What I Learned From A Few Good Dogs

On my run I have places along my route where I stop and say HI to some of my dear “friends”. They’re the neighborhood dogs; my “pseudo” pets, if you will.

I don’t have a dog but I’ve kind of adopted some cool “friends” along the way and I swear they expect to see me nowadays. It’s also a good motivator when I’m being lazy to get out the door. I can easily convince myself to believe that BAILEY (A mixed curly-haired dog who jumps so high he makes me laugh) will be so upset if I don’t see him in the morning and throw his ball a few times in his front yard. The guilt alone makes me go for my run. Wouldn’t want to disappoint him after-all, right? A win-win situation I do suppose.

But this morning on my way back from seeing RINGO (a beautiful white HUGE lab), I observed people walking with their dogs more closely for some reason. And I noticed how the dogs treated each other.

At first, they seem suspicious, they take a moment, sniff here and there, and then, more times than not, are excited to meet another new dog and possible new friend. Usually they start playing within moments! Tails wagging, smiles all around! Doesn’t matter the breed, the size, if they’re mixed or “pure” bloods or what part of town they’re from. They don’t seem to care as long as you seem alright and are willing to be friends, even if it’s just momentary. Dogs behave the same way with human beings: a little suspicious at first, a little sniff here and there and then BAM, happy to meet you!

Sure, there are some scary dogs, even a few dogs with attitude and maybe some take a little longer to get comfortable, but dogs don’t seem to discriminate. You get the same once over, the same benefit of the doubt and always the chance to play!

Two things dawned on me:

1) Dogs treat each other so much better than we do as humans.
2) We humans, treat dogs, way better than we treat each other.

Now, that’s something to think about.

Starsky Suarez. brother of Hutch

When I was a little girl, we had two dogs, or more specifically, my mom had two dogs! They were named Starsky and Hutch. Mixed German Shepard Huskies. I wish I had a picture of Hutch, but unfortunately I don’t. He looked exactly like his brother Starsky here, but he was completely white! So cute! And they grew up to be very big dogs! I still love them and think about them so much. ..and goodness, I miss them something fierce!

Here’s to all the beautiful pets out there! Mwwuuuaaaah!

23 thoughts on “What I Learned From A Few Good Dogs

  1. LOVE that pic of Starsky!!! While I’m not normally a dog person, I have to admit that German Shepards and Huskies (and wolf hounds) are my favourites. And golden retrievers.

    (Shoot. Maybe I am a dog person)

    Anyway…..when meeting new people I try really hard not to sniff their butts first before trusting them. It just makes everything so awkward.

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    • Wolfie!

      You certainly always throw me a curve ball when I’m not expecting it–ha! How could you possibly NOT be a DOG person? Hahahaha! That’s hiliarious coming from a Wolf. 😉

      Sniffing butts…silly!

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  2. I grew up in the country with horses and German Shepherds and that’s what I eventually came back to as an adult – a home in the country with horses and German Shepherds. I should probably mention the two Mini-Doxies who are at this moment snugged up tightly on either side of me, as I sit here in my favorite chair, with my laptop and a blanket while a storm rages outside.

    I used to be very social – a “people person” – but more and more I find myself happy to be here with my family and critters. They’re just so… easy. The dogs are ALWAYS happy to see me. They forgive everything. And other dogs? Well, I’ve never met a dog that didn’t like me, ever. I ignore them when we first meet, casually drop my hand, and don’t address them directly until I feel the bump of a cold nose. 🙂 Dogs appreciate it when you give them a chance to check them out. I know what works with dogs. I’m rarely surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Cesar Millan, it’s just that with very few exceptions, dogs are reliable. You know what to expect.

    With people… I guess I’ve grown tired of trying to guess what people want. I don’t play games, engage in the silent treatment when my feelings have been hurt, intentionally try to hurt back, blah blah blah… I don’t care what people wear (I do prefer it if they’re clean), and I tend to like odd folks (Benny and Joon is one of my favorite movies, ever). 🙂

    All that to say, I agree that we people tend to treat dogs better than other people, because a dog’s love for a human isn’t conditional, and they don’t play games. I think that’s what it boils down to. As for how dogs treat one another, I’m not so sure. Dogs can be brutal with one another. The “weak” are dominated by the “strong” and have a very strict social structure.

    I’m happy to be a quasi-hermit with my people and animal family. Apart from my husband and kids, I generally feel happiest with I’m with my furry friends. 🙂

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    • Sounds so cozy comfortable in your workspace with the two little ones! I’m so jealous Kate!

      I’m still very much a people person, but certainly enjoy my time with dogs just as much if not more! I do agree with you about dogs being territorial and such — but I guess I was leaning more towards the idea that they give other dogs a shot first. There’s a GREET first, JUDGE later type of way about dogs. And with people? Well, we’re kinda sorta mean to each other if we don’t know each other first. Most don’t even try — I’m shocked how many times I’ll be running and I’ll say “hi” to someone running towards me and they’ll look right through me. I don’t think much of it and most times send them a little love prayer their way anyways. But yeah, I just wish we were…I don’t know…better to oneanother? Maybe? And Dogs are just so cool. Very loving, very unconditional, very faithful. Hmmm…

      I’m probably wishing for far too much. Maybe I’ll eventually give in and move on over into your kind of world. It just sounds so much more beautiful, tranquil and comfortable. Aaahhhhhhhh…

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      • I’m glad you reiterated your intent in writing the blog. I actually got it when I read it, then went off on a tangent with the whole dog thing.

        Back to your point – that you wish that we people treated one another better, gave one another at least a chance before judging and dismissing.

        I share your frustration and have not surrendered to the status quo, even though I am a bit of a hermit these days, compared to what I used to be. That’s not to say that I don’t love people. I do.

        I make it a point to smile at strangers. When I see people on the corner begging, I meet their eyes if they’ll meet mine, regardless of whether or not I feel compelled to give anything. And I know the names of waitresses and gas station attendants and pretty much everyone I encounter “peripherally,” because awhile ago I realized I was walking through my days half-blind and missing some very cool people in the process.

        My religion is love and kindness. It’s what I believe in. It’s who/what I believe God is. I find it easiest to love children and the elderly and people who exist on the fringes of society, but I do my best to love those in between too. *smiles* I do. It just takes a lot more energy and I don’t throw myself into it the way I used to. Instead, I focus on loving the people that end up in my path, smiling at the people in front of me…

        And when I need to, I retreat, and that’s okay. If I didn’t retreat sometimes I’d never have any peace.

        But – I’m going to come full circle back to dogs – I think that dogs have an intrinsic joy and openness that we do not. I suspect at times that in their ability to love people the way they do, dogs may be closer to God than we are. Their love is unconditional, unguarded, huge. I wish we people could learn to love with such abandon.

        So, you see, I can get rather worked up about it, rather passionate. There are moments of peace and tranquility, absolutely, but I am always reaching, hoping, seeking… I want to love harder and better. I want to be a better person surrounded by better people. When you’re out jogging, I want people to smile and say “hi” back to you.

        I love this blog, Carmen. And with that, I am shutting upping.

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        • Kate!

          NEVER, EVER are you to shut up! Oh my goodness, how would I learn and be inspired if you did that?

          I love this — I love that you said “my religion is love and kindness.” Maybe that’s exactly why dogs are closer to God — cuz they practice the REAL good word of love — unconditionally? I love that!

          You’re amazing Kate and I’m so glad I’ve “walked” across your path!

          Hugs,
          Carmen

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  3. Carmen,
    Lovely post.
    I like dogs much more than other pets. Though, I love all of them.
    Dogs are so natural. They are not afraid to be refused, hurt or judged. They don’t try to seem someone else. They don’t pretend, and don’t think of other’s opinion.
    You are right. We should study their unconditional love and do the same.
    I had a dog a few years ago. It was a small toy terrier. He was so kind. When I was crying, he licked the tears from my cheeks. My son and husband are not tender, so the dog (Danilka) was the only alive soul who supported me.
    He was first who heard my steps on the way from an elevator to our apartment and began jumping and barking. He was always happy to be with me. I loved to pet him…
    I suppose I was a dog in one of my previous lives. 🙂
    Nice and sad memories.
    I would like to have a dog again but my husband would not…
    Helen.

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    • Oh Danilka sounds wonderful! There’s a little terrier around the corner who’s a little less playful because he’s older but still very sweet. Dogs really are tender, huh? That’s a great point. And how they always know how you’re feeling… Hmmm… I think I was a dog in a previous life too. Maybe a Lab or a Golden Retriever… I’m not sure. 😉

      Carmen

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  4. Awwwww Carmen! Starsky is just adorable, and I’m sure Hutch was too!

    I have to admit that I’ve had dogs on my mind for some reason or another for quite a while now. They are so pure in their thoughts and emotions. There’s no mixing of feelings with dogs, they are either happy or they’re not. They aren’t pretending to be happy while really they’re remembering that time when you said you’d do something for them and then forgot about it. Just 1 emotion at a time. That is what I think makes them so special. They are pure.

    I have so many fond memories of the dogs my parents had growing up, cats too but since this is a post about dogs we’ll stick to that. I can’t imagine growing up without having a dog around. I think they show kids something that is so hard to find in people adults. Something that every kid should have the experience of being around when they are young and impressionable.

    Now that I think about it, and after reading your post, people and dogs are not as different as we sometimes think they are. Dogs and adults? Yes, there is no question that they are very different. Adults are so complex and have usually lost a bit of their innocence along the way. But, dogs and kids? They are so very similar in the way they approach things, the way their eyes see the world. Every little thing holds such promise, such opportunity….such joy. Even the smallest things. If only we could hold on to that as we grow up the way that dogs seem to be able to.

    Remember, there are no bad dogs….just bad owners.

    PS. I think I owe you something Carmen. I’ll be sure to send you something to look at very soon since I got what I was waiting for on Saturday! 🙂

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    • I shall start with the PS first: YEAH YOU OWE ME BIG TIME! Since Saturday? Ugghh… oh, alright! I guess that’s not so long ago. But, I wonder how long it would have taken for you to TELL me? It’s alright though. I shall continue to wait patiently (hee! hee!).

      I do like this idea of dogs vs adults vs kids idea. I never thought about it that way. It’s so interesting. Too bad someone doesn’t have a blog to post something about that subject matter specifically uhem (Yes, I will be rubbing it in as much as possible now).

      Seriously though, wouldn’t it be great if we could view the world so optimistically like Dogs seem to do? You’re so right about how they see the world and approach things. Yeah, I do love dogs!

      Hugs JM.
      Carmen

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      • Oh Carmen…..I had a feeling that you might start with the PS, haha! And let me just say that you have been so patient and sooo understanding through this whole ordeal…

        I promise, tonight I will send you something. It’s been a busy weekend to say the least. I had forgotten how much of a full time job it can be, it’s never ending. I’m talking all day…..1 AM……3 AM…..5 AM…..7 AM…..you get the idea! It will be worth the wait for you though. My heart is melting just thinking about it. And just to be clear, I planned on sending you something today even before I saw your eerily well timed post…….I have to say, what a timely and topical bit of writing you decided to put up this weekend Carmen…

        If you think that I, of all people, would be qualified, I suppose I could find the time to string together some words about such a subject. Maybe while I’m sitting up at 5 in the morning or something. That is, if you think I could handle it? I mean, I’m sure I’ve got a blog around here somewhere just waiting to have something posted on it. Now what was the name of that blog again…..

        Oh, and I love that you keep messing with me about this…..in as many places as you can. There is nowhere that I’m safe from your ribbing, is there?

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  5. You know, I’m not the least bit surprised that you’re able to establish easy friendships with strange dogs. And your observations about the way dogs treat each other, the way we treat dogs, and the way we treat each other are spot on. The Dog Whisperer has got nothing on you. In fact, your wisdom and insight qualifies you as a “People Whisperer” in my book! 😀

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  6. hahaha!! I had just sat down to read a few bogs and my little guy (Buster) came over and started acting like his bladder was going to explaode if I didn’t take him out right that instant. Of course The big guy (Isa) decides that yes this is a good thing. Trees are outside and coo things ot smell are all over the place.

    So I got up and went outside telling Buster the whole time you had better have to go mister, its getting cold out.

    Buster flies across the yard full speed. I instantly know he didn’t have to tinkle at all, so I brace myself to hold Isa’s leash while Buster crosses the alley and joyously bounds over to the neghbor’s dog Daisy Mae a full blood basset hound. Buster and Daisy are in Looooove.

    I have my feet planted solidly on the ground holding isa back. he’s too big and way to excited to be able to play. i fear he’d get too rough.

    Anyway back to my long winded way of getting ot the point. The neighbor and I usually just exchange hellos even though we grew up together. But when Buster and Daisy Mae are playing we watch and laugh and smile. Sometimes we talk a bit too.

    Our dogs take each moment together as the gift it is. Even Isa who is forced to stay way back from the fun, enjoys Daisy Mae and Buster’s antics. Whereas the neighbor and I see each other and say “hi” and are on our way.

    Too bad we couldn’t be more like the dogs and hang out.

    I know I know I could do something about it but I just don’t see it happenening so I will continue to say hi and wave and continue to laugh and watch Buster enjoy his playtime.

    Wow I think I went off on my own little world there but I hope you got it anyway. LoL

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    • Buster and Daisy Mae sound so cool! Awe…

      But, yeah, I completely understand the reality of it all — I think having that “gift” like mentality is so hard but definitely something to aspire too!

      (I love the visual of him being too big and too excited — and your feet being planted on the ground… so cool! You’re dogs sounds brilliant!. Give’em a hug for me pahleeze!).

      Carmen

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      • Hugs are given. =) And kisses were returned.

        Isa is a white Akita and weighs around 115 pounds. He is pure love and wants to play with everyone. Only he doesn’t realize that not everyone can take the full brunt of him slamming his wiggling body into them.

        Buster is a tan Shih Tzu/Pomeranian mix. he weighs around 15 pounds and is a happy ball of energy. He demands to have his belly scratched every day and if I stop before he is ready he moans and growls at me until I start again.

        Funny thing though when my Boys play with each other Isa allows Buster to “win.”

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        • Ha! Thanks for passing on the hugs! I love big dogs! But Buster cracks me up — smart dog! I like the growling and moaning when he knows you’re not done! Hee! Hee!

          Carmen

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  7. I think this post really went to the dogs. 🙂

    So, yeah, I’m not a big fan of dogs, especially when their owners let them run around loose. But I appreciate the life lesson you pulled from your observations.

    I think the gist is this: Dogs generally have no reason to be untrusting of other dogs. What you see is usually what you get.

    Humans on the other hand? They are much more devious creatures. I was just pondering this the other day and realized that I have become very slow to trust anyone new that I meet. (Like my new boss, for example.) I remain very guarded for a long time and deliberately keep them away from the “real” me.

    As always I find your comments topical to me. It’s like your blog is my horoscope. 🙂

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    • OH…you are such a sweetheart! Such a great like “blog is like my horoscope”… thanks!

      I am glad you’re at your new place though — I look forward to hearing more. I just got back from DC so I’m back to “normal” and can catch up.

      As always, I’m always grateful when you stop by — and you know I’m always reading you – cuz, you’re crazy funny!

      Hugs.

      Carmen

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