Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Looking for a Partner
Dogs have intrigued me from the very beginning. Even as a child I found something fundamentally civilized about dogs and people living and working together. I remember studying my Child Craft Encyclopedia of Dogs from cover to cover several times over. I could name dozens of breeds on sight or by description, tell you what they were used for, and where they came from. I knew what made a dog different from a wolf. I could retell the countless stories I read of heroic dogs through the ages. Perhaps children feel this more keenly than adults but there was something about having a partner tailored for a united purpose that was immensely satisfying. Boy, did I ever want a dog.
We had a few growing up. Our first dog, Prince (named after Prince Charming from Sleeping Beauty), was really my father's dog. Now, as an adult, I understand that an 8 year old cannot possibly be fully responsible for training and caring for an animal as needy as a dog but at the time I felt a disconnect with Prince because of my lack of involvement. He was a hyper Springer Spaniel that spent most of his life outside and not very engaged with the family. Springer's are also in the sporting group.
Now, I know every dog is different but let's be honest, we all identify more acutely with some over others be it for looks or personality and the sporting group is just one I've never been able to get excited about. I'm not a hunter (I don't object to it... it's just not where I get my kicks). The idea of chasing something through the woods is just not my idea of a good time so how can I expect a creature that has been developed over centuries to think hunting is the only way to spend their day to be on the same page as me? I think it's a bit unrealistic. The herding group however, is something I can get on board with. This is a rounded, all-purpose, group of farm dogs that think independently as well as work closely with their humans, do a little light guarding, and pride themselves on a job well done. Sign me up for one of those. Of course, this group isn't without it's downsides but that's another blog.