Monday, November 15, 2010

Buffy's Sense Of TIme

It is often said that dogs don’t have a sense of time. The argument is that if you leave a dog alone for 5 minutes it’s the same thing to a dog as if you were gone for 5 hours. Because of this it is thought that dogs live in the moment, not dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. After having Buffy in my life for the more than a year, I completely disagree with these ideas.

I think these ideas come more from dogs’ lack of ability to express and comprehend language connected the concept of time. I can communicate some things like commands with Buffy:

And there are the emotions that we share through looks in the eye or body language but time is something we simply do not have the language to articulate to each other. However just because there is not language to communicate a concept doesn’t mean that it isn’t understood. A baby feels happy or sad long before it has the words to express these emotions and Buffy definitely understands time.

Buffy’s enthusiasm to see me when I get home is directly proportional to the amount of time that I’ve been away from home (though if she just woke up form a nap it takes her second to greet me because she has to do her doggy stretches). If I’ve been away for an extended period of time she will through her body completely into me and give me face-licking like you would not believe.

Buffy also has a sense of the day and knows what’s coming up next. My girl dislikes waking up on Mondays when we get up after two days of sleeping in.  In the evening she joins us in the bedroom and attempts to help us get ready for bed, which mainly consists of her trying dry us off after a shower by licking our legs.

When Buffy’s routine is changes, there is no way for us to explains to Buffy what’s going on. On some level, I envy Buffy. Life must be a great adventure for her full of surprises every day, however I imagine how stressful life could be for her with so much uncertainly. How does Buffy get through the day without so many unknowns in her life every day?

For Buffy, what we have done since the first day we welcomed her into our family is be there for her and surround her with positive experiences so that uncertainly in her life is answered with love. What we created for Buffy’s life is the same thing we all need, the same hope that tells us that things are going to be okay even if we don’t know which way the road will turn.

Buffy has a sense of time and other things that she cannot express to us but what is magical is how she is able teach us what it means to be alive and experience life through the simple gift of time.

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