Do dogs think? I think they must. The other day, Figaro was scratching to get outside not long after I had let him in. So, as usual, being at his beck and call, I let him out, yet again. But when I watched him through the window, he didn't go out to water the bushes again. He didn't sprint out to see "What's that noise?" He didn't even put nose to ground to explore the scents. He just ambled down the front walk. It was really kind of interesting, because he seemed to be taking a stroll. When we humans take walks, we think about things. So I wondered what Figaro was thinking about as he wandered down the walk.
Well, I don't know what Figaro thinks about when he takes a stroll. But I know what he DOESN'T think about.
1) He doesn't think about how two of his close friends had an affair with each other when married to others.
2) He doesn't think about friends getting together without inviting him, and then making a point of telling him.
3) He doesn't think about his mate stepping out on him.
4) He doesn't think about his boss firing him just before the holidays.
5) He doesn't think about friends avoiding him when he's going through a bad time.
6) He doesn't think about his best friend forgetting his birthday.
7) He doesn't think about his spouse ignoring their anniversary.
8) He doesn't think about his employee stealing from him.
9) He doesn't think about his business partner not pulling his weight.
10) He doesn't think about his children forcing him into a nursing home.
11) He doesn't think about his doctor missing the diagnosis.
12) He doesn't think about his lawyer taking his money and not working for it.
13) He doesn't think about going to school and not being taught anything.
14) He doesn't think about his client not paying for the services he gave him.
In other words, he doesn't think about broken promises and betrayal. He doesn't have to, because he doesn't experience it.
As I watched Figaro meandering down the walk the other day, it looked kind of sad, a forlorn little figure, out there all by himself. Obviously I was personifying. He has a good life, full of love and warm attention, and blessedly lacking in betrayal. As faithful as I am to not betraying him and his needs, I wish I could be as good with people.
It's easy to give Figaro the good life. With dogs, their needs and boundaries are so obvious and remain constant. They never ask for more than they need. It's harder to give in human relationships. With humans, their "needs" and boundaries are ever-shifting. They continually seek more than they need. And that tends to be at the expense of other humans. Think about it. We buy Christmas presents for our family and friends (to help them in their quest to acquire things beyond their basic needs), and the money could have gone to the Soup Kitchen. Or to that woeful figure who stands on the side of the road near Perkins peddling the daily newspaper. So the Christmas presents were purchased at the expense of the poor.
Betrayal. We do it everyday. Our society encourages it and we succumb. I wish I were different. More like my dog, who needs only food, shelter, warmth, and love, and who gives what he can, his companionship and, more important, his loyalty. And sometimes kisses.
( God, please help me be more like my dog.) Merry Christmas.