Bow has the luxury of doing just that for as long as he likes. But he also likes to go outside and brave the elements.
Yesterday morning, it was windy and cold and it looked as if a storm was approaching.
We seemed on the verge of a storm.
Every direction you looked, it looked as if something big was about to happen in the sky.
Bow went inside and then went out again, and as a way to keep warm, he displayed.
Leo obliged Bow by engaging him, while Brownie remained aloof.
But there was no storm. Things settled down. In the afternoon, as I was going for my regular walk, I spotted a dog going into my pasture, entering from the road into the bushy underbrush. I decided to pretend that I did not see that, because the last thing I wanted was a confrontation about neighbor dogs on my property. Maybe if I ignored the dog, the dog would ignore me.
|Bow looks at a photo of Osiris|
But then I realized it was just Cowboy. the neighbor dog. And Cowboy wanted to join me in my walk. I didn't invite him, but when he saw that I was going for a walk on my mowed path, he decided he would lead the way.
Just to be certain he didn't lose me, Cowboy kept turning back to make sure I was still on the path.
What I found most interesting was the way he stuck to the path, when he could easily have gone exploring in the underbrush. If you did not know any better, you might have been convinced that he had been trained not to leave the well-trodden path. However, that was not the case. When we parted ways, he went to explore the brambles and the narrow footways the deer and rabbits and coyotes had made among the trees and bushes. It was just that as long as we were keeping company, he understood that I would not stray from the path, so neither did he.
If we were in an American city, Cowboy, with no apparent collar or tags, would be considered a stray. But since we are living in the country, people know who he is and where he lives, and since he does not cause any harm, he is tolerated. Even I tolerate him, because he does not go near the fence to tease my dogs, the way some latchkey dogs have been known to do when their masters are away.
Should dogs be allowed to roam? It's a question that I've thought about before. In Taiwan, even in the cities, there are stray dogs who are well behaved and well fed, even though they are not owned.
The Strays of Tamsui
Feral dogs, people will warn you, can form packs and attack livestock, other dogs and even people. I know this, not just because I have been told, but because I have seen it out here with my own eyes, before there was even a "shelter" in this county. Dogs got shot when they broke the rules.
I don't let my own dogs roam, just as I would never allow Bow to go out under the present conditions. I am a very cautious person. But I can't help but feel that when we get used to a certain context, such a society that is intolerant of stray dogs and stray children and homeless people, we are moving one step closer to our own imprisonment and that of our children.
Stray dogs and stray children used to be the hallmark of every human city, and while their presence was sometimes an eyesore and a nuisance, I would rather see them roam free than all get institutionalized and/or adopted. I would rather see dogs adopting humans than humans adopting dogs. Brownie, for instance, chose us.
Cowboy reminded me yesterday that a dog out on his own can be well behaved and trustworthy, and that it takes a certain type of community to allow us to see that this, too, is a possibility.