This is my last of three episodes of IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A BAD DOG? I hope by now you know this is a rhetorical question.
Do you remember I have a large vocabulary?
Rhetorical means I shouldn’t have to bark more than once for you to understand.
So here it is, my most recent thoughts on the above subject. But, don’t think for one minute that I am done barking. I could go on and on. You must be as patient as I am because I have so many other things to do that I can only write these ideas down every ten days or so.
Paw Three: Influence? When we go to Occidental College in Los Angeles (I get around), the students like my hairdo so much they try to imitate it. You tell them my man-bun is to keep the hair out of my eyes so I can look at you and you can look at me and we can smell love. They think it’s to make me look cute. No way. It’s only to let us see each other, eye to eye, so we can both be good. At Carlson School of Management, grown men in suits get down on the floor in the atrium to stroke my hair. They have all kinds of stress, but petting me is all that counts at that very moment. I get into that special dreamy spot in my brain that makes me lie down and be petted because it feels so good. I meditate on the state of being a peaceful therapy dog. A yogi man named Ram Dass wrote a book called Be Here Now. I saw you reading this book for many days over and over, and I put a paw on your arm to ask why you weren’t walking me and you told me all about Ram Dass. You know I can’t read, so you told me Rami Dami is a writer and a deep thinker like I am.
On the job, when we do our therapy, some people don’t speak at all. They just sit down next to me, close their eyes and run their fingers through my long black and white hair. I like that the best.
When we’re out walking, if I regress into my natural, ancestral self and want to chase and herd, you need to remind me, We must be mindful. Slow down! You tell me Don’t pull! because sometimes you break if you fall down like when you broke your leg, and another time, your elbow, and another time, your foot, and each time you break, you have to be on those terrible metal crutches.
We both are learning to be more mindful. I have to slow down, but so do you. I know you want to run and chase too, but you are getting too old. So we work on it. I like it when you play the piano for me. Chopin, Gershwin, Bach. You told me your first Beardie rested his chin on your foot pedal. I rest my foot on the rung of the dining room table. When you light a candle at dawn and put it in the bay window, I settle down on the window seat and we both close our eyes.
I think about someone petting me, slowly and gently. I try not to think about racing around after chicken bones and delicious smelling shoes. Maybe you think about where you and I are going next. When we are finished, the sun has risen over the lake. Our quiet time together is better than any book. And it’s free! Except for the candle.
Oliver’s advice: Now you know as much about goodness and badness as I know—three paws. I kept one paw out for balance. Relax and pet me a lot. Keep me away from temptation. Think about our minds. If I mind you and you mind me, together we are mindful. It’s the best kind of meditation. We are both good. No one can get hurt. If you follow my advice, I will be as good a dog as I know how to be. We will feel wonderful.