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I have often said that you can tell a lot about a person by spending time with their dog. I really do believe that.

I know a man who does foster care for German Shepherd rescues. He's brilliant at it, and loves doing it too. He keeps dogs which have special needs; either they were abused, or they have some other issue requiring great care. Over the time I've known him, he has cared for three dogs. Each took on a nearly identical character. They played and ran with abandon, loved to cuddled, and were almost insatiably curious. Of course, these are traits that you expect from all German Shepherds. But, his have these traits uniformly.

I know of another family which has a German Shepherd. It never plays. It's always on guard and frequently growls, even at me. The owners are defensive and suspicious by nature. They are closed. Once the wife deigned to show me some of her art collection and I remember thinking that it was the first real conversation we'd had. Ever. Come to think of it, she sometimes emits a low-level growl too.

I know a woman who is guardian to a beautiful Standard Poodle. She is bright, stubborn, and oppositional. Am I talking about the dog or the woman? Both. Truly.

One interesting question is whether we choose pets which reflect our own character traits or whether our pets naturally pick them up?

A better question, better for me anyway, is what does my own dog's behavior say about me? He is a self-important little man, isn't he? Always running around the backyard doing important duties. Oh, he's most impressed with himself, he is.

But, he was a stray, you know. And, I often see in his eyes a little insecurity. Am I really lovable? he wants to know. My dog, so beautiful, so smart, such a great dog, can't get past his past. He's had hours, hours totaling days, of me petting him and telling him that he is good and wanted. But, it's hard for him.

Earlier this evening someone asked me to tell them what I did today. It was such a boring list of little tasks. Going through this spreadsheet. Writing a Big Memo. Phone calls. Ick! Am I just running around in the backyard of my own self-importance doing my duties?

I have quit this soul-killng work so many times I can't count them. But, I always come back because... cha-ching! Because I can't face my past without the venere of self-importance than money gives me. That's the naked truth of it.

I am a dog.

So, anyway, if I haven't put you totally off the idea, pay attention to what your dog might be saying about you.


Marianne said...

This is a fantastic post! This one has those dusty wheels in my head turning.

On Sunday, I posed for a pet caricatures portrait with Lorin Bernsen of Dallas.

I got an adorabe caricature of me and Chita. He captured her eyes perfectly. Her big beautiful eyes with just a hint of question.

The same question as Rowan.

Lindy said...

And, Marianne, if you want an example that we both know, just think of E and her little dog S. S is a gentle and most loving dog within the confines of her familial unit. She's even grown to love me a little bit. But, the minute she feels there is a threat to her family she growls like a Rottweiler. I mean, it's scary. But, isn't that a little bit like E who loves all her family, even the crazy ones, but would stand up and fight to the death if any of them were threatened. See...

Rowan says HI. He misses your pets.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Jasper is extroverted off the scale and appears to have the same rollicking case of ADD that I do.

I do not share his fetish for paper products and squirrels, but I guess I have my own. ;-)

I would love to think that I am like him---he's loving and funny and delightfully naughty.


Presbyterian Gal said...

I do hope this does not also apply to cats. Else I'm in need of far more therapy than I can afford.

FranIAm said...

I was out walking Gracie earlier and actually was thinking about you and Rowan.

Gracie bounds with so much energy, so much love and so much curiosity. The smells and sniffs of suburbia are always an invitation and the response is pure joy.

I wish I were more like that.

Catherine + said...

I never thought of Dragon and I like never occurred to me...but now that I think about it...he was often depressed like me, or I was depressed like my food, not sleeping well, or sleeping too much...he would drag his tail and drop his ears...maybe his way of crying...maybe we are all a bit dog...and they are a little bit human.

MadPriest said...

It's "what your dog might be saying about you" behind your back, that you have to watch out for.

Jan said...

We have two dogs, and I'm paying more attention right now!

Jane R said...

It's not quite the same with cats, though I sometimes wonder. Back when I was living with Alyosha of blessed memory (and a holy feline he was - I called him Alyosha the Bodhicat sometimes) someone who met him for the first time looked at me holding him in my arms and told me we looked alike! He lived a good long time, too.

Miss + Maya Pavlova is much prettier than I, and she is a combo of serene holy kitty and spoiled brat -- which, come to think of it, hmmm...

Diane said...

I scratch myself a lot, too. and we're alike in other ways, I think (Scout and I). We both like stuff too much.

Joanna Depue said...

The Divine Miss Em (Emily Louise/Emmy Lou), the EpiscoPup, is a rescue from a pound in Georgia who came to NY State via rescue relay. She started shy and aggressive toward men (I'm sure she had been abused). It took time and repetition. Now she is a romping Barksperson for adoption. I fell in love with her sienna brown eyes - somewhat forelorn. She has yoga in her somewhere (peeing while walking on front 2 paws with back ones doing 'spread eagle'. Em is a girly girl, hates getting her paws wet and loves to snuggle. Without the slightest doubt, she has helped me become a more patient, gentle, loving human being!

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