Every once in a while, if we didn’t fall off the face of the earth, you’d find us predictably boring. While we take time out to step back, observe the human world, and contemplate, you are already back to another season of exams. It seems we figured it out for you ( The give and take of exams ) just yesterday. Despite the fever going round (again, may we add), humans have still to understand, and in many cases pass, the most crucial exam of their lives: the DYDUD.
The exam qualifies you for a task that will set you up for life – and a happy one at that. The questions are simple, at least for us straightforward clear-hearted canines . Can’t say the same about any species whose brains, and more importantly hearts, may still be Work In Progress and yet to reach desired levels of perfection (like ours.) Take a stab:
Q1. Do you honestly believe that all there is to us is looks to kill or melt? The doggie in the window whose eyes you fell in love is not just a bundle of fur, licks and cuteness overload.
You will also have to work with sprays and jets from mouth and rear, the 3
Ps of pooches – pee, poop, puke – which you will have to clean. As if our own mechanisms are not enough, we think nothing of carrying back in our paws and coats all the dirt we walk and roll through in the day. We will have our ugly moments – the gooey stuff in the eyes and ears that has to be cleaned, the nails that grow too long if not seen to, the worse-than-rotten-eggs-odour from somewhere on us, and so on. As if being in existence were not enough, these things have the peculiar knack of showing themselves within hours of what you thought was a clean up and just at the moment visitors step into the house.
Q2. Do you have the aptitude and the patience to set and teach us our boundaries? Our factory settings do not include toilet training and awareness of other house rules. We will learn – eventually – but we don’t really care if the process makes you feel you are banging your head against a wall.
Q3. Do you have the extra-special linguistic ability we demand? You know, the ability to understand non-verbal language
– a look, a mood, a different angle of placing a paw, a whine or a yap, or just the general demeanour? We are communicative beyond communication, but will you recognise all our signs? Our joys, likes, fears, indisposition, comfort, discomfort, little wickedness should not be something you can’t handle just because you haven’t bothered about passing this part of the test.
Q4. Do you understand, truly understand, the degree of commitment involved? It is a relationship that will last at least a dozen years, more if you are lucky. You can’t just snap your fingers and wish us gone once the jets and spray from mouth and rear drown you or we are in the way. There will be those holidays that cannot be family holidays because someone has to stay behind for us, that relocation that will have to be reconsidered because the spot is not dog-friendly, that choice to be made about time and energy due to us rather than to an extra assignment. Some sub-questions for further comprehension and assessment:
(a) It is cold and the bed warm or last night’s party was awesome! But it is wakey-wakey time by our body clock at our regular time for the morning walk. What do you do?
(b) You are just about ready to step out for some pub-hopping with friends when it is obvious we are under the weather. Do you dial a cab to take you to the pub or reach for the car keys to drive to the vet?
(c) The new sweater will truly make you look dashing or svelte, but peak winter is approaching and we have outgrown our puppy sweater-coats. What do you break your piggy bank for?
Q5. Do you know we are expensive? We don’t understand what humans call ‘money’ but we do gather that you have to make provisions for us in your budget. It is not just food,
which we need a balanced quantity and quality of. We need our vitamins and supplements, our grooming (even at home, not necessarily a ritzy spa), our vaccinations, things to keep us warm in the winter and perhaps cool in the summer. We can sometimes fall ill, and you know what medical expenses can be these days.
Q6. Do you have the heart? This is one of those questions in the exam that cannot be assessed in numbers. It is a qualitative assessment. This part of the test aims to judge whether you have the heart to respect us as individuals and personalities in our own right rather than robots programmed to suit your desires and convenience.
We will be obedient (if you have passed Q2) but there will be times when we choose not
to be, when we will want to go for another run instead of letting you watch that film, when we turn jealous of the laptop on your lap meant for us and take a swipe at it, when we want to sleep at a time you want to play, when we nibble at the legs of your chairs out of sheer boredom. You may want a softie but end up with a stubborn ‘un. On the other hand, you may want a brave one but end up with one startled by any sudden noise and brave enough to bark only when you accompany it to the source of the sound. So, do you have the heart to love and accept, and not be disappointed and show it? Do you have the heart to be firm when we want you to be, to be indulgent when you can be, to be calm when we are scared and ill?
This is one exam in which if you cheat, you are cheating yourself. Because you cannot cheat us. We, the higher evolved beings, can tell. The tragedy is even if we do know you are cheating, it is we who suffer at the end of it all. All those ill-fated canines who are leading a miserable existence in their so-called homes or have been abandoned in parks and streets are evidence of human failure. The failure of humans to be honest or realistic in this DYDUD exam. Do take the test before taking us in. Only honestly passing the Do You Deserve Us Dogs exam will ensure the happiest ever bond you can be blessed with in life.