Annually at graduation time we take pleasure in re-blogging Zora’s advice on human puppy raising.
Every year at this time humans come in looking for graduation gifts. Apparently their puppies, or their sister’s puppies, or the puppies of a friend–humans have such odd kinship systems–are graduating. It is a time of great consternation for the whole human pack.
It all seems a bit artificial to me. Take that kinship system of who has to buy presents for whom: we canines have instincts for a reason, and we’re not much bothered about the rules beyond that. You either smell good or you don’t; you wag your tail and are friendly, or you’re a growler. Blood doesn’t matter–unless it’s about to get spilled.
But then, I’m a dog, not a human, so maybe I haven’t got enough of that “schooling” element.
That’s the other part of the “graduation” ritual that strikes me as odd. I understand that the human puppies have done something that took a lot of time and was quite expensive, but we canines know that it takes a whole lifetime to absorb the learning that goes with being alive. In my experience, those that don’t keep learning get run over on the highway. Or left behind in a move. You have to stay ahead of those noises you hear in the distance. Ears up, nose into the wind.
There’s another part of the ritual I don’t understand. We bitches love our babies all the time; they get licks and snuggles and we sing them lullabies when nobody’s around. I know humans love their puppies too, but they seem to wait for special occasions to say so. Every day alive is a special occasion for us. We call it “every dog has his day.”
Then there’s that weird thing humans do where they run around each other–or run away from each other–looking for love. In my experience, love comes when you’re sitting down minding your own business. Someone scratches you behind the ears, you look into each others’ eyes, and you got a home. Just don’t go messing it up by barking when a little kiss will do the trick.
And one last thing. There are no books that will stuff into a pup’s head in one sitting all the things they haven’t got by now. In our world, we say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The time to tell ’em what they need to hear is all those years you’ve got ’em around the food bowl – kitchen table, I think y’all call it. Those toss-off evenings that tick by one by one, racing past ’cause you’ve got places to go: THOSE are the nights that count. Once they get old enough to go out on their own, they aren’t gonna listen any more. So get their ears full while they’re still wet behind ’em.
That’s what I’d say if humans could hear me. But y’know, they usually can’t, so never mind. And to all you puppies out there leaving the school, here’s my advice: keep your ears up, scratch when it itches, stick with the love you find, and don’t get run over.
LOVE this! My husband and I, in our mid-70’s, have been married only 2 and 1/2 years. When I read this, I knew I had to forward it to him! What a wise little doggie wrote this!
Congrats on your marriage!
Zora, you took the words right out of my mouth!
Ummm, is that… sanitary? *thumps tail*
This week, on the 13th, my husband and I are bringing two friends with us to visit your delightful bookstore. Will we get to meet Zora? and you, of course? Nancy and I have loved your The Little Bookstore at Big Stone Gap and can’t wait to soak in the ambience of its birthplace!
Zora will be here. I will be here after lunch, I think.
If you’re planning to eat in the cafe, have Kelley call me when you arrive. We’ll look forward to meeting you!