1 12 2008

img_38322The head of food purchasing at the hotel I used to work at was nicknamed “Swiss”.  I never knew his real name – everyone always called him Swiss.  He was raised in Switzerland and much to his delight when he learned we had gotten a Bernese Mountain Dog (also known as Swiss Mountain dogs) – he told me stories of the Berners he’d grown up with.  “Smart dogs, these, smart dogs.  My dad would tell the dog which cows to bring home and the dog would bring back just those cows.”

I don’t attribute that kind of brain power to Bella.  Much has certainly been lost since she really isn’t a working dog.  However, there are things still hard-wired in her DNA that can’t be denied.  She is never happier than in this weather.  She begs to go out at any opportunity to gulp up mouth fulls of snow.  She’ll put her nose up against your knees and push back so hard it will knock you off your feet if you don’t set yourself against it.  That is how they move cattle around.  And they love to pull carts – so it is the exact opposite of walking nicely on a lease.

I’ve been thinking alot about what makes some people one way and others so completely different.  One isn’t wrong – the other isn’t right, but different as night and day they are. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.  We don’t have to look any farther than our own siblings to see distinct differences, let alone the families of our in-laws!  Isn’t it curiouser and curiouser?

What makes a person love to wander around art museums and others Nascar?  Some enjoy the Symphony when the only “songs” others hear are on TV commercials.  How does a soul get developed?  What IS it that makes us all tick? How does one develop a passion for something that seeps out of every pore of their being while others appear to be oblivious? What is happening inside one who weeps at viewing an incredible sunset?   It would be infinitely easier if we were given an instruction manual to accompany our relationships. Lately, I find myself in this musing place most of my waking hours, pondering such conundrums.  


Not all hard-wired preferences are pretty. Take for instance the gift left to us by our resident mouser who was just doing what she was born to do.  

Most days we like that gray-furry who is quietly snuggled on the back of the couch or keeping our feet warm rather than having to imagine her in hunt mode being all cruel and fangy. She is both things.  She is not one without the other.


We’ve also taught her to fetch the “rings” from the tops of milk jugs and she’d play for hours if we’d let her.  So maybe we can teach old cats new tricks…maybe we can teach people things they aren’t hard-wired for.


Today I’ll take the good with the bad – the sweet kitty that kills tiny little mice and the dog that would rather be sitting outside in the snow than quietly curled up on her bed.  

One of the great mysteries of life – living in tension with our four legged beasts as well as the two legged ones.