Friday, September 18, 2009

dogs have a way of knowing things

Our much loved canine companion of nearly 18 years went missing on Tuesday while I was out of town. Tapoica, or Tappy for short was a one of a kind dog whose heritage might have been from Brittany Spaniel and some kind of herding dog. She had slowed considerably in the last month and I had wondered how long she would last.

Years ago, I had planned to give her a bath, so got out the towels and dog shampoo and began running the tub with water. Then I went looking for her. I checked in the wood shop where my assistant Bob was sanding boxes and listening to NPR. "Have you seen Tappy?" I asked. "She came running in here a minute ago and is hiding beneath the radial arm saw and behind that lumber," Bob replied. "How could she have known I was going to give her a bath?" I asked. And at that point a woman's voice came over NPR. "Dogs have a way of knowing things," it said in a British accent. The report from the UK was about dogs being used to anticipate the onset of medical conditions like epileptic seizures.

And so, we know our gentle companion was wise in ways we will never fully comprehend. I have scoured the woods thoroughly around our home and checked with neighbors. No doubt she is curled up in a soft nest in the woods and her soul is in heaven, for surely if there is such a place, dogs may be more deserving of it than some of the humans that angrily share our small planet.

From the vantage point of a dog, take just a minute to examine why the verbal linguistic framework is so important in modern culture. Could it be that its true importance is its use in the management and control of others whether in the workplace where things need to be explained, and actions of others rigidly controlled or in the marketplace where others need to be convinced to buy the things we hope to sell them? Perhaps there is something we should all celebrate in the life of a dog... something simple, unpretentious, uneducated but wise beyond our knowing.

I am reminded that despite our cultural emphasis on language, not all that is of great meaning can be placed in the context of words, either spoken or written, and most assuredly, dogs have a way of knowing things.


  1. Doug,

    This is a touching piece of writing, and of course, I am hopeful that Tappy returns. I spent nearly my whole life NOT being a dog lover...until my wife found Sadie (a shelter rescue Viszla) on the internet. Well, as is said, the rest is history. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she has found a radial arm saw in the woods somewhere...


  2. Thanks, JD. It would be a relief to know where she is.


  3. Anonymous6:05 AM

    Ah, Doug. My condolences. Tappy was family.


  4. Anonymous9:34 AM

    "No cold philosophy, no cynic sneer/ checks the unhidden and honest tear./ What little difference, and how short the span/ betwixt thy instinct and the mind of man." (Author unknown)

    I hope you find Tappy.

  5. Thank you. Very nice poem.

  6. My heart goes out to you and your family. I know you must be very sad.

    Wishing the best for Tappy,