Many people get dogs, especially German Shepherds like Cassie, because they want protection. They want a big dog bark when someone comes to the door or they want to know that when they go walking late at night no one is going to bother them. A lot of people attend special training with their dogs to bring out those protective instincts or even send them away to special “guard dog” school. I’ve always been of the mind that if you train your dog with love, that dog will love you right back and will instinctively learn when you need protecting.
Cassie is spoiled rotten. Some might say that removes her need to guard and protect. She is also a huge people person and loves nothing more than having someone come to visit so she can jump up and down for nose tackles and butt scratches and do the wiggle worm dance. When the doorbell rings and it is someone she knows on the other side, it’s like watching a comedy show. She KNOWS she is supposed to go to her rug where she can see the front door but I have enough room to open the door and let the person in before she says hello. She does it, reluctantly, sitting on her rug, wiggling in place, with that little high pitched welcoming sound she makes that gets faster and faster until I release her to say hello.
But when someone comes to the door that she doesn’t know, it’s different. Before I even open the door she knows there is a stranger there. She barks a lower bark, not alarm bark yet but one that tells me to come check this out. She waits on her rug without wiggling or whining, watching while I open the door. I haven’t trained her to do anything but go to her rug when the doorbell rings. The distinctions are hers alone. And I have not trained her to do anything if I were to open the door to a threat but I have no doubt that if I reacted afraid of what was on the other side, she would do something to protect me.
I can fool myself and say that my backyard is for wildlife but really, it’s for Cassie. The birds and other critters can do what they want in the front yard but out back Cassie rules and she decides who gets to hang around. Birds and bees and butterflies are all welcome as long as they don’t mind her nosing around. The doves can hang out on the log while she is napping, working on her suntan. Even the squirrels are tolerated with little concern. But of late in the evenings around 9pm, there has been a possum popping up over the fence in the corner of the yard. Cassie has charged the fence again and again telling the possum it is not welcome here. On Monday for some reason the possum decided to come out in the daytime. Cassie was in the house but she charged the patio door with an alarm bark so loud I expected to see a hoard of masked criminals with guns waiting under the maple tree.
But no, what I saw was this.
I love your OF DOG AND WRITING posts.
I would have worried about rabies. We have had a problem with raccoons wandering around during the day, and they have been rabid… good girl Cassie! and I am glad she didn’t get hurt.
Thanks! I am really enjoying writing them and finding the connections.
Yes, I would worry about rabies here too! I’m glad she came back when I called her off because I think she was close to launching herself.
Love the writing, love the work. Then protect what you love.
Thanks for the reminder.
Re: Love the writing, love the work. Then protect what you love.
You’re welcome, Jo.
I needed to remind myself.
I really needed to read these wise words, Susan. Thank you.
(And those are great action shots!) 🙂
You’re welcome. I got a much needed reminder myself.
And thanks on the pics.
I enjoy reading your blog and keeping up with you, but I must admit, your Of Dogs and Writing posts are my very favorite! xoxo
Aw, thanks, Debbi! They are my favorites to do, too.
Love this series!
Susan, I love the story, love the picture, love the dog.
And I know, in my bones, you are a writer. No doubt. And I know how hard that can sometimes be.
We all struggle from time to time but luckily we have friends to rally around us in support.
These are the BEST posts! I hope you are saving these (on real paper and all).
Thanks, Barb. And yes, I am. I hope to be able to deepen them and do something with them someday.
“Sometimes I greet writing like an old friend coming to visit.“
And treat those nay-sayers like Cassie treats that icky-icky possum. (Thanks SO much for the pic–I hate those things!)
And may I say, as someone who (working for my folks) saw WAY too many people getting dogs for WAY too many bad reasons, I love you and Cassie!
The thing about crowding sixty is my realization that I’m probably a failure in most eyes, that for all my passion I’m not very good at writing. I certainly learned at a criminally late age what others get decades earlier.
But I can’t not, so I go back to my teenage defense, when asked, “Why do you waste time on that scribbling?”
“Hey. Cheap hobby.”
Yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it? We can’t not.
You touch a lot of lives. Not just with your books and stories but also with your blog and the way you create conversations that get people not only talking, but thinking and that’s always a good thing.
Eyes that see that as a failure are blind.
Alas that those eyes belong to editors! *g*
Well, thank you for a thought provoking post, and images of a loving dog–two pluses!
And I guess, like dogs, all of us writers have our own way of doing things.
My very (not) protective golden, Gypsy, watched a groundhog waddle across in front of her and into our garage. Two hours later, Gypsy decided it was safe enough to start barking out a warning about the evil groundhog invader.
Thanks and funny story about Gypsy. I love all the variety of dog personalities.
I think OF DOGS AND WRITING is a manuscript. You might want to lock them.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I would like to think so but even if I lock them now they are all out in the Googlefield.
Plus I remember my adult agent telling me that everything thinks they have a writing book in them….
Shoot…such a hard call.
Great posts and love the photos!
Protect what you love – yes.
Hi to the possum and baby!
P.S. I posted Poetry Friday early:
So, the little list says you’re our host for Poetry Friday this week. And I’m for bed, and maybe not around in the morning (we’ll see). So here’s my link, okay? http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/427330.html
“Sometimes someone who supposedly loved me has said something so cutting that I wondered what made me ever think I could write at all.”
This reminded me of a recent conversation about editors, mentors, and the people we desire to satisfy, if not impress. I spoke of an old friend who knows my writing. She doesn’t know *writing* inasmuch as she isn’t well-read or a writer herself. She simply knows my writing.
There’s something terrifying about having an avid reader of comic books point to the very spot on a page where I’d lost interest in what I was saying. Her hard-lemonade and ripped jeans reality always found a way to make my words seem overdressed and tacky.
When she told me I was fooling myself to think I knew anything about life or writing, it cut deeply and ached like a bruised bone.
The day I found the grace to understand why she said what she did and accept the applicable parts, I found that words began to flow more easily. Perhaps she knew what would happen all along?