|Barked: Tue Feb 18, '14 7:46am PST |
|Reading some of your posts makes me love dogs all the more!
I got to thinking about another example of Lupi's loyalty, or maybe in this case, protectiveness.
When my nephew was born, it was a big deal. The first grandchild, with lots of doting aunts and uncles; he was the jewel of our family. And Lupi must have sensed that. She'd never been around kids before but she acted like a little mother hen. She had to position herself next to the baby, usually with her head resting on him. When we put him in another room to nap, she would lay outside his door, waiting for sounds. If he did make a peep, she ran to his Mom to fetch her. She worried when he was in the stroller because she couldn't reach him. She would heel to the stroller on walks, ignoring everything else-even other dogs.
As my nephew grew, Lupi became less "motherly" but still protective of him. We found out that he has neurological problems, causing speech delay and issues with motor control, among other things. These caused frustration in him and caused him to act out, sometimes loudly. Lupi didn't care. My normally shy, anxious dog chose to stick close to this unpredictable 2 year old, and their bond grew as he seemed able to communicate better with her than with humans.
Now, my nephew has been receiving excellent therapy and is doing so well! He began speaking about 6 months ago and it thrilled our hearts when he began using our names and jabbering away like we never imagined he would. But his favorite word is "Lupi" In fact, at a recent family gathering, we were teasing him about who he loved the most (he has a little sister now that he adores!) expecting him to pick Grandma or his baby sister. Instead he smiled broadly and declared "Lupi!"
The reason I bring all this up is because sometimes a dog's loyalty doesn't make sense to us. Loyalty to the guardians, sure, that makes sense. A dog will likely stick closely to the provider of food and shelter. But what could an infant provide? Certainly not anything tangible in any direct way. And yet many dogs are"loyal" to their tiny humans. Do they recognize the value we place on a baby, and realize it would serve them well to align themselves with a highly esteemed family member? Or do they sense the vulnerability of the little one, and feel drawn to protect it?
In Lupi's case, I honestly think there was (and still is) something special between her and my nephew. She likes kids in general, but she doesn't love them like she does him. We now have two nieces, both under a year, whom she basically ignores. When my nephew visits, her world revolves around him.
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