Growing Up

Everyone’s impatient to grow up and discover the secrets, pleasures and powers that we think maturity has in store for us. And maybe dogs are the same.

We share our house with 25 dogs – can you imagine that? So we have a stout wooden barrier between the large front room – where the dogs sleep, rest, and eat the furniture – and the rear section, where the kitchen and the office are. But the border is porous.

There’s an open area between the kitchen and the office, and that’s where we install some of the new arrivals: the sickest ones, sometimes a very lonely and sad pup. So these new additions grow up in a safe and relatively quiet space. Dogs from the front room will jump the barrier to come and inspect the new ones – especially the babies.

And the babies, of course, as they get bigger, healthier and more confident, want to follow their new mothers and sisters out into the big wide world on the other side of the barrier. But you can’t jump a 3-foot fence when you’re only 6 inches tall. Luckily for these eager explorers there are gaps in the planking, and with practice and a mighty effort – scrabbling and squeaking – they usually manage to squeeze through. And find themselves surrounded by 25 very big and curious adults.

So the great adventure of growing up and discovering the wonders of the world isn’t just a cakewalk. As well as the delights there are dangers. There are disappointments. One of these is when you grow too big to squeeze your chubby little belly through the gaps. And another one is when you grow too big to get picked up and cuddled. Such is life!

PS I was going about the daily tasks and there was Jeta, scrabbling away at the barrier. Her big ‘sister’ Sugar just couldn’t stand it any more, grabbed Jeta by the scruff and hauled her through to the other side. And if philosophers needed proof of the thing they call ‘mind’ – well, it would be hard to deny that dogs have one.


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