BLOGS Ask the Animal Expert ASK ANNIE ABOUT ANIMALS: December 2016

Dear Readers:

Each month you get to ask me a question, but this month I’ve decided I’ll be the one asking the questions. I’m going to interview my dog Zephyr, the one you see pictured with me each month. So here goes.

Annie: These are very stressful times for many of us human beings. At times like this I envy dogs like you. You don’t seem to have a care in the world.

Zephyr: Annie, you know better than to say that. You know we pick up on your stress and that makes us stressful too. But I will admit we dogs don’t create as much stress for ourselves because we don’t think as much as you humans. For us dogs, paying attention is more important than thinking. And smelling is more important than seeing.

A: One of the things stressing me right now is change. A lot of people say they want change. How do you view change?

Z: It depends. When you’re scratching my belly, I don’t want change. If my leg were caught in a steel-jawed trap I’d want change pretty damn quick! Change is inevitable; it’s built into the universe. But man-made change is overrated. For instance, some people think they need to change up their dog’s food or else he’ll get tired of the same old thing. Wrong! We like routine. It feels comfortable. Like you humans say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

A: There seems to be a lot of divisiveness these days. A lot of people are focused on how we’re different from each other rather than on how we’re the same. How do dogs feel?

Z: Are you kidding? We dogs are all about differences. Have you ever seen a Chihuahua standing next to a Great Dane? And yet deep inside we’re all the same; we’re all dogs.

The funny thing is, you humans think you’re smarter than us, but you’re the ones who can’t get along with each other. There was one of you though, a wise man named Krishnamurti, who got it right. He said: “As long as there is division, there must be conflict.”

A: Wow, you’re getting all profound on me. Any other wisdom you want to impart?

Z: Once upon a time there were these dogcatchers going around picking up dogs and taking them to pounds where they were killed. First they came for the pitbulls, but I did not bark, because I was not a pitbull. Then they came for the Rottweilers, but I didn’t bark because I’m not a Rottweiler. Then they came for the German Shepherds, and once again I did not bark because, well, you know. Finally, there was no one left to bark when they came for me.

A: That’s darkly beautiful. But we need to lighten up. Seen any good TV lately?

Z: Well, like I told you, I’m more into smelling than seeing. But I do like beautiful pictures, and there’s no more beautiful sight than that of planet earth as seen from outer space. Funny thing is, when I look at it I see clouds and oceans, and mountains and rivers, whereas you humans are always talking about borders and walls. As hard as I’ve tried to look, I just can’t see them. Maybe it’s because they’re not really there.

A: Thank you, Zephyr. You’ve made my day.


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