Thursday, July 10, 2008

Random Thoughts From A Day In the City

My neighbours have family visiting from Georgia until the end of the month. both the neighbours and their kin are well spoken and considerate. They came with three pit bulls. One of them was pregnant and now five little Pit Bulls are native New Yorkers. The dogs do their share of barking but it's nothing threatening. They are respectful little creatures who seem a bit bewildered by their new urban surroundings. They are very nice to the cats who lived back there before they arrived. My children always enjoy seeing the dogs back there and even pet them on occasion when their owner permits it. I've heard a lot about Pit Bulls. There are plenty of horror stories about them. They wouldn't be my first choice of breed. I see these dogs and look at their owner I see how well behaved they are it leads me to one conclusion. There are very very few bad dogs. There are bad dog owners. I'm sure that there are dogs with a bad temperament wired into their genes. A lot of that is probably from poorly managed breeding. I'd rather get a mixed breed. I'm not impressed by royalty, whether its canine or human.
There is something moving in observing the emotional live of animals. One afternoon, I was with my children in a park. There were groups of mother geese who were watching their young together. The goslings looked like fuzzy, lively little toddlers. At one point, we startled the mothers by inadvertently coming too close to their young. One of the mother geese cocked her head and made a hissing sound that was undoubtedly a warning. I called to my children to put some distance between us and the birds. Even though my first instincts and actions were to protect my own children, I felt a flash of parental empathy with the mother geese. I was later told that geese protecting their young can inflict considerable injury. It seems that animals can feel when they are dealing with the young of another species. I wonder what the sounds of our conversation seemed like to them.
I never assume that animals are as cuddly as they look. I heard a story about a cute looking seal biting off a fisherman's nose. The world is really numerous kingdoms superimposed upon each other. Some of these kingdoms exist in a state of aloofness. Others are curious. Some are predatory. In my neighbourhood are canine "communities" as well as feline ones. Some of my friends feed them and know a bit about their lives. To me they are just a backdrop to my world. Except for one cat that has adopted us, I pay them little mind. How does a cat choose a human? This four coloured cat that has chosen us can not really be considered wild. When she drops out of sight for a few days , we start to worry. It's almost like the daily passers by whose absence one day troubles you.
It awes me to see the force of life created by G-d in different species. It is a living reminder of our smallness in this vast universe.
What is notable about humans is our capacity for introspection. A dog can not agonise over his visceral antipathy to the mailman or cats. He can observe that the alpha human in his life welcomes the mailman or the cat. On the one hand, a dog may chase a cat up a tree, but he won't load them into a freight car and ship them far away. I've been bitten by four different dogs in my life, and scratched by a couple of cats. The record for humans is much worse. It's a divine promise that one day will be peace on earth, but until then, things don't always look so good.At night in the city, I often hear dogs barking in the street at night. The dogs do not disturb my sleep. It's the gun shots that scare me

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