Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dog Hug

Today, a Rottweiler jumped up on a couch to lie beside me and placed her bear-like paws on my lap. From time to time, she leaned her enormous head against my shoulder and she even gave me a big, wet kiss.

I think there are two ways to interpret this gesture. Firstly, I think it is a declaration of ownership. A young Weimaraner pulled the same move on me, which effectively halted the other dog in the house from sharing in my affections. Sophia does it when I let Tobey out. And frankly, I think they also use it to stop me from leaving.

Secondly, I think of the gesture as a symbiotic, protective measure. On the one side, the dog gets affection and builds attachment, and on the other side, I get the safety of knowing no one is going to mess with my Rottweiler and me. At these moments, I get a visceral sense for the thousands of years of co-species evolution; there's simply something transcendental about it.