Just finished reading Merle’s door. I can see why it became a best seller. Ted Kerasote is a wonderful story teller and can put a great voice to a dog. It’s almost like he is in the dog’s mind, as he puts subtext to his interactions with dogs. For a dog lover, it brings a brings a great amount of joy to engage in small banter with a joy and makes one giggle at the thought of such conversations.
“Bonjour Monsieur“. His read end swayed in a greeting. “Votre odeur m’intrigue“. Your smell intrigues me. “Le cerf, peut-etre?” Deer, perhaps?“Very good,” I replied. “Nous avons les cerf aussi ou j’habite.” We also have deer where I live.The Mayor of Chamonix took another appraising breath of my leg and let out a small sigh: “Ah, Monsiuer, j’aimrais bien rester plus longtemps et vous connaitre, mais comme vous voyez je suis un chien tres occupe.” I would like to stay a little longer and get to know you, but as you can see I’m a very busy dog.Raising his shoulder, he gave me one more look: “Alors, au revoir et a beitot, j’espere.” Good-bye then, and see you soon.And with that he hurried off, touched noses with several dogs around the fountain, and headed towards the river.”
“But such training-which would have made my commands into absolute law-inevitably would have changed Merle’s and my relationship. We would have become the sort of dog-human couple that millions of down owners aspire to: an alpha human giving orders to a subordinate dog, orders that must always be obeyed…I doubt, however, that it always produces the happiest of dogs or real harmony. What it often produces is a simmering conflict between the social ambitions of the maturing dog and the human who believes that the dog sincerely welcomes staying a perpetual child. When the dog then goes ballistic – chewing furniture, peeing on the carpet, barking, or engaging in power struggles with it’s human-dog experts offer a variety of reasons for the sudden appearance of these dysfunctional behaviours. The dog is bored, it needs more exercise, it’s anxious, or it’s trying to be the dominant individual in the relationship and needs to be put in its place of he’s an uncut dog, castrate him. The dog wants not dominance, but equality. No one ever makes this suggestion because it sounds preposterous.”
“As we scribed and laid each log in place, he smelled them, and when the interior walls went up he inspected each room. As soon as we had put up a skeleton staircase Merle scrambled up it. I had gone to the great room and heard his pant from the balcony above. He was looking down at me, lashing his tail and grinning from ear to ear: “This is so cool.” He followed the electrician around. He pushed his nose into the plumber’s toolbox. He stayed on with the crew. Sometimes, at the end of the day, the crew long gone, I’d wander over to see what progress had been made, and I’d find him walking around the house as if he were tallying the day’s work.”
“Some animal behaviourists suggest that, in the case of gunfire, some dogs can be cured of their fear through gradual exposure to what they call an increasing range of potentially traumatic experiences from an early age…I loaded the .22 target pistol. He watched me with apprehension. He cocked his head. I fired the pistol in the air. He tried to flee. I held him. Panting terribly, he looked at me with distress. “Easy”, I said, “easy”, stroking him affectionately and offering him a biscuit. He wouldn’t take it. I fired once again. Merle began to yelp wildly. I unloaded the pistol, cased it, hugged him and took him off the leash. He immediately jumped at my face in relief. “No more bird dog training,” I exclaimed”.
“The “just” phrase, the phrase every privileged lass has used when trying to protect its interests while disregarding those of whom it considers inferior: He’s just a slave, she’s just a woman; it’s just a dog.”