Pets don’t come with instruction manuals but owners don’t need one to decode their furry friends’ emotions. As I tiptoe down the stairs at 6 in the morning and I nestle on the sofa between my dogs, I know that Ottie’s tongue showering my face is a sign of affection and Portia’s head in my lap signifies comfort and trust.
I only have myself to blame for over scheduling my time. Partly, it’s the life of the freelance, taking work when it comes, as inconvenient as it might be. But partly, it’s me, saying yes to all manners of things that are interesting and then end up piling up on each other. It’s also Spring, and I have come back to life, after a hermit Winter. So, if I can get to the end of Friday, I am planning a weekend of nothing much: dogs, yoga, books, mindless videos and general laziness. Starting with this post.
Looking at Portia now, peacefully napping on her bed, the mischief that is perpetually swirling in her brain is not apparent. Yet, that scoundrel, aided and abetted by her brother, Ottie, have caused their share of havoc. Neither of them has ever chewed shoes or furniture, and long ago I learnt the trick of scattering a couple of cardboard boxes with a small treat inside before leaving the house, to be sure I will return to everything as I (mostly) left it.
It’s been a fortnight full of images: March’s international magazines are downloaded onto my iPad, hard copies of my favourite SA magazines sit in my bedside table, online mags arriving and Facebook is full of interesting bits and bobs. Sometimes I wonder if I cram too much into my brain – retrieving the information is becoming harder every day. I am toying with the idea of limiting how much I read, scan, absorb and interact with. Which gives rise to a host of inner-chatter: But how will you limit it? And what if you miss something you need to see? Will that even matter in six months time? Maybe your brain isn’t even overstuffed – maybe it is the stuff you’re stuffing it with, ever think about that? Maybe you are just getting really old. All questions that I am sure I could address thoroughly if only someone would send me to a sun lounger in the Seychelles for a month. Until then – here are the (5) things that resonated with me and my addled brain this week.
During those moments of procrastination or weakness, I can be found clicking away on the site of the boxer adoption shelter where Ottie and Portia came from. I scroll through the photos of all available boxers, read the cleverly cobbled together stories under their fictitious names and brood, thinking that I should be giving another dog a chance at a better life. I have the space, and cranky Ottie could be coaxed into loving a brother. What stops me every time is the thought of footing more veterinary bills. It’s not that my dogs have been sicker than most but it does feel like veterinary care has become unaffordable, at least in the States.
We know for a fact that animals experience a range of feelings, from sadness and mourning, to happiness and contentment but, unlike us, animals don’t experience self-pity, as D.H. Lawrence eloquently and bluntly expressed in his poem Self Pity:
I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.