Dear Illy,

Illy

Guilty as charged: I love my dog. I assume most people love their dogs as well, but I can prove that my dog Illy is the best dog in the world. Having joined our family when only eight weeks old and six pounds in weight, she is now nine and a half years old and our sixty-two-pound bundle of joy.

But I deviate!

My real purpose in writing this piece is to share my occasional thoughts as I walk my dog (well over 10,000 times so far) and look at her as another living creature on this third planet of a humble star. It is also to stimulate some discussion on how others see and even talk to their dogs, which I view as infinitely better than talking about sequestration all the time. I will also admit to being a trained scientist who has been exposed to such strange concepts as evolution (which I believe in), global warming and climate change (which I also believe in), and aliens (which I would like to believe in), and therefore I may be biased in forming my judgments, but here goes anyway.

I see a creature with two eyes, two ears, a mouth, a tongue, four limbs, a heart, lungs, and other internal organs that I have as well. My scientific sense tells me that this dog and I are related, distantly perhaps, but related nevertheless, and that it is only the vagaries of genetic mutation over very long time spans (more than I can comprehend) that accounts for our differences and differences with other living species.

I will also admit to talking to my dog, not because I believe she can fully understand what I am saying (although I believe she tries very hard to do so) but because she clearly has a brain that learns words, observes and records behavioral patterns, records smells, and thinks about things in her own way. My best example of her ‘thinking’ is when I walk her at night and ask her where she would like to stroll and she hesitates, looks around, and after a bit of what I would call cogitating, heads off in one of her favorite directions (she has four). Talking to her also makes me feel better about getting her to do things which she may not want to do (like going home when it’s cool outside) and I insist. All in all, I feel satisfied and she seems to usually get the message.

Breed: Akita and German Shepherd


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