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I was asked the other day by a friend of mine, what it meant a "Dog's Life".  I had to think about it and this is the reply I gave.

A dog's life is one that starts off in total blindness and deafness.  We need out sense of smell so much that we work on that until it is perfected.  What newborn puppy can not
smell the individuality of it's mother and locate the stems from which nourishment comes.

A dog crams a lot of living into a few short years so we
grow fast and learn quickly.  Our mother teaches us that as a female her role is always to be a leader, provider and teacher.  Each one of the litter is assigned a very special task.  Some will be assertive, others more passive but there is great importance placed on each of our characteristics and qualities.

Our first few weeks we play and learn, sleep and eat.
When we play we start to find what roles we will play in life.  We explore and sample all that life has to offer us.  Sometimes we find the things we chew are not really intended for us, but we continue to grow and learn.

During our months as a puppy we speed through life with such energy that is is exhausting.  So tiring in fact that when playtime is over we must nap.  All this exercise and play makes one very hungry.

We are learning all the time not only the ways of the dog
world but that of the human's world.  These beings although not of our breed or variety have shown that they can be trusted and loved.  However they do need a lot of care.  This is a responsibility that many dogs willingly accept.

As we grow to maturity we develop the skills that help the human most in their lives.  Some humans only need companionship and training in responsibility.  These humans we teach how to throw a ball or frisbee.  We show them responsibility when we stand by the door waiting to be walked or over our dishes until they are filled with food and water.  Most humans are not easy learners, they start out quite well but they can get pretty lazy.  Other humans have a need for our protection and we gladly risk our lives for their safety.  Some are in need of a great deal of exercise and we hike up the mountains by their side so as to inspire continuing motivation.  Our responsibilities are so varied and time consuming we have very little time for ourselves.

Now an older dog, well this dog's life is most important.
He teaches the humans about life and death.  You see the humans live much longer than a dog and they have a great
misunderstanding of death.  The old dog takes time to rest his weary bones and does not rush through his last days.  He looks at the wonder of the world and sees the contribution that he has made.  These older dogs go to their death with dignity and set an example for the humans.

The friend that asked me what it was like - "A Dog's Life"
was envious of me.  He thought I had it so easy.  He felt that being a dog must be like a continual holiday.  Once I explained what it really meant he went back to his chair to contemplate what I had said.  I am never sure how much he can really understand - the human mind can be so mentally challenged at times.  But I am sure the day will come when he will have a better understanding, that too is a dog's responsibility -  too teach the human about the world of the dog.

Cheryl C. Helynck
Whiteshadow Kennels 1994


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