May 21, 2006


Shell Proud

The pride of people is wondrously amusing to your average canine. I love to sit on the rug in the bedroom and watch the humans watch themselves in the mirror. They are oh so attentive to the details: the tone of skin, the shape of eyebrow, the thickness of lash, the hair in nose and whisker on chin. Vanity, thy name is human. The only one who adores you as much as your dog is, well, yourself.

My experience is that pride is not the sin of any particular age group but that each feels pride in different things. Young people are often proud of what's God-given. There are the profuse, luxuriant locks of hair that young women carry with the pride of lions, and there are the young men who parade shirtless as if that power of youthful vigor were their very own invention. Or they have pride in the popularity of peer groups, prolifigate in their innocent arrogance.

In middle age, people try to maintain their pride in beauty, but it gets harder. The young seem to always win the battle for physical perfection. And so the middle aged become prone to pride in social position: professional achievement, promotions, pay scales, and the like. Or they become proud of physical things: the sleek new car, the airy house along the shore, the slickest, shiniest cell phone.

Even in their elder years, people have their pride, though it's more tempered by an approaching eternity: pride in children and grandchildren, in health and hearing aids, in the latest fishing equipment, in the ability to pontificate about politics, in feats of memory during games of bridge, in becoming the president of the condo board, or just in maintaining a sense of humor in the face of the priceless catastrophe of old age.

We dogs also have our pride of course, but our pride is of a simpler and somehow less ego-driven sort. Me, I strut in pride at the simplest of things: walking with humans down the beach, being the first dog to the frisbee, or just diving for clam shells in the shallows of the bay. In fact, nothing makes me prouder than claiming and carrying a hefty piece of thick shell in my mouth. Molly calls me "shell proud," and so I am. Shell proud. If only human pride came as freely and easily, the world might be a step closer to the Buddhist ideal of Nirvana, that penultimate prima-donna-less paradise.

(By the way, you may have noticed a profusion of Ps in this post, a task sort of awarded to me by Kimananda. I haven't followed the rules of the game precisely because I am, after all, a different breed of blogger. But I will say that I used all these particularly potent and pungent words for the same simple reason: dogs just adore a continuing string and wide variety of P).

I love how the dog species, first react to their reflection in the mirror!
oh - that picture - hank - you dawg you!

i so miss the companionship of a four-foot. and i am overdue for a beachwalk (at which I mostly watch the dogs on the beach in their pride and joy). and am long overdue to babysit my friend molly - i will have to order her family off on vacation so i can hang out with her.

so i love the picture- it is pure dog joy. something i miss. there's no joy like dog joy.
Great post - and wonderful photo.
Our Lab was our furry Buddha.
Rockwell still needs to mature before he can get that honorific.
Hank! Very good observations :-) I do agree. And my lab Simon is most proud when he finds a stinking tennis ball hidden in a ditch or something! One should be so lucky ;-) The greatest feeling must be when you are able to feel proud enough about yourself so you don't feel the need to flaunt it.
Hank, you look so happy with that shell. Thank God for the good days at the beach!
Those are good for you Hank. Lots of calcium for strong bones.
vanity(sit_pretty + pride)=cookie --endo
haha .. awesomeee @ post title .. yuppp he definetely is shell proud ..
as long as you feel proud about a good thing .. it's great :)
You do look excited with that in your mouth, Hank. But, I have to say that as a prissy little dog I really feel the proudest leaving the groomers or in a new doggie outfit my mommy buys me.
I too am proud of myself and a job well done, whether it be finding a big shell on the beach, a tennis ball left over and neglected since last summer, or going all the way across the scary dog walk even though I fell off last week and hurt myself in a rather personal area. Won't go into more details than that, but ouch.
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