When Dogs Are Friends

October 28, 2009

Yesterday Aero went to work with me. I hadn’t taken him for a while, but he’s become so unruly in the evenings that I thought a little more Mom time was just the ticket. He did great. He just loves people so much. We came home in the evening and Pan was in the back yard. Aero ran over to nose him under the gate, then ran through the house and bounced at the backdoor until I let him out. I went out on the porch but I could have been invisible. They greeted each other like they hadn’t seen one another for a year. Pan did a little playful Grrrr! and Aero play bowed and off they bounded. It took about 5 minutes for Pan to come and see me. They were both grinning ear to ear. Happy, happy boys.

These are the same two dogs that can’t be given a rawhide unless at least one of them is crated. Pan will sometimes be eating in his exercise pen and suddently bark even though Aero is finished with his food and off doing something completely different, completely uninterested in stealing anything. Pan got the nick name Badger after we adopted Aero. He learned to Grrrrrrarf! at Aero to counter his kinectic enthusiasm. There are even times when a regular boxing match ensues, although I’m glad to say that those occasions are less frequent now, and can easily be interrupted by saying their names.

I planned to take Aero to work again today. I put Pan in the back room, and Aero ran to the front door. Then he ran back to where Pan was. I got his leash and my bag and called him. He ran to me and said, “Ahrooo rooo arrrr!”

I said, “Sit,” and he did not. He backed up and said, “Arrrrrroooo Arrrrrrrrr Arrrrrrrrrrr!”

I said, “Aero, sit!” He did not. He said, “ROOOOOOoooooo ARR ARR ARR!”

I said, “Sit!” He did not. He repeated his discourse on the Roo and the Arr. I really need to get the Rosetta Stone canine language learning set.

I said, “What’s up, Buddy? Wanna go to work?” I heard Pan’s little toenails clicking on the door to the back room as he jumped up again and again against the woodwork. Oh, thank goodness my husband was gone. He hates the little rivulets of claw scratches on that door. Aero turned and ran to the back room, turned and waited for me, prancing. I opened the door, and he ran in.

The two dogs stood inside, shoulder by shoulder looking at me. One shoulder was a whole lot higher than the other, but you get the idea. Ears up. All for two and two for all! We’re a team. Take us both or take no one, Woman!

And so I went to work alone. Pan hates going to work and barks at people I’d just as soon he didn’t bark at. He trembles and lays in his crate. It’s pathetic. Aero loves it when Pan comes with him to work and he loves to come to work, I think. This was the first time he went on strike.

What’s so zen about that? Does Aero have too great an attachment to Pan, and Pan too great an attachment to me? Pan would come anywhere I asked him to even if he were miserable. But I did not know this thing about Aero. Aero loves Pan very much. Pan is Aero’s best friend.

Can you have a zen best friend? That’s one of those things that drives me crazy about Buddhism. In one of the sutras Buddha says that attachments to family are some of the worst attachments because they pull so hard at you. Attachments are the cause of suffering (dukkha). Weirdly enough, I have learned that this is true.

Through my zen practice I’ve learned to let go of some attachments and I have less suffering. Housework is one. I have always been very attached to hating housework. But once in a while now I can just have a housework meditation. Last night I swept the kitchen and den with a broom, and I just thought about the broom moving the dust and dog hair into the dust pan. It was good.

But right now in my zen I think that some attachments and some suffering is valuable. And letting go of some attachments can cause far more suffering than just the little suffering having them has. Maybe I’m justifying things, which might be something like attaching to justifications. I don’t know. But I’m not planning to leave my husband and get rid of the animals and live by begging any time soon. Maybe a proper zen master would tell me I’m attaching too much to worrying about being destitute in retirement. And it may be true, but I don’t exactly know an alternative to that.

What I do know right now is that Aero and Pan are friends. Aero will probably be sad when Pan dies, but he is not sad today, which is the only time that matters.

Maybe zen is a little like being an animal. Living for this moment and living this moment as perfectly as you can. When you are fetching a wubba, fully fetch the wubba. When you are playing blanket monster with Pan, you’re just playing blanket monster with Pan.

Mindful zen doggies.

Being here now.

Meditator Tot,

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