Tag Archives: cat

Death of THE Cat.

Yesterday, I found out that my brother’s cat was bitten by a tick and tragically died.

Well to be perfectly honest, Archie wasn’t exactly my brother’s cat. Archie’s official residence was actually across the road. However, Archie and my brother formed a special connection where the distinctions between human and cat disappeared.

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

Terry Pratchett

Not that Archie was a particularly friendly, smoochy kind of cat. Rather, he  was actually quite timid, reserved and you could even say aloof. Mum and my brother would often pander to his latest food interest and leave him bits of cheese or gourmet ham to tempt him in. However, any loud noises, and he’d disappear into the darkness.

This reminds me that Archie usually turned up after dark. On our visits, the kids used to look out for him scampering down the driveway and there’d be loud whispers that “the cat had arrived”. He was like rock star royalty turning up…a very much loved, cherished and anticipated feline super star. Probably that’s because he wasn’t our cat and he came and went as he pleased. There were no guarantees he was going to turn up, making us ever so happy and grateful to see  him.

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

Robert A. Heinlein

In this regard, you could say he was a typical cat. Indeed, I’m sure that’s what my dogs would say. If you want a loyal friend who’s always thrilled to see you, why would you ever get a cat when you could have a dog?!!

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

Winston Churchill.

The strange thing was that for many years we didn’t know Archie by name and he was simply “the cat”. We didn’t know the neighbours across the road either. I can’t remember quite how they broke the ice but eventually we found out his name was Archie and that their other cat, was dying after eating lillies from a funeral. So, Archie officially moved into my parents’ place, while the other cat slowly passed away.

It was probably during the death of the other cat, that the two families came together and the walls of suburbia started crumbling down. That our shared love of Archie brought us all together. Mum and Archie’s other Mum would chat beyond Archie, developing a special friendship where love extended beyond ownership, fences and modern busyness.

There was never any mention of jealousy or  he’s “my cat” and the neighbours were more than happy to share Archie with us. No one ever accused Archie of infidelity either.

Now, Archie is gone.

There’s a void. Such a void.

While you could say that a cat is just a cat and you could go out to a farm and easily pick up a handful of them, Archie wasn’t any ordinary cat. No pet is. They have their own personality, quirks and habits. They’re a one off.

Initially, I thought my brother should get another cat. It might seem callous, disloyal but it reminds me of a cheeky saying from back in my single, dating days:

“If you can’t have the one you love, then love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn off the light.”

Not good advice, especially when you get dumped all over again.

Moreover, every cat is different and Archie can’t be replaced.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

So, we say farewell to our feline fella.

Goodbye and Good night. Archie, you were one of a kind.

Anyway, I thought Memory from Cats would be a fitting tribute to Archie.

 

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-TS Eliot: Letters to Dead Poets #atozchallenge

 

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
TS Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Dear Mr Elliot,

Welcome back to the land of the living, although I thought you might have had enough. Would rather be left alone, far away from this land of shadows.

However, while I was pondering all of this, I found a letter on the floor. No signature, only paw prints. Being quite the champion of the underdog, especially in its age old battle against the supercilious cat, I decided to act as messenger and forward you this poem from a group calling themselves: “The Pollicle Dogs”.

old-possums-book-of-cats

Although they could well be a terrorist cell for radicalized canines, I thought they had a point. You made no secret of your love of cats and just to confirm what seems to be a definite bias in the battle between cats and dogs,  there’s definitely no Old Possum’s Book of Practical Dogs to inspire Dogs The Musical, is there?

Not that I’m judging you in any way. It’s just about equality and fairness. That’s all.

To TS Eliot: A Note from The Pollicle Dogs

 In defense of the dog,

we now appear.

A lover of cats,

you hold them too dear!

These killers of birds.

The most stuck up of beasts!

Friends when it suits them

but never for keeps.

Your poems are an outrage,

we tried to have banned.

But then came the musical

that should’ve been canned.

Cats! Cats! Cats! Cats!

All we hear is just cats.

Dogs…pollicle dogs!

Why don’t you write about

 US?!!

Signed,

The Pollicle Dogs.

While evidence strongly suggests that my dogs, Bilbo and Lady, penned this poem, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of their comrades down at Dog Beach were also involved.

dogs

My Dogs…Bilbo and Lady.

You see, I’ve never ever seen a cat down at the beach, which would seem to suggest some kind of demarcation or indeed, the existence of a secret dog society, which could very well be plotting the demise of the cat.

dog beach zoom

Dog Beach.

Personally, I’ve tried talking to my dogs about this before. That we all need to be kind to our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Even apply the Golden Rule. They found  that extremely challenging, not only when it came to being nice to cats, but also when it came to stealing the humans’ food from the table. They’ve actually become a pair of thieving scoundrels of late and have been in endless TROUBLE!!

Indeed, I think they’ve related to those famous last lines of Hollow Men, as they’ve been dispatched hastily “OUTSIDE”:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I must admit that these lines keep returning to me throughout my life. Funny that because so many times, it’s seemed like the end of the world and those lines have been going through my head, when I somehow manage to live right through the moment and life just goes on without any after thought, acknowledgement or recognition. There’s only that inner relief of knowing that I’d made it. That I’d survived another close call, even if that was only my perception.

Like so many who have read your work, I can’t help but wonder at the contrast between your earlier poems and your more comical cat poems. However, through my own experiences of adversity and an understanding of the dark side or shadow, I also appreciate it’s flips side, which is often expressed through a macabre or dark form of humour. Indeed, my husband and I, who are both avid amateur photographers, have observed “the darker the shadow, the brighter the light.” Humour is incredibly therapeutic!

Well, it’s almost time for my kids to arrive home from school. While Mum’s taxi won’t be driving round and round the cactus bush, it certainly seems to be doing more than its fair share of circles round our neighbourhood, especially in the afternoons.

skimbleshanks.jpg

Speaking off which, it’s time for me to head off to the station to pick up my daughter and give a wave to Skimbleshanks. Somehow, he has absconded to the Antipodes.

Yours sincerely,

Rowena

 

 

How A Friend Can Change the World…

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

John Lennon: Stand By Me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vSWHkxZgOI

Surprise! Surprise! It’s me… Bilbo (Rowena’s original dog). I can’t believe I’m back from the very brink after surviving what became a highly controversial campaign to unite cats and dogs. Talk about setting a match to a fuse!!

You might recall that I’d  jumped onto Mum’s brand new Twitter account with my infamous hashtag: #cats and dogs are friends. Much to my horror, rather than building bridges between cats and dogs, I actually attracted the wrath of both species and received multiple, very nasty, terrifying death threats.

Yet, against the odds, I have survived. I’ve been attacked by dogs. Attacked by cats. Yet, Lady, my fearless canine companion, has stood by me. She not only brought me food during my darkest hours of need, she also spoke out and refused to be a bystander. She wanted to take my message of peace to the masses and help them see reason. Where I had drawn all sorts of fancy equations all over my chalk board which made perfect sense to me but evidently to no one else, Lady was much more direct. Quite simply, as the cats and dogs were viciously fighting; gnashing their teeth, scratching, screeching, barking and growling; she very simply said:

Woodstock Festival, August 15 to 18, 1969.

Woodstock Festival, August 15 to 18, 1969. (Mum was 3 weeks old at the time, by the way!)

“Are you proud of yourselves?”

After all, sometimes even the most noble-minded among us can get caught up in our own cause and lose all sense of perspective.

Lady’s intelligent, quick thinking stopped everyone in their tracks. Don’t ask me how because such brawls between old foes have never stopped like this before. Suddenly and quite inexplicably, all eyes both feline and canine were fixed on my scruffy black and white friend, who although she’s called Lady, really is more of a “ruff ruff” in so many, many ways.

Lady called out again to emphasise her point.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon's message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world.

“Are you proud of yourselves?”

A unified sense of shame descended upon the rabble and there was absolute silence.

“We’ve been fighting long enough. It’s time for cats and dogs to mend our smashed and broken fences and build a new way forward based on tolerance and understanding. We have been fighting since the very dawn of time and yet we don’t even know why. What is our cause? We live in our separate worlds, apart from the odd exceptions who somehow manage to live in harmony, without any form of interaction or communication. Most dogs know no cats and most cats know no dogs. Indeed, this war has become some dreadful form of genetic hatred passed on from one generation to the next… just like our DNA. Indeed, we’ve even assumed it’s in our genes. That hating each other is who we are.” Lady said.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Lady declared and then paused. There was still absolute silence and all ears and eyes were on her and yet nobody really understood why. Lady was just a scruffy little black and white dog with more of a reputation for food thievery than an good example.

“Perhaps, Bilbo took his peace efforts too far too soon. Indeed, it might be too early for dogs and cats to become friends. However, as he said… small steps. He probably just got a little over-enthusiastic. We dogs do have a habit of that.”

“I do think, however, that Bilbo was on the right track trying to bring about change by applying the Golden Rule. I think we’ve all forgotten what that is.

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

Bilbo also touched on an revision of the Golden Rule:

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

This is perhaps more useful for improving relations between cats and dogs. After all, we’re actually quite different and don’t really like most of the same things. Rather than being a stumbling block, these differences could actually be a good thing for friendship. We’re not actually competing for the same things. We’d be equal but different.”

It soon became clear that this once terrifying, violent mob of cats and dogs had somehow fallen under Lady’s spell.

Then she added: “If cats and dogs can mend fences, perhaps then those humans might even get along better as well. They can be an arrogant bunch…so convinced they have all the answers and are far superior to the likes of us but you never know. Seeing cats and dogs finally living together in peace might just give them the jolt they need. Then, we’ll all finally be able to sleep at night, instead of waiting for the bomb to go off.”

“I guess you could call it enlightened self-interest.”

Wow! I was stonkered by this transition in Lady. There I was thinking she was purely decorative and not any use at all. While I was hard at work, she was just battering her puppy dog eyes to get more treats. Then out of nowhere, she becomes the change which I’d been writing so much about. I was only ever able to theorise and philosophise but Lady could act and act she did. Firstly, by feeding me in hiding and keeping me safe. Then, she rallied behind the cause. Courageously confronting a dangerously out of control mob of angry cats and dogs, she brought about peace. They actually stopped fighting and from what I can see, we’ve all changed. Cats and dogs might never be friends but at least we’ve come to realise that this war is a choice. It’s not part of who we are. It’s not etched in our DNA. It can stop.

We live in hope!

We live in hope!

Lady had been only one dog and very much a lone voice calling out through a very hostile wilderness. Yet, good triumphed over evil. Love and tolerance overcame hate, violence and judgement. We will never be cats and cats will never be dogs but it doesn’t have to be war and I can even sense forgiveness.

I was completely blown away by Lady's powers of persuasion. Those puppy dog eyes work a treat!!

I was completely blown away by Lady’s powers of persuasion. Those puppy dog eyes work a treat!!

I’ve also learned a few things. While it’s good to have friends with the same interests and who are just like me, it’s also good to have some differences. I’d never thought of this before. As much as I love Lady, especially after all of this, we do compete over so many things such as: pats from the family, dinner, bones and tennis balls. On the other hand, that pesky cat… oops, I mean the nice cat from next door, leaves all of them alone. I could have them all to myself. That really should make us the best of friends.

Cats and dogs have been fighting for so long that we’ve become blinded to everything we have in common. Although I’m struggling to think of anything right off the cuff, I’m sure there had to be something. If only I could meet a cat and have some form of meaningful dialogue before it runs away, I could elaborate. Well, at least we have four legs, a tail and red blood.

Thinking about how Lady was able to achieve so much, perhaps Eisenhower was right after all:

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Now, I am almost a happy dog. That’s pretty darn good for an old dog whose food bowl always seems to be empty. Forget about this half full business. Now, perhaps you’ll understand why I struggle to find the bright side. However, it’s good to be thinking about food again, instead of being being: “The Hunted”.

Yes, our world definitely needs a lot more love and a lot less hate!!!

When I got home, I sang Lady this song and we finished it together:

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door…

Carol King: You’ve Got A Friend.

Love through new beginnings,

xx Bilbo

PS: All donations to my food bowl will be gratefully accepted!!

PPS:

PS: If you are interested in reading my research into the Golden Rule, my posts start here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/greetings-from-good-dog/

If you are interested in hearing from Lady, click here for some of her posts:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/my-dog-post-lady-at-palm-beach-sydney/

This is Mum’s post: A Portrait of a Lady, which tells a few truths about my little friend.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/portrait-of-a-lady/

 

Repercussions of Being a Cat Loving Dog

Eisenhower was no doubt trying to be encouraging when he said: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Unfortunately, you’ll need a microscope to find the fight in this dog right now. Indeed, I suspect that I’ve swallowed a chicken in my sleep.

Please excuse my less than positive outlook. I know I’m not exactly upbeat at the best of times and have more of a realist’s world view. However, my current state is low even by my fairly unambitious standards.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon's message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world. Not so easy…

Since I last wrote, I’ve been forced into hiding in the deepest depths of my canine laboratory since launching my twitter campaign: # cats and dogs are friends. Rather than building bridges between two age-old foes and turning hate into love, my efforts have backfired and focused the hatred of both species onto their new found common foe… me!

“And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am”

Goo Goo Dolls: Isis

Now, I am a wanted dog and as you could appreciate, it’s sadly for all the wrong reasons. My situation, as it stands, is therefore rather dire.

Hence, this could very well be my very last post.

If only this placard could be true.

If only this placard could be true.

You see, after advocating that dogs and cats should become friends and flying a flag saying: “I love cats” from the roof of my kennel, I’ve attracted hoards of haters…the very thing I spoke out against a few posts back.

Sadly, that often happens when you try to change the world and fiddle with the status quo.

Still a long way off.

Still a long way off.

So, I guess this means I won’t be collecting my Nobel Peace Prize any time soon.

All the dogs think I’m a traitor. That I’ve sold out and joined the enemy. Although I didn’t quite go as far as saying: “Je suis chat”, it seems that by trying to love cats and be their friend, I have crossed an invisible line. I’ve seemingly betrayed the very essence of being a dog. Apparently, hating cats is as much part of being a dog as barking, chewing bones and chasing balls.

Hence, dogs are quite literally trying to kill me. Indeed, a campaign of pure hate is spreading like wildfire on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere: #Hate Bilbo, #Bilbo is not a dog… and it gets worse.

Not so long ago, I was living the very uneventful life of a garden-variety backyard dog. Yes, I admit I was also dabbling in dog philosophy and this has somehow become a crusade. It is this crusade which has got be into my current predicament.

Despite these sinister threats, I’m not about to hate. That goes against everything I believe and everything I stand for and certainly is the very antithesis of the Golden Rule. I can’t even kill my own fleas. The family always takes care of that. I am a peace-loving dog whose only crime was to try to change the world for the common good. Now, I’m a dog staring into the headlights of a truck called “Red Rover”. That is, an in “it’s all over red rover”.

It would appear that you only try to change such entrenched age-old values at your peril. So much for appreciating a bit of vision!!

Such is the fate of a lone dog trying to overcome age-old hatred to create a new world order.

However, just because the dogs all hate me, don’t think that I’ve somehow managed to win over the cat population. The cats hate me as well. Rather than seeing my efforts as some kind of bid for world peace, they’ve accused me of being a cold blooded killer, a wolf in sheep’s clothing and have dug up terrible stories about my past treatment of cats. These have been rapidly circulating throughout all forms of media. Like humans, cats simply can’t believe that old dogs can learn new tricks.

So while I’m trying to stay inspired and feel the love, I’ve retreated right into the very depths of my beloved laboratory and Lady, my canine companion, is putting her food thieving, road kill retrieving skills to good use. Thankfully, it turns out that she’s not just “decorative” after all. She’s also become a very loyal friend, standing by me when, as I’ve said, every other dog wants to kill me. We’re in this together for what could well be a very long haul.

Thank you very much for reading, liking or perhaps even following my posts and for trying to step beyond your comfort zone to explore what is truly possible when we all learn to love instead of hate.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

 TS Eliot; The Hollow Men.

xx Bilbo

PS: If you are interested in reading my research into the Golden Rule, my posts start here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/greetings-from-good-dog/

 

If you are interested in hearing from Lady, click here for some of her posts:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/my-dog-post-lady-at-palm-beach-sydney/

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/portrait-of-a-lady/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.

Hippolyte Taine
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_pet3.html#WbTjMwQhRvQBozEu.99

 

 

# Cats and Dogs Are Friends

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”.

Daniel Boone

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

Earth viewed from space.

Earth viewed from space.

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.

Odie loves Garfield but what does he get in return?

Odie seems to love Garfield unconditionally.

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.

"The cat next door" slashing Snoopy's doghouse

“The cat next door” slashing Snoopy’s doghouse

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.

Garfield needs to learn the Golden Rule.

Garfield needs to learn the Golden Rule.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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”.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Bruce the Shark smiling at the fish.

Bruce the Shark smiling at the fish.

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!

xx Bilbo

 

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