On the hill, in a strong wind, Red and Lenore lay down in front of me, turned to me. More than anything, I have learned in my time with dogs to never think I know what they are thinking, to never be sure of what is happening in their very alien minds. To me, the core of training a dog – of knowing a dog – is to listen to them, to push aside our human arrogance and projection and clear our minds of the things we think we know and acknowledge instead how little we know. Sometimes, when I look at a photograph like this and let it sink in, it is clear to me that my dogs are telling me something, that Red and Lenore are communicating with me. It is not in words, they do not have our words, it is in their language of emotions and instincts and smells and sights and sounds. They are processing so much more than I am and, struck by their eyes.
I can't put words to it, be there is a feeling to it. Attention, respect, curiosity. What is the next thing? Where are we going? I see affection there also, the love of animals for someone they trust and know well. There is no fear in their eyes, and I am grateful for that, because I have put fear in a dog's eyes before, and not again. I looked them back in the eye, nodded to them, smiled at them, expressed gratitude for their patience and dedication, for their willingness to sit with me up on that hill and not run off or disrupt me. Trust, I think. That is what I was sharing with them, that is what I was feeling back. Not in words, in feelings. Putting up an album on Facebook.