Here's a little something that has been on my mind of late.
Why do we (people AKA "two-leggers") sometimes fail to recognize that a horse is a horse and a dog is a dog, and never shall they be parted?
Right here, me, just as guilty as the rest of coddling my animals, (horse and dog.)
But that's not what I'm talking about.
I don't think that baby talk and snuggles with your animals is an attempt to change who they are. But much of what we people do to our pets is at least a failed recognition of who they are. And, how would "we" feel if someone, let's say... our very best friend in the world... consistently failed to recognize who we really are? **Of course animal "feelings" are a discussion best left for another time, (and maybe I'll go there... some of you have already done some outstanding posts that I probably couldn't compete with, on the subject... but maybe I'll go there yet.)** But here's what I'm saying about who we "are" versus what someone might want us to be.
You are a successful airline pilot. You love your job.
You go to a party with your mother (who's always wanted something different for you than to be a pilot,) and your mother introduces you as her, "successful daughter... the lawyer."
Yes, your mother loves you dearly and knows you well. She has cared for you impeccably your whole life and has your best interest at heart. You would never question her love for you BUT... she doesn't know you... doesn't know who you truly are.
I would like to draw this analogy back to our animal friends.
I think some people, good intentioned as they are... don't truly know the animals they love.
Isn't this what Cesar Milan and Monty Roberts have been telling us for years?
Our horses are herd animals, who as such, find security in a group. God made them to run when they are afraid. To congregate as a group for protection. There is an order with horses that sometimes people try to interfere with. No judgments here, because sometimes what we do to our horses is necessary... especially when they are hurt or ill... but often it is for our own human reasons that we subject them to certain things. Why do we isolate horses, tuck them away in stalls, away from the group on a regular basis? Why do we tell ourselves human dramas and tragedies while making the horse the protagonist of our tale? The struggle in a herd for dominance is a necessary part of being a horse. Allowing a horse to go through it, is vital to who that individual is. Giving a horse room to run when afraid is accepting what the horse is. Attributing human characteristics of jealousy, rage, or deceitfulness does no justice to who the magnificent creature truly be.
Same is true of our dogs. Dogs enjoy the security of a pack. Like horses they must run. And where a horse must forage for survival, a dog must follow his predatory instincts and hunt. Granted we don't necessarily need or want our dogs to hunt in the traditional sense... that's why we have dog food right? :) But, in order to acknowledge who a dog "is" we must indulge that desire in him some way. The dog must be given regular, frequent exercise in order to engage that primal part of him. Of who he is. When dogs pee on our floors and chew up our shoes there is only one reason. They need to run. Of course like horses, we can hide them away in cages and there are times when that is necessary. But when a person keeps a dog locked away in a cage for extended hours, without adequate opportunity to work... they are denying who the dog is.
I sometimes feel so frustrated by the incredible numbers of horses and dogs in shelters!
Of course we can implement selective breeding as a means to avoid the abandonment of animals, but that is only a small piece of the puzzle in my mind. The greatest thing we could do is to realize what animals need for survival. Our horses and dogs need more than food, water and shelter. They need for us to acknowledge who they are, and for us to commit to letting them be who they are, for the rest of their lives.