The Psychology of the Dog
(from Chinese Zodiac Signs)
‘In vain I could cheat and keep my eyes tight shut: there will always be a lost dog somewhere who will keep me from being happy…’
The best qualities that can be found in a man — as in an animal friend of man — are united under the sign of the Dog, who, willy-nilly, brings upon his oh-so-stubborn head the admiration and respect of Chinese astrology, from its origins until the present day. ‘For myself,’ says the Dog, ‘I would have preferred quite simply to be lucky, like those who make so much noise; you know, the Dragons, or the Goats who always find a protector.’
And this brings us to our first verified finding: Dogs are never content!
It is true that Dogs are not systematically favoured by that faithless gambler we refer to as ‘luck’. It is also true, according to tradition, that ‘each dog has his hour of glory’.
As with the other eleven signs of the Chinese zodiac, a ‘constant’ exists within those born under the sign of the Dog. This constant serves as a ‘rallying point’ for all the varied, possible and imaginable varieties of behaviour that being born under the same year are susceptible to. There may indeed be many different species of a dog, but a dog is always a dog, just as a rabbit is always a rabbit.
For the Dog, this constant is expressed as anxiety, and it must not be forgotten when considering the subtleties and complex psychology of this next-to-the-last of the Chinese zodiac animals. Everything is based on and derives from it, and the most contradictory attitudes can result, just as a calm river or a violent torrent can spring from the same source.
A Few Notes on the Dog
Principal qualities: Loyal, faithful, unselfish.
Principal defects: Anxious, pessimistic, doubting everything; his life is a vale of tears.
Work: Very active and honest. He is appreciated by his superiors as well as by his subordinates, for he is a good manager and often gives priority to their collective interests rather than his own.
Best role: Prophet of disaster.
Worst role: Actor in a theatrical company.
Cannot live without: Tenderness.
My first (and only dog that was just mine) was Columbus, a mongrel pup I got when I was just five years old. We played, and played, and played, until one (or both) of us tired out.
He was my best friend. I could not say the same for others of my own species. He knew all my secret fears, and my greatest joys. I could tell him anything.
Then one day in the spring before my first sister was born, he contracted distemper. My parents didn’t know what was happening until it was too late. He had to be ‘put down’. That hurt.
I never had another dog who was just mine. My heart was broken only once.
Other Family Dogs
Along the way, we had other dogs. Sunny and Sandy were a couple of strays that adopted us in Angus. Sunny was short-legged and black, Sandy was a Golden Retriever. I cannot recall how Sunny left us, but Sandy was around for years, mainly as a walking companion for our father, and protector of my sisters. (I was a teenager. I didn’t need protecting.)
Then I got married for the first time, and Judi brought home a little ball of fluff that she named Precious. Precious was a Terrier/Chihuahua cross. She was Judi’s dog, but she had a soft spot for me (and she would piddle every time I came home). She became Derek’s first dog, once he was born.
When I moved back to Canada in 2007, Susan had Cloe and Cheeko, a couple of Jack Russell Terriers. Cheeko, being the protector of all the females in the household, was very vicious to strangers, but friendly with family. Cloe, the alpha dog, accepted me right away, so Cheeko followed suit.
A few years ago, Cheeko, while staying with Susan’s daughter and family, attacked a neighbouring dog, and we had to have him ‘put to sleep’. As a result, Cloe would spend her walking time looking for him everywhere, not knowing why he was not with us anymore.
But, here’s the thing: even now, while sitting at the computer, I can feel a dog’s nose nudging at my leg, letting me know that he wants to go outside for a pee (or sometimes just for attention). I am sure it’s Cheeko, because he used to do that with me.
Almost three years ago, after Cloe had been on her own for fifteen months, we adopted BeBe. Again, although she is ‘our’ dog, she favours me because there’s not enough room on Susan’s lap for both dogs.
BeBe is a close match to Sunny, from my teenage years. She epitomizes all the characteristics of the zodiacal Dog, listed above. She is also the one who wants to play all the time, like Columbus used to do. I’m starting to fall in love again…
The purpose of a dog, in my opinion, is to keep us open to the possibilities of love. Without them in our lives, we would all be very ‘alone’.
Thanks for listening…