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Life Arts    H3'ed 8/18/12

Marley and Me: What Ornery Dogs Have to Teach Us Civilized Folk

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"Be newborn, be free of yourself"

-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


Nature, not academics, is our true teacher. We try so hard to control Nature, both within ourselves and in the world.   Thus we have well manicured lawns void of weeds while also "owning" little toy poodles that are well manicured.   Meanwhile these curly fluffs of non-shedding hair perform tricks according to our command so as to entertain us.   Why, we have these dogs so well trained that they don't even shed on our lovely standardized carpets made in some far away land by young girls making less than subsistence wages.   Yes, we ended slavery in the mid 1800's and replaced it with migrant work and Chinese factory girls.  


We also have domesticated animals to do our work for us, while also feeding us.   We also have hunting dogs like labs (Labrador retrievers), who have served with human beings in their knowledge of how to survive while also maintaining the balance of natural ecosystems through a sport they know best, hunting.   While labs are often well trained both naturally and by human beings in their favorite sport, they can also be a bit rebellious as reflected in their ability to shed on one's carpet profusely.


Nowhere is this rebellion more elucidated than in the story, Marley and Me by John Grogon.   This book was popular enough to where it was also made into a movie.   Marley isn't a well trained dog.   Training was tried, but Marley in essence thumbed his middle paw to the trainers and took charge of his own life.   For his "owner", this meant he, the owner, was often taken for runs, especially if Marley got hold of the scents of a tasty squirrel or if he saw a well endowed dog-lady that matched his sensuous fantasies for a mate.


Marley is much like my dog, Sophie.   Sophie is a lab and, like Marley, takes me for walks when she makes eye contact with something interesting, sexy, or potentially tasty.   Many people have screamed at me, and my wife, saying we need to train the "damn dog".   And, we have tried training the "damn dog".   Even obedience school was tried.   Never will forget how the trainer, a woman of stern stature, looked at us with an aura of rejection and said, "You need to get this dog under control."   She then took hold of the reigns and proceeded to teach us how to get Sophie under HER control.


Now Sophie is one of the names of the Goddess.   Her name is a pun on God, which, when spelt backward, is Dog.   So, I thought it appropriate that a dog should be given a name fitting of God.   My wife and I also have a terrier mix who we named after the Goddess.   Her name is Kali".She too is more than a tidbit rebellious as reflected in Her necklace of human heads (representing the ego).   Yes, the well trained, corporatized conditioned ego that my wife and I have inherited is definitely tested by our little girl Kali.   Well".actually, upon thinking about it, my wife and I are not really well trained.   We have tried because we have often thought we should be trained, but have consistently flunked the test.   We are not rated Triple "A" on the corporate rating sheet. At last inspection, I think we were at Triple "F", representing the middle finger of fate that we ultimately give the conditioned world of ours.


Now, as my teachers and bosses throughout my life found out, the trainer intent on civilizing Sophie determined that one does not tell God/Nature, especially in the guise my dog, what to do.   Yet, with treats and training collar in hand, the dog trainer went to work while "poo-pooing" my skepticism of her getting my rebellious yellow Lab under control.   Indeed, I thought, it would be as difficult getting her under control as it was for the educational system to get me under corporate control.   Though under the thumb of the Corporate World, I, like Sophie and Marley, gave the Master the puppy middle finger. How?   Passive aggressive acts entailed the battle plan.   I would lie down and without a fight, win.   


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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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