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Front Page » June 19, 2014 » Opinion » If those you knew were dogs...
Published 34 days ago

If those you knew were dogs...


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

We often think we know what people really think about us, but do we really?

Thinking along those lines, wouldn't the world be a much more honest place if people were like dogs. And to do that we would have to have tails.

Think about it. If a dog is happy to see you, its tail wags. Sometimes the tail wags the whole body if the animal is really glad to see you.

But if the dog doesn't like you, is unhappy or is hostile toward you the tail doesn't wag. A tail between the legs or one that is just staying still usually means something is wrong. Or at least the dog is unsure of the person they are encountering.

Whether it be displayed in their tails, or in their actions, dogs are honest creatures. You could call them simple, but that means you don't know much about dogs. They are complex, thinking creatures and many breeds have fairly advanced intelligence. Yet even as intelligent creatures, they are honest. That seems to be something we have lost in our growth as a species.

Human beings pride themselves on their ability to reason, to create and even to a certain point to destroy. Dogs pride themselves on being in the moment. Instead of worrying about what may happen or what did happen, they live in the present. Maybe that is why they can be so honest with their tails.

We like to think of ourselves as above the rest of nature. Our machines, our institutions and our civilizations dominate where ever we go. Yet some how we have missed the boat when it comes to honesty; not only voicing it, but in accepting it.

My Border Collie is a good detector of what people are like. She can tell when someone is a threat, or may not be honest about their intentions. Sometimes she just barks and puts her ears and tail down when she is surprised, but when we run into someone who something that the world is not not right with, she lets me know, just by that tails action. The Siberian Huskies I own are not much different, even though their intelligence level is not near the same as hers.

Dogs understand the simple vibrations people give off; it is a primal thing for them. We as human beings have evolved and covered up a lot of those intuitive perceptions with what we call reason. That doesn't make reason bad, but it can hinder perception. Still often we still get a gut feeling, something from our primal past, that says someone isn't right.

Since we were children we have been taught that honesty is the best policy, yet the human world spends a lot of its time lying to itself about everything from our own personal behaviors to what our leaders say. It is one of those paradoxes of human nature. Being honest can get you into a lot of trouble. Tell someone their hair looks bad today or ask them when they last took a bath and see the reaction you get.

The difference between the way we see honesty and the way dogs see it is that while dogs are complex creatures, they do it by being simple in their assessments. They don't care what hair looks like or whether you have taken a bath for awhile (in fact they seem to like you better when you have not, a function of their noses) because those things really do not matter to them. What matters to them is the inner person; kindness, caring and non-threatening.

My Border Collie is like a parakeet in the proverbial mine for me. If she doesn't like someone, I have to wonder about that person. I don't take her assessment lightly, but I also don't take it as the final word either. However, in my experience, when a usually happy dog show signs of fear or restraint around someone, there is a reason.

I guess in the final analysis what we all need to think about is if all our friends and associates had tails, would they wag them when we walked in, or would those tails get tucked under.

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