Hunting is a terrier’s real purpose. “Hunt until you drop.” That’s Terrier Logic # 2. Before we ‘own’ a terrier we read all about these cute, non-shedding dogs and how independent, persistent and plucky they are. How endearing, we think. So feisty. We think we ‘get it’. But I don’t think we really do. Then some of us struggle mightily against these personality traits.
We really need to come to our senses and embrace the emotional make-up of our dogs–especially terriers. When we do, life with them just makes more sense. For everyone involved.
Many animals are ’empathic’. Don’t believe me? Watch this amazing video presentation by Frans de Waal, acclaimed Dutch primatologist and ethologist, that aired originally on the TED network. He provides evidence of empathy and compassion, reciprocity and fairness in the animal kingdom. Turns out there’s proof empathy isn’t just for people. Now that’s an “idea worth spreading”, though good ‘dog people’ know it instinctively.
If you own any kind of terrier–a Cairn, a Border or a Pit Bull, for instance–you’ve seen empathy and plenty of it. All dogs have it. But terriers seem to have more of it than most. (See Terrier Logic # 12).
Terriers are emotional beings and can recognize, respond to and mirror our emotions.
When someone coughs or sneezes at my house, Bossy is right there checking on her person. You OK? Good. Now rub my belly. When a golfer on TV rims a putt, both of my dogs console my husband after confirming he didn’t have a heart attack. More kisses. And like most people, my dogs will snuggle in close when they know someone isn’t feeling well. I’m not leaving your side; I’ll stay here as long as you need me.
How does two-way empathy help us in handling our feisty terriers? If we can change, our dogs can change. And change usually starts in our hearts.
Is your terrier empathetic? Do you think terriers are more empathetic than other breeds you’ve lived with? Share your story about a terrier that’s touched your heart and shown you his. Click on the comment bubble on the top right or write your story below.