Saturday, December 10, 2022

Back where he belongs

Four weeks ago my little whippet fractured his skull in a head-on full-speed collision that left me feeling sick with despair.  Fearful that my companion of these last three years was about to leave me, I did little more than hold him close and worry every waking hour.  If he could make it through the night (and then next...) he'd be okay I reasoned.

But what did I know?  The poor mite was in agony, confused and barely able to raise his head.  For days the swelling blooded his eyes and he'd whimper if I left the room.  What must have been going through his mind? 

I often wonder how dogs see the world. 

Pretty simply, I expect. We posit them greater intelligence than they have, anthropomorphise their behaviours and interpret their responses from our human perspective.  I laugh at owners having one-way conversations with their dogs... don't bark Winston, where're your manners ... only to do the same myself.  

Actually, I don't quite.  But if it's just me and Oscar in the house I conduct a running commentary on what I'm doing and thinking — or even writing.  He sits there impassive as I read each sentence and its intonations aloud — the only whippet to know the pause of a semi-colon!

Not that he'd understand its meaning.

But of course, what dogs do comprehend —and repay in abundance —is our companionship, our care and our trust. Perhaps it's this that bonds us so tightly. For words between us can never be more than superficial — at best, a few nouns and commands that set boundaries or shape routines. 

Trust, on the other hand, is mutual and profound.

So too the joy of co-presence; of shared experience, despite our different perceptions. To me the beach is as much sky and memory as it is sand and sea; to him, its smell and sound unfiltered — a place to romp and socialise ... or at least, that's what I sense.

Which is perhaps enough...

Yesterday, we went back to the place of his accident.  And he ran and ran... in circle after circle... chasing and returning... fully in his element... checking me in mine. In many ways, it was our most delightful walk this year.  Certainly, it drew my broadest smile — for you know what...

He's still the fastest dog on the beach. 

24 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    HOOORRRAAAHHHHHH>>>>>!!!! That's all I need to say to this news 😃 YAM xx

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  2. I'm pleased he's back on form. I always think of the Larson cartoon - 'What you say to your dog - what your dog hears'.

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  3. They may not understand every spoken word but they can sense exactly how you are feeling - anger, sorrow, happiness etc. I like Oscar's long shadow in the photo.

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  4. Happy news and he is back to his old Oscar self being a good companion.

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  5. Apparently, dogs understand more than a 100 words but even more importantly, they understand tone of voice and body language. I'm so glad that Oscar is healthy and back to running.

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  6. Well, now, this post sure made my day! The vision of Oscar running big exhilerated circles on the beach added joy to my day...and I didn't even see it.

    Pets do become a part of our day to day lives. They may not talk, but they communicate all the same and the sweetness of our shared existence adds yet another dimension to a life well lived.

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  7. Good to see he is back to normal and the fastest dog on the beach.

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  8. SO glad to hear that Oscar is healed and back to his old self. However much they understand of what we say to them, they understand emotion and intonation, and I could never replace or forget the comfort and love my old dog Tara gave me when I needed it most.

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  9. "The fastest dog on the beach". I can feel the joy of both man and dog. What a relief. And what dog owner has not wondered about how their beloved companion sees the world.
    Hoping to read about many, many more such frolics on the sands.
    Cheers, Gail.

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  10. Happy day! Glad to hear you're both back on the beach.

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  11. Mark, this great post about Oscar having healed well and being able to run the beach again has made my day much brighter. So happy for you all.

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  12. This is such wonderful news, Mark! So glad that you and Oscar can enjoy being together on the beach once again.

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  13. Seeing Oscar fully recovered and back on the beach is wonderful. There is a reason man's best friend is his dog. As dog owners we know this to be fact.

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  14. Very glad that he has recovered.

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  15. That's the greatest news and never underestimate what the animals who live with us think or comprehend, nor count short their ability to communicate that to us if we want to receive their messages. It might not be the creativity of a Shakespeare sonnet, but they definitely have stuff to say. Good to know Oscar is once again the fastest dog on the beach (and we bet he knows it).

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  16. I am so happy to read this about Oscar. That was such a terrible injury he suffered.

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  17. It's such a relief to see that Oscar has recovered so well from his accident. I often marvel at how much our dog seems to understand and how he reacts to what is going on around him. They may not be able to talk but they are tremendous listeners!

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  18. I am so pleased that Oscar has survived the collision. I went back and read about the circumstances of his injury. Well done to you and Jane for nursing him back to full health.

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  19. Poor Oscar! I'm so glad he's back on the beach. He looks very happy.

    We've noticed that Olga sticks to us much more closely than she used to, as if she senses the vulnerability of her age and seeks out our protection. Animals are pretty smart. I don't fully understand what goes on in their minds, but they know how to survive.

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  20. He was very lucky to have recovered.

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  21. Poor thing. I am glad he survived to see this happy day.

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  22. Dear Mark,

    I'm so glad to hear that Oscar has made an excellent recovery and regained his former carefree and energetic self after his convalescence. Some people view that the companionship of our pets can be therapeutic. I think that it is only because they listen to us so intensely without judgement. They offer no advice or assertion except their daily walks and occasional treats which they demand with indefinable insistency.

    You only have to go out of the room for an hour and when you return, they look at you as if to say: "Where have you been? I think you are the best in the world." Their reassuring presence and unconditional love is a gift to us in this tumultuous world.

    I wish you, Oscar and the whole family a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas. May you be blessed with lovely surprises, happy moments and the warmth of family and friends. Thank you so much for all your kind and generous gestures this year.

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  23. Glad to hear that Oscar has recovered (same name as my German Short Haired Pointer). I lost my Border Terrier a year ago and am now too frail to have another dog - but they are such companions aren't they?

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