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January 26, 2018: A Conversation with Ryder

Alys: Ryder, what’s shakin?
Ryder: The whole cabin.
A: The earthquake was a few nights ago.
R: Aftershocks.
A: How do you know what aftershocks are?
R: I have been listening as Pete’s been reading the book about the 1964 earthquake.
A: And?
R: The writers didn’t talk to any dogs.
A: That’s because dog’s can’t communicate with people.
R: Oh yes they can. Look. Me and you. We are having a conversation about earthquakes.
A: And?

R: Dogs are very sensitive to such things. If the ground shakes, we really feel it. And we feel aftershocks that you do not.
A: And?
R: The past few days, it’s been ongoing?
A: Are you sure you aren’t imagining this?
R: I might be imagining this. That is of little consequence. What is of big consequence is that most likely there will be another earthquake and more aftershocks.
A: I agree with you on that.
R: I need to know what you are going to do about this.
A: If we are upstairs, we will just lay still and wait it out.
R: Don’t you think we should all run downstairs and go outside and stand in the yard?
A: That’s what I’d like to do. But Pete says that we might get hurt going down the stairs.
R: That is if we are upstairs.
A: Yes. My thinking is that if I am downstairs I will head outside and lay on the ground.
R: What if a tree falls on you?
A: I will try and take refuge out the range of trees.
R: Good idea.
A: I will watch out for you, so don’t fret.
R: I have to talk about something else.
A: Yes?
R: The dispatch you wrote the other day, about my sending you and Pete to the human(e) shelter. It did not ring true.
A: Why do you think that is?
R: Because I am not unhappy enough with you two that I would send you to such a place.
A: We are not perfect.
R: Exactly. But you do love me and also to tend to my needs.
A: Yes.
R: A dog can’t ask for more than that.
A: I wrote that dispatch in hopes of getting people to see how dogs are treated by humans, using the dog’s point of view.
R: You just erred in using this dog’s point of view.
A: Do you think that there should be human(e) shelters?
R: You mean places where dogs can pick up new owners?
A: Yes.
R: Well, there is something radically wrong with the concept.
A: What’s that?
R: It would be really hard for a dog to find a good owner there. The places would be filled with losers. And some dogs might be worse off than they were previously.
A: Isn’t this the way it works with animal shelters?
R: Dog no – the animals in those places are all quite wonderful. Some of them have had a bad go of it and have developed some significant behavior problems. However, the right fit is the answer.
A: Makes sense.
R: One more request. Don’t you ever again joke or in any way intimate that you are thinking of sending me to a shelter. Every single dog, including me, lives in fear of ending up in one of these places. And some do.
A: Like Rainbow.
R: Like Rainbow. She always feared going back to one of those places. And since she had been there, she had something to fear.
A: I hear you.
R: Good. Take all I said seriously.
A: I will.
R: Over and out.

Next: 27. 1/27/18: Packing a lot into a Day

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