There’s just something about the eye of an older dog that makes my heart clutch with unending endearment. It doesn’t matter what the breed, I just want to take them in my arms and hug them senseless. Their eyes have lost a little of the brightness of youth. They may be clouded with cataracts, or watery from their sagging eyelids, but the knowledge held in those eyes is impossibly human.
I’ve always been with, and I’ll never be without a dog, or four or five (Linda will probably take exception to this…love ya honey). Every day, heck every minute, they collect information and calculate how to use it. This serves to instinctively know when to put their head on my lap, lean against me, wag their tail to reassure, and of course when it’s feeding time. They’re the best psychiatrist a person could ask for. I can talk to my dogs and although they may not understand EVERY single word I’m saying (our dogs have an incredibly large vocabulary, btw), they know how to interpret my mood.
When I had knee surgery last year, Cagney somehow knew when I was in pain and she’d cuddle close. Cedar is an expert in getting me to make eye contact with her if I’m a little down, and inevitably will make me laugh with her snorting and silliness.
Dogs are priceless in what they teach us…and other dogs. I took Cedar to the vet this morning for a checkup. While in the waiting room, a big, drooling, teeth gnashing Doberman came in. He barked and carried on as if he’d like to rip Cedar limb from limb. Cedar just sat next to me, barely giving him a glance. It just wasn’t worth it to her. In 30 seconds time, that vicious dog turned into a calm, non-threatening pup. Cedar’s body language conveyed total relaxation and confidence, and he fed off that. His owner was a bit flabbergasted.
Since Leika came home with us, the old dogs have taught her by example: when it’s time to eat, that the moms are much happier when we relieve ourselves outside, that it’s their job to watch me on a walk and not the other way around. I could go on and on. I initially made the mistake of thinking Leika was a very intelligent puppy…she is, but the smart ones are my older pups.
People who’ve never been blessed to live with or know a dog will never know their own soul, for I believe a person’s soul is held in a dog’s eyes.