23 January 2011

Did you hear that whisper?

You know the "whisperers", people who claim they are in tune with a less understood type of creature and are able to understand their language. They had the Ghost Whisperer and the Dog Whisperer and somehow it has become quite a fad.

I've had someone say "oh, I'm a dog whisperer" and, a little later on, suggest using a shock collar on Aschiuta. What dog whispered that to them?

What did you say pooch? You like the new dress?

It makes me wonder just how much of the "whispering" is real understanding between the human and the animal (let's be serious, ghosts?) and what is misconception. I've heard of a lot of crazy esoteric things about humans and animals.

The truth is, we don't speak the same language. We don't understand barking and, when a dog learns commands, it's the sequence of sounds they learn and an action to perform and maybe even the reward involved. They do not understand the meaning of the words themselves.
There is this nonverbal communication that is truly important. We have to interpret signs and try to understand what each other needs. You know, the usual scratching at the door to go out or whining when something hurts.

It's more than just the dress...

Apart from these obvious signs, people and dogs can have a deeper connection, based on mutual trust and respect. And it's not just dogs, it's also other animals we keep as pets. They are intelligent creatures and they have their own personalities. I tend to sympathise with Aschiuta when she rebels and barks if I don't let her chew on the furniture or steal our socks (she has her own socks to play with).
"No, I don't want to stop chewing the table."
Pets aren't objects you put in a corner to look nice. I'd also argue about unnecessarily dressing up pets, but if it doesn't bring harm or discomfort to them, eh, why not?

I'd like to add one more thing: how you treat your pet and what relationship you have with it. It's based on common sense and respect. I believe that when you have that with your pet, that's the empathy they all talk about.

I read two wonderful posts today that made me realise that some people already have that close bond with their pets. Here they are for you to read them, at 24 PAWS OF LOVE and Paw Print City Times.

Take care and remember, stop "whispering" and start "listening".

1 comment:

  1. I do tend to be dubious about certain claims to "speak dog" or cat, or whatever animal type one is claiming to have a super-special bond with. There are people who seem to understand an animal's "non-verbals" better than others, but I would dare suggest that they've done exactly what you said - which was to stop whispering and start listening. (I really like that.)

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