I remember seeing an old cartoon years ago. It was an illustration of a man talking to his dog. The first cartoon states, What the man says; “I am going to the store Spot. See you in a while.” The next part of the cartoon states; What the dog hears: Blah, blah, blah, blah, going, blah, blah, blah, Spot, blah, blah. Actually, that is pretty much the truth.
I get tickled when I read articles about what a pet thinks in this situation or that situation. I remember one that was titled, “What Your Pet Thinks About While You are Gone.” Tee, he, he.
If your dog could use a word to describe what she thinks about you, it would likely be, neti. Neti, is a Sanskrit work that means, not that. Take a moment and describe who you are. Go ahead and do it as it is part of an exercise for this blog. You might be thinking, “I am a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a pet caretaker, an accountant, a brunette, a 36 year old and a liberal.” Take another moment and think about the words that you have used to describe yourself. If you got a sex change, would you still be a woman? If your sister died, will you still be a sister? If your pet runs off, will you still be a pet caretaker? If you die your hair will you still be a brunette? Next year, will you still be 36 years old? I think you are catching on to just how you describe yourself is not really who you are.
Shortly after we were born, words became a part of our life. If you look at research, it will state that the most common first word that a baby says is “Daddy.” Ticks off a lot of Moms I would imagine. However, the baby is not actually saying, Daddy or Dad. It is actually saying, “Da.” The baby is now able to see something out there and it says, “Da.” Da, is another Sanskrit word meaning, that. It is the first verbal response to that over there.
How in the world would a baby know what a Sanskrit word means? It doesn’t. It says it without knowing the word. When the word da was defined by the Hindus, it became a word and all words are concepts. The great Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard, once said, “If you label me, you negate me.” Or, as I said above, what you label yourself, you are not.
Our pets have been given a great gift, the gift of no words (very few). I did, however, see a television program with a border collie that had been taught over 200 words. This is pretty cool, but recognition of words by a pet is not the same as using words to describe what is happening in life.
When you go into a restaurant and look over the menu and see something that you want, you point at the item and say, “I want this.” You certainly do not want the words on the menu. You want that item that the words represent. The words bacon and eggs are not the bacon and eggs that you will likely receive. If someone asks you who you are and you say, “Mary.” I would say, “Wait a minute, you are not Mary. I have an aunt named Mary and a sister in law named Mary. “Which one of you is really Mary and which ones are imposters!”
When you were a young child, perhaps you were outside with your parent(s) and you saw a little thing on the ground, hopping around, pulling something out of the ground. You were delighted. You watched the little thing bouncing around and all you saw was form, color, movement; a brilliant example of life expressing itself. It moved you and you were in a state of wonder. Your Mom may have told you that what you saw was a bird and that bird is called a Robin. From that moment, you will never really see that bird again. You have named it, conceptualized it and filed it in your memory bank and the next time you see one, you will likely say, “It is a Robin.” You might have pleasure in seeing it, but you will not have the same reaction as you did the first time. Your brain will not allow it. You are ordering bacon and eggs from the menu.
Think about each time you come home from work or the store and you see your pet. Does it look at you and think, “Oh, it’s just my human Mom, coming home from work?” If it did, after a few times, it wouldn’t likely respond much at all when you walk in the door. However, it doesn’t use words when it responds to you coming home. Without words, it still has that same jubilation that I discussed when you saw your first Robin. Joy, joy, joy. No words. No concepts.
What if your pet was able to conceptualize the word, love? It would be just like a person and in no time, the word would represent so many things that it is not. Your pet would not longer love you unconditionally, without condition, without words. If it did, you would get a similar response that you might get from the kids or the spouse.
“Hi honey. I’m home.” The dog looks around and says, “Hi Mom, did you bring me a toy? Why not. You must not love me if you didn’t bring me a toy.” Or, he might just ignore you and continue watching the football game.
Thoughts are the same as words. So, when you read some clever article about all the thoughts that your pet has in different situations, just giggle like I do. Without words, there are no thoughts, no beliefs, no perceptions. Gets pretty simple doesn’t it. When some holistic vet says that your pet loves you unconditionally, remember what your pet would say, “Neti. Neti.” Not that. Not that. Words can’t even describe it.