Just pondering; A dog is.
Canis lupus familiaris – our dog. History has put us together; kindred hearts keep us there. The dog has the unique opportunity to educate humans; not all humans will open up to this exclusive event; this loss is theirs alone. But for those who are willing; those who allow another species to participate in their constant evolution, these are the humans who will be forever changed. The culmination of canine and human creates a more compassionate human when the human truly connects with the dog concerned.
The canine life starts quickly; at the early age of 8-12 weeks they are whisked away from their litter and placed into a new and strange environment. There is a lot of pressure on us as guardians to get it right; it’s not always easy but we find a way to make it work. Those tiny minds come to us looking for guidance, leadership, trust, companionship and patience. It often boggles my mind as I work with a new puppy; just how much that fresh new mind can absorb. We take an animal of an entirely different species and we mold it to fit into our human world; pretty amazing when you think about it. They quickly learn life lessons; how to reside in a home, how to get along with humans and how to basically behave appropriately in a human world. I will often sit back and think to myself as I am working with a new puppy “man this dog has only be alive for 2 months or 3 months.” How can such a young creature learn so much in such a short time frame?
Dogs pretty much fit it anywhere they are needed or wanted. You have the high performance competitors; the therapy dogs that have guardians who want to help others and people who cannot see who rely on a canine. There are dogs work long hard days keeping other animals in line for their guardians, dogs who fight alongside with police and military personnel, dogs that help people with their day to day life. Whether it is a seizure alert dog, a hearing dog, a Seeing Eye dog or a service dog; they are always there to help.
We go back along way with our dogs. Since the very beginning of man and dog, man has been manipulating the genetic make-up of the Canis lupus familiaris to better suit their needs. Breeding specific dogs in the beginning to enhance certain behavior traits, dogs that showed superior hunting abilities, dogs that were more human friendly etc. But the manipulation quickly changed to one of exterior as well as interior; and there arose the different “breeds” fledge. Many of today’s biggest fans are on a constant quest to find perfection. Humans delve in the mystery of the visually perfect canine; the never ending manipulation of genetic DNA; trying to perfect perfection itself. Many are now at a point of repair.
From the humble beginnings; our dogs are the direct ancestor of the gray wolf. Very few resemble the
amazingly beautiful wolf now; all but a few have been transformed and mutated into dogs that have no similar appearance to the wolf from where they once came. Desirable traits were pulled and these dogs bred to create more suitable dogs to live with. With different classes of humans came the vast varieties of desirable canine traits both behavioral and aesthetically. And so with human intervention we are left with some dogs that are smaller than cats; dogs that have pushed in faces who have respiratory problems, dogs with so many wrinkles that they have skin health issues, long dogs with back problems, stout dogs who can barely move, huge dogs with short life spans and dogs who can barely reproduce themselves.
It is sad to see the state of some breeds now; perhaps we should look to the ancestor of our canines for guidance.