Illy is my ten and a half year old canine and a special part of our reduced family – the kids are grown and long gone. She’s a mix of a lot of things, but mostly Akita and German Shephard – we had her DNA tested. I devote this blog post to her because I recently was reviewing some older files on my computer and came across this piece that I wrote when I was first learning how to blog. My brother-in-law in Scotland, a blogging maven, was assisting me in getting started and suggested I start a test blog to gain some experience before undertaking ‘Thoughts of a Lapsed Physicist’. I took his advice, started a blog about my dog Illy, and published a few posts that are still available on the web. The post republished below, with some accompanying pictures, is one of those. I can justify its inclusion in this more wonky blog because it involves energy (she has lots of it), water (she consumes and dispenses lots of it), and environment (she spoils some of it). The piece was written after one of the now more than 12,000 times I have walked this amazing dog and I was overwhelmed by my appreciation of this special creature. I will let you judge whether it belongs in this blog.
What I See When I look At My Dog (April 23, 2013)
Guilty as charged – I love my dog. I assume most people love their dogs as well, but I can prove that my dog Illy is the best dog in the world. Having joined our family when only eight weeks old and six pounds in weight, she is now nine and a half years old and our sixty two pound bundle of joy. But I deviate!
My real purpose in writing this piece is to share my occasional thoughts as I walk my dog (well over 10,000 times so far) and look at her as another living creature on this third planet of a humble star. It is also to stimulate some discussion on how others ‘see’ and even talk to their dogs, which I view as infinitely better than talking about sequestration all the time. I will also admit to being a trained scientist who has been exposed to such strange concepts as evolution (which I believe in), global warming and climate change (which I also believe in), and aliens (which I would like to believe in), and therefore I may be biased in forming my judgments, but here goes anyway.
I see a creature with two eyes, two ears, a mouth, a tongue, four limbs, a heart, lungs, and other internal organs that I have as well. My scientific sense tells me that this dog and I are related, distantly perhaps, but related nevertheless, and that it is only the vagaries of genetic mutation over very long time spans (more than I can comprehend) that accounts for our differences and differences with other living species.
I will also admit to talking to my dog, not because I believe she can fully understand what I am saying (although I believe she tries very hard to do so) but because she clearly has a brain that learns words, observes and records behavioral patterns, records smells, and thinks about things in her own way. My best example of her ‘thinking’ is when I walk her at night and ‘ask her’ where she would like to stroll and she hesitates, looks around, and after a bit of what I would call cogitating, heads off in one of her favorite directions (she has four). Talking to her also makes me feel better about getting her to do things which she may not want to do (like going home when it’s cool outside) and I insist. All in all, I feel satisfied and she seems to usually get the message.