Tuesday, July 31, 2007

brave dog

When one of my dogs hears a strange noise in the house she barks and then leaps up and races over to investigate. The same thing happens if one dog is somewhere else in the house and starts barking, the other dog charges over to get involved.

I don't know if I admire her courage. My instinct when confronted with danger is to avoid, if possible, and at least be cautious. The difference, I suspect, is that I know what kinds of dangers might be indicated by a strange noise in the house, and I know that there are situations where I'm not capable of protecting myself. My dog doesn't know that kind of danger. She's never read a newspaper story about crime and violence, and she's never had an experience where a strange noise turned out to be something actually dangerous. Perhaps to her a strange noise couldn't possibly come from anything except a UPS man with a package, or a mis-behaving squirrel in the yeard.

Or perhaps she does understand the danger but from an instinct of duty, or love, or pride, instantly moves to put herself between the danger and the family (the pack) she loves. Or perhaps it's a strong sense of call she feels, "this is what I'm here to do," or even a sense of identity, "this is who I am," that motivates her fearlessness. "I'm the one who races in while the other ones wait to see what I find."

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