inverse Golden Rule “Treat others as they would like to be treated”.
- Find a dog who lives happily with a cat and request an introduction. After all, a dog just can’t approach any old cat and say hello. I’d be torn to shreds by their dreaded claws.
- Start small by taking very small steps. Cats and dogs have been fighting since forever. It’s going to take time for things to change:
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”- Lao Tzu
6. Learn from the past but make a new beginning.
7. Forgive.“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”Mark Twain
However, while I thought I was a real genius putting this protocol together and was expecting a Nobel Peace Prize for my efforts, a cat appeared in my backyard last night. I don’t know how much you know about dogs. Although we try to be good, we’re actually reactionary by nature. We act first and think later. So despite all my philosophical research and heartfelt desires to be nice, I failed. I still took off after that cat at full speed, barking with the same vicious growl that I usually reserve for the posty. Yet again, I’d fueled the war between cats and dogs despite my best intentions.
Back to the drawing board.
This time I decided to try social media. Suffering from creative block, it took awhile to get the creative juices flowing. However, inspired by Bruce, the Great White Shark in Finding Nemo. I developed my own hash tag:
“# Cats and Dogs are friends”.
Now, I just need to get the word out.
That means Mum has to learn how to twit or was that tweet? I can’t remember but I know it had something to do with those wretched feathered things that keep invading my backyard and tormenting me so much.
Well, she’s always telling me that an old dog can learn new tricks. Now, it’s her turn.
Wish me luck. As always, I need plenty!