25 May Deep in a Dog’s Eyes
For all the Doglovers
Have you ever looked deep into your dog’s eyes and felt you could tell him every secret in your soul. They have an aura of wisdom about them sometimes that just humbles me so that I feel my nose tingle with the beginning of tears.
Dogs can be so aloof and so, ‘I don’t care’, and then at other times, they seem to climb right into your skin with their understanding and empathy. They are ancient and have shared so much of our history. War, peace, discovering new lands, tracking across new frontiers, they went into space before we did.
They get under our feet, rush around when the door bell rings, snuggle under our blankets at night and pinch the toast off the breakfast table. They are on the street, in our cars, running alongside bicycles and walking proudly beside the pram.
Ever our companions, we almost take them for granted and yet they play a very important role in our lives. They make us their friends, their protectors, their parent. They don’t speak our language but they listen. They don’t ask for payment but they work for us. They make a path for us into the natural world but very few of us really understand them.
It is left to our dog to try and interrupt what we want of him. How we want him to act, how we want him to behaviour. Our dog is at times quicker to pick up on our unspoken needs than we are to perceive his requests. We are like two foreigners meeting on the border both wanting to understand and be understood, but neither finding the bridge across the language barrier.
Humans and canines are intelligent, use both verbal and noun verbal means to communicate. We have lived together for generations and yet we still misunderstand, misinterpret, and shake our heads in ignorance.
As a species, they long to be physically close to us, to have our love, to share our comforts. They are willing to take their place in our home, our community and our civilisation. And yet, for the most part, we barely scratch the surface of the dog that sits at our knee.
For some of us they have been raised up to the statues of our own progeny and for others, they are slaughtered as refuse, killed if unprofitable, a commodity to be thrown on the scrap heap when we have no further use for them.
Like humans some are not to be trusted, are to be feared, have done us and ours damage. They are after all only a domesticated wild animal. They all start as vulnerable blind pups and how they grow and develop depends on those who have control over their lives. Like ourselves.
I believe it rests with us, the dominate culture, to try harder to understand the subtleties and nuance of canine language. If we, the superior race, could move beyond our one-dimensional belief that dogs have two main communication methods, one at each end of their bodies, a happy wagging tail and a savage set of teeth, we might find we can also access those parts of ourselves that have become buried or hidden.
As we isolate ourselves from a deep connection with the earth, it might be through our canine companions we can find our way back to being more open to Mother Earth and Her needs. And through that deeper connection find that empty space inside ourselves that alone we can not heal. For those of you who are too fragile to let in a human, maybe you can let in a dog. And if you can bare to look deeply into his eyes there you might see your soul.
Penned by Hannah Collins