Episode #2 In the begining there was (a) dog...

Episode #2  In the begining there was (a) dog...

Horses are Horses,

And girls are girls,

But ever the twain shall meet,

For between the two is a bond of love,

Enduring and calm and sweet,

Each loves the other and learns to know,

That on each can the other depend,

So they ride in love and they ride in joy,

Till the shadows mark the days end.

~ Dr. Max Flickinger

My grandfather wrote that for me many years ago when I was I horse crazy girl. But with some slight adjustments I think it will work for the dog crazy woman I am now.

Last time I wrote that my current dog, Pono is my Kumu, my source, But actually my grandparents were my original kumus.  They were way ahead of their time when it came to how to treat animals and how to think about animals. My grandparents were vegetarians because they strongly felt it was wrong to kill an animal to eat it. They never said it exactly but it was understood that animals have souls just like people. That animals feel pain just like people. In fact this was so ingrained in my mind I was taken aback when I got older and learned that many people don't think animal have souls. Or that animal don't feel pain. I guess that thinking absolves them for killing animals.

When I look back now I realize how amazing this was, reading this you may think my grandparents were hippies, it was the 60s after all, but they were complete opposite of hippies. Politically conservative  religious ministers, in fact.

I remember my grandfather explaining to me what hamburger came from and how the cow must have felt before it gave up its life to feed people. That conversation was an integral part in shaping the adult I eventually came to be.

They had a little spaniel named Taffy, Taffy was the most patient dog I have ever met. And we were a bonded pair, she and I. I would lay next to her on the floor for hours, petting her and looking in her soulful brown eyes. We would go for walks at the nearby horse stables. We had so many adventures there, But those are stories for another post.

When I got a little older I decided to "train" Taffy. I had been reading books, fiction books but they were about horses and dogs, because what else is there  to do in the sixtys at your grandparents house? 

I had no idea what the dog training world was like then but I knew what I did had to be completely positive. Because that's what Grandpa said and Grandpa was the source of all knowledge. And it felt right. I taught Taffy with Milkbone dog biscuits. Milkbones being the only dog treat in the house. I taught her to sit, At least I think I did, maybe she already knew that? I taught her 'stay' and nearly gave my Grandfather a coronary when I proudly, confidently, tried to show him our new skill in the middle of a busy gas station. Taffy did brilliantly, Grandpa sorta panicked and made me pick up Taffys leash.  We were amazed that one time when Taffy did break her 'stay'. It was to chase a cat that had wandered onto our...I mean her, lawn. We were amazed at her speed and at that she stopped at the edge of our lawn as if she hit a wall.

So it was ingrained in me as a very young girl that every living being has a soul and deserves kindness, how could it not be after years of watching my grandparents who would catch a spider in the house and set it free outside?

Dogs are dogs,

and people are people,

But ever the twain shall meet,

For between the two is a bond of love,

Enduring and kind and sweet,

Each loves the other, and learns to know,

That on each can the other depend,

So they train in love and they play in joy,

Till the shadows mark the days end.

~By Lisa Peer, inspired by Dr. Max Flickinger and Taffy



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  • Ronda Dennis-Smithart - October 16, 2022

    HI Lisa-I was touched by your memories. I too was greatly influenced by my grandparents.

  • gail - February 18, 2022

    Hi Lisa, What beautiful memories of your grandfather and the values he instilled in you.

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