Oliver and his big feet.
Meet Oliver my ten week old long-haired German Shepherd puppy. He already weighs 25 pounds, is busy, chews on everything and everyone, is brave, somewhat fearless and really loves to sleep in his water dish. He has the biggest feet I have ever seen on a puppy at his age. They are bigger than the palm of my hand.
It is beginning to seem that his personality is a lot like my dog Walter who passed away in December. Walter as many of you know was a heathen…always doing something he should not. I adored my Walter. It was always OK that Walter was a heathen and Truman, our white German Shepherd, was such a calm and good boy. Individual differences is what makes life in this house interesting. (If you would like to know more about Walter, his obituary is on this blog.)
While it is always exciting to get something new–especially a puppy. The is no less love for the old. Truman our nine-year-old German Shepherd was quite put out when Oliver entered our lives. At first he would not be on the same floor of the house as the puppy.
would growl each time the puppy got too close to him when they were inside or outside or when Oliver touched a toy that Truman claimed as his own.
After only two weeks of having to “deal” with the puppy, Truman has decided that they will be buddies provided that Oliver understands that in our pack pecking order he is on the bottom. It is really cute to watch the puppy follow Truman around the backyard like a shadow. If Truman gets too far ahead of Oliver he stops and waits for him to catch up. Yesterday, Truman actually woke the puppy up from a nap, to go outside to play. It is nice to have our pack hierarchy amicably worked out.
Now the boy’s relationship is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are still many times a day that Oliver acts out in a way that Truman feels is not in the best interest of the pack. There is still a growl from the old guy and repentance from the pup. Oliver’s behavior changes as learns what behaviors are acceptable and which are not…the beginning of wisdom.
Sometimes I think I love dogs more that people. They are loyal, loving, empathetic and respect the other member’s of the packs boundaries. Each dog in the pack has its place, and is governed by a strong leader who guards their territory, protects the weaker members of the pack from the abuses of the world and the more dominant members of the pack.
It has occurred to me that throughout history the laws and governments of man were really not much different from those of a dog pack. The strong ruled the weak to bring stability to human community and interaction. Where people differ from dogs is that the strong then preyed on the weak to consolidate their own power and wealth.
Throughout history whenever the human pack runs amok, people, just like dogs, look for a strong new leader. Not necessarily a smart or moral leader, but someone who will bring calm to societal chaos real or perceived through whatever means necessary. Some of the world’s worst dictators have risen during just such times of human crisis or opportunity depending on your perspective.
This current election cycle seems like one of those times in history where the candidates are less motivated by commonsense and the common good, than they are by their thirst for power, support for special interests and use of divisive politics. Nobody it seems is trying to keep the “pack” together and so we are becoming a nation who no longer works together for the common good, but whether politically aligned with the right or left glories in pointing out each and every difference, refusing to even consider the other side’s position on an issue and then ending a discussion before it even begins by calling anyone and everyone who disagrees haters, bigots, and racists.
This policy of shaming and name calling has reached extremes that would have been unimaginable even two years ago. In a nation that values free speech almost daily there is a story in the media about someone who has lost their job, not for something they did on the job, but for comments they made away from the workplace. Do we really want a nation of speech police? That cannot possibly be constitutional.
Extreme situations such as these are what is going to drive the average person to look for radical leadership. They are going to look for and vote for a dominant leader to rule, not govern, “the pack.” Only unlike dogs, dominant human leaders rarely look out for the weaker members of the pack…just saying.
Truman the king.