Learning to live with a Master Teacher Dog was a big order for my reluctant soprano. She hadn’t a clue about the grand plan attached to my behavior, that I was intentionally reflecting her well-concealed character deficiencies back to her… I had a higher purpose in mind. Playing the role of an obedient, adoring canine companion, or Heaven forbid, a mascot… was not my mission on earth. I was there to teach. I materialized myself (in other words I appeared in full sweet-as-candy puppy disguise) in order force her to reflect upon what she was doing wrong. Specifically my focus was Ms. Em’s inability to live in each moment, to be conscious and aware. I made her an offer she couldn’t refuse (and who could have? I was a wriggling mass of joyous reunion) and we were a team. However, after I got out of that darlin’ ‘lil pup stage… I was fully prepared to show my teeth, to snarl and growl, make a horrendous scene… or play the gracious guru. Whatever lesson the situation demanded, there I was… ready to play rough or to reward. And don’t get me wrong; I am not congratulating myself for my acting ability. I am simply illustrating the role I played for the benefit and spiritual development of narcissistic Ms. Em during her most turbulent years on and off the operatic stage. If you have read Learning to Live with Fritz, you already know that.
Let’s get back to Freddy and the training of a puppy (as taught by many excellent, educated, experienced and well-meaning authors, trainers and canine scientists too). After the Inseeing of The Monks of New Skete and Cesar Millan’s rigorous pack-leader techniques, I highly recommended (whispered emphatically) to Ms. Em that yet another enlightening and entertaining ‘dog book’ might be interesting to her and definitely helpful in bringing up her new pup.
THE GENIUS OF DOGS: HOW DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU THINK
By Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods
I found author Peggy Tibbetts review on the Goodreads website to be far better than anything I could think up as a description of content and intention of the book The Genius of
Dogs.Ruggedly handsome Dr. Brian Hare (Dr. Brian Hare is associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University) creator of Dognition and the stunning Vanessa Woods
(Australian scientist, author and journalist- feature writer for the Discovery Channel) researched and wrote together. The cool thing about this is that they could argue and edit the manuscript without ever leaving home since they are married to each other! Read how they got together in Vanessa’s fascinating book The Bonobo Handshake.
Now this is quite a trick. Can you imagine it? An in-home scene: a bathroom … the shower is running … Miss Woods is shouting over the noise of cascading water: “Darling? What do you think about Chapter 10? I am not happy with the leading paragraph … Sweetheart … are you in there?” Somehow this beautiful couple, each with their separate successful careers joining forces to write an entertaining and still very serious and scientific book about the intelligence of dogs sparked my memory.
No one who has ever watched a Thin Man film could forget “America’s favorite Mister and Missus” … Nick and Nora Charles. Along with their snappy repartee they were often chatting about and interacting with Asta, their clever fox terrier whom they both (and the American cinema-going public) adored.
For a laugh watch Asta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKLCAHVKb0w
Yes, it’s all about LOVE. Hare and Woods are two young scientists who got together because of their love of animals. This love combined with their knowledge and individual research brought forth an excellent manuscript. In the case of Ms. Em it was not really her love of dogs that propelled her forward. She was traumatized into writing a book about her experiences with me and her book was an exercise in trying to figure out why I acted the way I did. Exit Fritz. Enter Freddy. The seven years between us has contributed to her understanding of what I was up to while on the earth plane doing what I did best: intimidate! In the interim E. has read more than her share of books about dogs, puppy training and general information about canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog.
Even though Bolonka baby Freddy has proven time and again that he has no talent for aggressive teaching skills, I can tell that Ms. Em is still fearful. She has persuaded herself that after the honeymoon is over (pup with his puppy mom) that Freddy might turn out to be … well, another Fritz. She is SO frightened that she almost made another huge mistake: spending too much time studying! I stepped in just in the nick of time and reminded her of the greatest truth of all… LOVE. You can read and study and watch DVD’s all you want but every one of those activities occur somewhere else. Do you know what I am getting at? That somewhere else is not living in the NOW. All the time you are spending reading, watching or listening … even making lists and vowing to be the perfect puppy parent… you are not spending time WITH your puppy in the present moment. All you need is love. Think about it. LOVE always occurs right now. Spend TIME NOW with your pup.
Dr. Hare has the right idea about being here now with your canine companions. His intelligence tests can help you classify and thus better understand what type of genius your dog might be. A charmer, an independent thinker … Oh, I could go on about this but since a video is worth a million words … just watch this report from ABC news about Dognition.
In keeping with my Be Here Now raison d’etre, I was relentless in my insistence. I could see that Ms.Em, if not suffering from a certified case of digital dementia was at least a victim of digital delusion. She was spending too much time in the cyber world marketing our book Learning to Live with Fritz to BE HERE NOW! She was forgetting all the lessons I had taught her. In order to remind her of what is real and what living in the present moment means, I whispered, then suggested, then cajoled and finally gave up and commanded in my big boss Mafia voice: Get a PUPPY!” E. finally heard me. The idea became a passion … and suddenly was bigger than both of us.
Freddy entered the Earth Plane on January 4, 2013. He was born under the sign of traditionally headstrong but socially adept Capricorn. Freddy should turn out to be a sweet-tempered (if stubborn and social climbing) lapdog. I definitely was NOT nor would I ever wish to fit into the lapdog category. How could I sacrifice the necessary authoritarian position I earned on the earth plane … to sit placidly on anyone’s lap or to look soulfully into a pair of human eyes? No way.
At long last I got E. into her car and on the road to Weidenthal-Sonneneck in the Pfalz region of Germany (lovely photos on this website: http://www.weidenthal.de/gastinfo.htm ) for her first visit with Freddy. What a thrill! E. was so excited that I was worried about her ability to remain in control of her automobile. It was on this first drive that I gave her the pup’s designated name: I whispered …
This should have calmed her hysteria. It did not. Give me a few points for trying. Nevertheless, relentless doubts assailed her mind as she got closer to that first secret meeting. Ms. Em was so worried about this trip. She had told no living soul, not even her husband … what she was up to. Even with the wonderful beneficent new name I chose for the pup, E. was a nervous wreck. I guess I really did a job on her psyche when I was still pretending to be a dog.
On the German Autobahn, I kept reassuring my reluctant puppy mom that she was getting all green lights from The Universe on this trip. (Yes, I had to make it this dramatic. I listed all the positive signs: the February roads were clear, no traffic jams, no snow, rain or fog to inhibit her progress etc.) She finally reached Sonneneck, pulled up in front of Langeckerstr.12, the Nabinger residence and … but why should I describe her first covert meeting with puppy Freddy when I can take an easier route? Here is a look inside Ms. Em’s personal journal where the ex-diva describes her puppy love at first sight experience with four week old Freddy.
“I knew it was now or never. I rang the Nabinger’s doorbell. Somehow the chorus of five barking Bolonkas was music to my ears. Bernd Nabinger, a tall, dark haired friendly sort opened the door. Bernd then introduced me to his wife Sabine whose dimpled cheeks and a hearty laugh convinced me I was in the right place. They led me into the ‘nursery’; their spacious living room. A huge playpen contained five softly snoring puppies. I took the viewer’s chair sat down. I was very nervous. Sabine picked Freddy up and delicately handed me the tiny lump of white fur.
He was as light as a potato chip! Freddy immediately began to shiver. At first I took this as a negative sign– was he ill, was he cold? No, he was hungry. This could have been the reason for Freddy shivering the first time he met me but then again it could have been a shivering of recognition?
Felice (a beautiful gray and white ladydog) sprang into the playpen fully intent on nursing all five of her offspring. Freddy was the first on the nipple and drank with gusto. Yes, no, yes, no … should I or shouldn’t I say yes to this pup? I had already been instructed to name him Freddy by my ever-present mentor Fritz. My husband knew nothing about my secret mission. I shoved that thought to the back of my mind the minute I learned that Freddy’s sire had the name of MERLIN! Ha! Now this was a definite good sign!
This darling Mr. Magic … named Merlin is the father of my Be Here Now instructor. Sold! I had passed the Nabinger’s inspection with flying colors especially after I held up my copy of Learning to Live with Fritz. I put my 200 Euro down, signed a contract and as a final test I sang the opening lines of Tosca* in my highest loudest soprano singing: “Mario, Mario , Mario…” I had to know if Freddy would react negatively to opera singing. Freddy passed the test. He didn’t move a muscle. He looked up at me adoringly. What a joy to know that Freddy will be able to tolerate sudden loud singing noises since his future will involve quite a lot of that. Now I shall have to confess to my big baritone since Freddy is a reality and will become part of our lives. How will I do it? I am not sure. However, what I am sure of is that I will be counting every minute of the next five weeks until I can take little Raiko (Freddy) vom Sonneneck home.”
Now I ask you, what can I add to that?
E.Rawlins sings Tosca on her You Tube channel