I had a whimsical thought this morning, which is pretty amazing for a man lying on floorboards with back pain. It wasn’t the thought that was amazing; it was the fact that my brain could find enough space to process anything at all but pain!
Being a dog must be like living with the gods of Ancient Greece or Rome.
Dogs know they are radically different in kind from their humans. Some sentimental dog owners believe their dogs are human, but dogs aren’t that stupid. Male dogs will hump anything (that’s men for you!), but the females show absolutely no desire to have our babies. In all areas, except hand dexterity, thinking and talking, they are our superiors. They can run faster than us, smell and hear better than us, fight better than us. In one-to-one combat we wouldn’t stand a chance.
In Britain, at least, a dog will convince a felon on the run to surrender more effectively than a policeman or a helicopter.
They choose to live with us because we are Gods, of the Greek, unpredictable kind.
If they propitiate us, food and water and sweet things will arrive from heaven. It is difficult to always know what will please the gods, because the gods are so capricious, but a skilled dog soon has it cracked. Don’t crap on the carpet. Wag your tail whenever a God approaches. Don’t bite the baby. Do tricks and be cute. These are the new commandments, brought down from the bedroom by the doggy Moses.
Successful dogs watch their humans closely. They learn to read the signs, just like the Oracles of Delphi – the putting on of a certain coat, the movement to a cupboard, the sound of an engine, or the smell of chocolate. All these things bring incomprehensible and unexplained changes.. If there is a smell of chocolate, the gods are pleased; if there is unexplained and sudden shouting like thunder, the gods are displeased. Bow low and make obeisance, and the chocolate smell might come back.
This is probably how human society works, as well. So remember, when you are made redundant, or when a war happens in your neighbourhood, make obeisance and the chocolate smell might come back!