Do you want the leash back?
I had my dog to the veterinarian recently. It was the second time in two months, the first was the result of his propensity to eat anything, he developed pancreatitis. This second thing was as a result of his irrepressible urge to socialize with other dogs, he ran into the path of an approaching car to get at another dog that was being walked down the road. In those two episodes the question of the animals discipline comes to question. Indeed. He’s a great dog, loves to please but at times is completely overtaken by his more base desires – greed and lust; a dog at heart.
So, there I was again in the vets office, hoping the bones were not fractured, which they were not thankfully. Coming out of the office into the lobby of the facility my dog made directly for an old small hound with long ears, a thing that had long unworn, un-clipped claws, evidence of neglect, which fell sideways to accommodate the tread of the paws. This poor tired old thing had a teardrop shaped growth hanging from the lower right eyelid, however its eyes were still those of a warm loving animal and the gentleness of it’s soul was transparent through it’s look, unmarred by this thing hanging there. There were sore weeping patches with similar small growths along it’s right forelimb too, making it a sort of pariah there in the waiting room. The guardians, two large fellows seemingly of middle age, short or no hair, well muscled, working class men hardened to the reality before them steeled their emotions for the task at hand.
The dog whined to me as if I were its last hope. It would not settle until I came over to rub behind its ears and soothe it. It gazed at me with the certain knowledge that whatever it was here for it was not good. The mood of the two men betrayed that, these big chaps who had likely never talked to it the way they were doing now, that air of finality, that closeted emotion.
There is a common belief amongst people that they are superior thinkers to animals. While this is true for some of the higher brain functions in humans the most accurate readings of intent in living beings are not those observed in or by humans at all. They are instinctual, done at a more base level and other animals know immediately what another being intends. Dogs are better at this than humans because humans lie, they act and they hide. Dogs don’t. Dogs see everything just as it is. In this way they are clearer thinkers than humans because they don’t waste time with subterfuge, with deceit. A dogs intent, or for that matter that of a horse, a cat, a bear, a moose and any other of our kin is clearly evident in their eyes and expression. When that animal looked at me I knew right away that if fully understood the reason it was there. It’s just that it had that last hope in seeing me, a stranger with sympathetic eyes and a soothing tone that there might be some way out of its fate.
It was pulled to the doctors office by the young receptionist with the help and encouragement of both men, and resisted of course, but as if to admit fate had no recourse dutifully the aged hound went the last steps on its own. The men were visibly emotional now, not given to weeping yet, but tears were starting to well in the eyes, their swallowing constricted by that lump in the throat. Those men just wanted out.
The last correspondence to me suggested that the arrangements had been made and theirs was a task to simply bring Marie to the guillotine, not the purser and not the ruler, simply the labour force, the front line workers who face the task head on.
The young receptionist’s last question to them; “Do you want the leash back?”
The answer: “No”.
None of us want the leash back, but it comes nevertheless with the dog.