Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When my dog Sophia and my brother were younger, they were both attacked by a swarm of bees that was nested in the hill of a soccer field. My brother was rushed to the hospital and treated for a dozen or so stings. I don't believe we did much for little Sophia, aside from brush off the bees that still clung to her coat. She has always had a remarkable pain tolerance.
But it's very clear that the incident has marked Sophia with a strong bee and buzzing-insect phobia. Just the other day, an obnoxious fly found its way into the house. She decided she wasn't taking her chances and ran upstairs into hiding, whining and waiting for someone to take care of the tiny intruder.
I find this insect paranoia incredibly humanizing. When it is so easy to think we Homo sapiens are somehow special, it is humbling to recognize fear and trauma and profound, affecting memories in another species. I am forced to wonder: when Sophia yelps in her sleep and moves her limbs as if to run, is she dreaming of chasing rabbits in an open field or is she reliving a nightmare from years past?