Canine Benevolance

20141203_123211We played frisbee, like we always do.  I and the beautiful Great Dane girl whom I care for on a regular basis.  Her sister was off grazing in the grass nearby, but my playmate fully embraced the game with bouncy paws, a twinkle in her eye, and a readiness to shift directions at any moment in which she thought I might catch her.  I motioned toward her and she took a sharp right and ran a few feet ahead. And stopped.  She turned her head, and gave me a look which begged for me to pursue once more.  As I did, she bolted forward, but again stopped far short of the distance she could have covered with a few strides of her elegant long black legs.  This set my mind in motion.  Why was she so accommodating with me?  The obvious answer seemed to be that this was self serving.  That she was simply trying to ensure that the game would continue and that I would be kept within the realm of “I could possibly get her,” instead of falling into the vicinity of “she is way too far ahead for me to even try to catch her.”  Again, the obvious answer, but not the only one that penetrated my thoughts that day.  What if my playmate was being benevolent?  A partner with a sense of fairness and perhaps even sympathy for the fact that I simply couldn’t run as fast as she could.  It seemed a far fetch at first, but then I considered the depth of the canine character and realized it could hold some truth.

As if my thoughts needed some support, my playmate’s sister soon tired of exploring the grass and decided that she should have a go at chasing her sister.  Off they went, and miraculously, my play partner grew wings.  Not literally, but she bolted through the yard at a pace that made dirt fly and which created an audible rhythm as her feet pounded the ground.  Her sister, going full tilt as well, soon caught up to her, and they reared up like two horses in a duel before taking off again.  This much more intense game was marked by no special treatment.  No slowed pace or teasing tapdances.  None of this was needed, of course, and my (now former) play partner knew that.

Along with a fun game of frisbee, I was also the recipient of much love from both Great Dane girls that day. Dane leans against my legs, looks of contentment as I ran my fingers through their fur, and appreciative licks made me feel like I was someone pretty special to both girls.  So much like parents who let their children win at games, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps an effort had been made earlier to make me feel like I could do much more than I could.  In The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man’s Best Friend it states, “Dogs, for a reason that can only be described as divine, have the ability to forgive, let go of the past, and live each day joyously. It’s something the rest of us strive for.” Well, perhaps they also have the ability to be accommodating, benevolent, and giving when we need it.  Certainly something for all of us to strive for as well.

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