Mrs. Dada attended a non-violence workshop Saturday and Sunday, leaving me to run wild. So I watched a little basketball and football on TV, did some reading on the Web and in the newspaper, putzed around a bit in the yard and still had time to shop for shoes made in China!
I did read one interesting article in the paper. Apparently, through the diligent observations of U.S. researchers, elephants have now joined the elite group of animals that have self-awareness! Formerly this exclusive club was limited to we humans, the great apes and bottlenose dolphins.
It was a large mirror that gave it away. (Elephants had only been tested with little mirrors formerly.) Evidence of self-recognition by one elephant before the researcher's mirror was unmistakable.
The article went on to talk of other animal's reactions before a mirror. For example, dogs will react to their image by often looking for the dog behind the mirror. I was so awed at the amazing work these scientists are doing.
On Sunday afternoon, I decided to torment myself by driving over to the Humane Society. I knew I shouldn't, but I thought I was up for a little psyche self-mutilation.
Once there, I noted the usual number of medium sized dogs. Then I visited the "nursery" where the younger dogs and puppies are kept. There weren't a whole lot. I was glad.
You know there's a fair number of dogs that are very cuty and have winsome personalities. But there's always a few you're pretty sure aren't gonna make it outta there alive. Some are scruffy and not easy to look at. And there are some who haven't had a very good life and, as a result, they're angry. Flashing teeth and growling, I cringe and say something like, "Oooh, dear one, I'm so sorry. Please try to smile more. And wag your tail. Please wag your tail more." If only those could have gone to the anger management workshop with Mrs. Dada this weekend. Who knows? It could mean the difference between life and death.
The large dogs, the older dogs, have it extra hard. "They're losers" we most often hear from those working with shelter animals. That's because people prefer younger, smaller, cuter. Odds for big dogs aren't near as good as for puppies. I guess that's why I was most interested in seeing the big guys this day.
I was happy to see about half the large dog kennels unoccupied. Maybe that's because some were out in the exercise yards. But I didn't get to see all the big dogs. That's because the second or third one I came to was Kaysie. Kaysie was a gorgeous lab-shepard mix. Reason she was abandoned simply read "Moving." As I looked in at beautiful but timid Kaysie, she stared back, trembling uncontrollably.
I tried to imagine what Kaysie might be thinking. Maybe something like, "Where'd my family go?" "Why'd they bring me here?" "When they coming back?" "ARE they coming back?"
Kaysie was so frightened and as I knelt down and spoke to her softly, she started toward me, then retreated. I thought about her family who gave her up. We have a lot of military here. When transferred overseas, taking the family pet isn't always an option. Maybe that was Kaysie's plight.
I had to stop there because I sensed the water welling up in my eyes. There might be more Kaysies further down the line. Other people were present and I'd left home without a handkerchief.
I quickly headed back to the car and, as I did, I had one happy thought about Kaysie. "Thank god she hasn't self-awareness." Maybe she thinks this is all happening to some other dog.