Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy to see you!

There's nothing quite like the welcome of a dog. Especially if the dog is the aloof Afghan, a lean, tall, sliver-grey hound who runs at you in a graceful lope, hair flapping, mouth gaping in a doggy grin. She stops dead in front of me and gazes deeply in to my eyes, radiating friendliness. There's no rough jumping, horseplay, or sloppy kisses from this well-bred, well trained, elegant dog.

Her name is Ariel and she is a senior dog. Her original owner has left her in the care of my daughter, who has known her from a pup. It's a great pairing. My daughter has had an enduring passion for Afghans, but has never dared to take the step to ownership. She is acutely aware of the responsibility involved. Ariel is a sweet-tempered and gentle animal. At this stage of life she lives to eat and sleep. She does not care for doggy confrontations, walking away from other silly dogs. She mooches for treats, steals if she can. And she sleeps, picking out her spot on the couch.

My daughter, steeped in doggy training lore, was stymied. She should not have allowed Ariel on the couch; that's an Alpha move. She should not have allowed treats from the table.

But Ariel is a senior dog, and well trained. If you ask her to move, she is happy to comply. She is tired, she is sore. She is happiest mooching a little treat or going for a little walk, not too strenuous. How can you turn down an old girl like that, the few treats she enjoys?

As I said, Ariel is normally aloof. She is loyal and friendly to her family, but not overly demonstrative even then. This is the Afghan way. I am touched that she has included me in her extended family. It may help that more and more I surrender to her charm and rush to the ice-box to see if I have a scrap of beef or chicken that she might enjoy. This might explain her delicate and whiskery greeting as she thoroughly sniffs my hand.

What impact could we have on our own families, if we took a few moments of our day to let them know, body and soul, how happy we are to see them?

Here's a link to my daughter's doggy matching service: