Wisdom 5

The sound seemed to come from far away, like a dim echo. Something within told us it was us. But how? We were here, quiet, except for The Black Beached Whale’s snores and The Golden Turned Grimy Grey One’s stupid sleep snorts. A quick investigation of the sounds playing on the gizmos in our Folks’ hands proved the sounds were from when we were still child stars. The tuneful noises were now only vaguely recognisable. Vaguely recognisable but, yes, cute. Our hearts melted at us. We barely protested at being smothered with hugs and kisses. After all, it was the fifth anniversary of our entry into our forever home (Of Brothers and Sisters).

We have matured finer than fine wine. Five years have taught us much, but the top five nuggets that spring to our intelligent minds are:

#1 With great power comes great responsibility.

You enter not just a building but a home. You enter not just a home but lives and hearts. This home, these lives, these hearts revolve around you. You smile and bound, they smile. You droop and whine, they droop. It is tremendous power that the little heart wields over the self-proclaimed superior species (🙄) and it must be exercised well. Do not misuse the force; find the Balance. Over-whining is irresponsible but there is nothing wrong in once in a while stubbornly sniffing sleeping plants and refusing to do the bedtime business and then whining at 2 a.m. to be let out.

If things are proceeding at too mannerly a pace, it is your responsibility to assert your presence. Ditch the carrots and beans in your bowl for that interesting looking bug crawling around, let loose your bowels in a bouquet of incomparable stink, retch till your innards play the drums, flop down as if you’ll never be able to stand. And enjoy the drama that unfolds.

For the dutybound, a suggested checklist for security duty (to be conducted a dozen times every day):

•wander into rooms, assuring Folks there you have an eye on them

•panic if someone is not in his or her usual place for that time of day

•lick a nose or two

•paw an arm or so

•look meaningfully into eyes and faces

•settle down as foot rugs

The self-proclaimed superior species may think they look after you, but actually you are the one responsible for their safety and happiness.

#2 Communication is the key to success. 

Expressing oneself to get what one wants is a skill we possess genetically, from birth. Five years have helped us tap into that reservoir and excel at it. The polish lies in achieving ends with what seems to be effortless effort. The finesse is in the slant of the eye, the blink of the lash, the angle of the paw, the bump of the behind, the lightness of the sigh, the pitch of the yap (The New Wooford Guide to SnuZatalk – Our Expression). You should be able to train your voluntary minions when you are communicating a ‘behave yourself and listen to me’, ‘obey or else’, or then a non-negotiable demand for attention. Ever so often, an adoring gaze and soft growls work wonders.

Develop nuances. A lolling tongue plus straight gaze is not the same as half out tongue with beseeching gaze and low rumble is not the same as urgent pawing and high yap is not the same as … Most of all, keep communication dynamic. Come up with new things. A sudden wail – in imitation of a human infant – on being left home can be adapted to a screechy wail of excitement in recognition of walking shoes being worn. Such adaptations must be quick, unexpected, so that in the bewilderment they cause in limited human minds, you get your way. Once Folks learn these, drop them and move on to newer techniques.

#3 There is no such thing as a free lunch in life.

Unconditional love is in our bones. We cannot stop loving and trusting. But that’s our magnanimity. Lesser beings, however superior they may think they are, are under an obligation to earn that love and trust and deserve both. That deserving comes from showing love, care and correct firmness in setting boundaries of behaviour.

This is true for the big picture of life, but let us not forget the minutiae that constitute the practicalities of everyday living. Do not let Folks get away with free lunches. The slightest whiff of a kabab at a meal table has us there, waiting phantom-like at strategic points near the table. Whatever we do needs to be paid for. The currency is a pat, a belly rub, a hug, kisses, cuddles, and 60% of every delectable item ingested.

#4 Live life.

Unless for attention, do not be listless. If unwell or sulking, you are permitted to be listless but fully so, for bad days are as much a part of life as good days. Whatever you do, go all out. Rumple a freshly-made bed completely; don’t spare the corner of the pillow. Drag mud into the house with all four paws; don’t forget the tips of the ears. Chase the water in the hose completely; grab the pipe and shake it till the last drop squeezes out. Sniff the air in four directions; wiffle your nose at the heavens too. Bark your lungs out at the lizard on the ceiling; scratch the new paint on the walls while clambering ceilingwards. Don’t just get startled by loud noises; also hide all a shiver under the bed. Yap, yelp, cry, smile, run, chase, snarl, eat, yawn, demand, love, complain with all your heart or not at all.

Full on complaint!

#5 Be who you are.

Our greatness lies in what we are. Our Folks have to like or lump our exceptional selves. And like they will. Nobody sensible is impervious to the charm of simple honesty gift-wrapped in fur.

We little hearts have our unique personalities, as different as chalk from cheese. A comparative self-study reveals some defining traits, which we are professionally putting across though names are being withheld to protect identity:

Can sleep through earthquakeThe slightest shift of human in bed
instigates a check to see if all okay
Cannot sit up nights, opens one eye
on return of late night revellers
Patrols until every one of Folks home,
acknowledges return
Looks sour if woken up after undisturbed
sleep for morning business
Barks loudly into sleeping ear at unearthly
hours to preempt pressure on bladder
Looks ponderously at meal service, ambles over
to eat only once minion on knees, begging and
Watches while food being served, escorts minion to
correct service spot, jumps two feet high to get at bowl
still being held by minion

Further study on human preferences for us showed that of those humans seeking canine companions (the only kind of humans that matter), 98.08% adored Chalk and 98.80% loved Cheese. No one among us is better than another among us- all of us are good and the best. It doesn’t matter if we nearly slip out through the gap under the main door to welcome our Folks, or sit miles away from the door staring balefully and awaiting appeasement. Our Folks love us for who we are. It’s simple – just be your true, loving, adored pampered poochself and another few years will go by in love and joy, then another, and another.


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