Remember that 1964 pop song ‘Leader of the Pack‘ by The Shangri-Las (dear lord, did hair really look like that back in the 60’s-OMG!). It was a pretty decent hit for the girl band and a moderate cover hit for Twisted Sister in 1985 (among others) about teenage tragedy. But what I mean by leader of the pack here relates to ‘leadership.’ Wikipedia says this about leadership: “…described as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” The dictionary defines leadership as When it comes to our dogs, we definitely provide support and direction. We are their caretakers, making sure they remain safe. As owners we are charged with their safekeeping, we provide a pack that they may thrive, shelter from storms, food and love. This is what they need, this is what we do if we’re responsible pet owners.
Another aspect of the dynamic relationship with our fur-kids is loyalty. We are faithful and devoted to them and they to us. It’s a unique bond between biped and canine and I had an opportunity to view the two side by side the other evening when I was out in the garden. I often let Sam hang with me in the garden while I putz around pulling Sumac seedlings (will they never end?), watering, etc. He loves being outside keeping an eye on me, sniffing to his heart’s content without me nagging him to move along but mostly he loves to greet passers-by. A couple of women who live nearby stroll by frequently with their pup and Sam absolutely adores both of them. He’s isn’t all that crazy about their pooch who even after 2 years still goes immediately for Sam’s ears, but any chance to see either of them, well he’s more than happen to split from the yard to say hi, tail furiously wagging with a big goofy grin on his face. They always laugh at Sam’s goofiness and we chat about the latest goings on in our ‘hood. As soon as Sam spied them, he was gone in a flash, despite my
calls to stay screeching. That dog was on a mission and it didn’t involve me. Luckily he didn’t run out into the street and no one was hurt, other than my ego at my lack of ‘leadership’ with him. He leaned heavily against on Roxann’s leg, looking longingly up into her face. He was in heaven with his friend. I called him repeatedly to get back into the yard but my pleas voice went unheard. I walked out to the sidewalk to bring him back and he still refused to budge. We all chuckled about it but it got me to thinking. Why was my dog ignoring me (beyond usual)? Did he not respect my leadership where his interests collided with my commands and his needs?
Then I said, “ok for you, I’m going back inside,” and started back up the walk toward the porch. He then came galloping toward me immediately and then leaned against my leg looking up with those adorably sweet amber eyes. I realized that while my ‘leadership’ may be hit or miss sometimes with Sam, his loyalty can never be questioned. He’ll always be my lap dog, peacefully snoozing away on top of my legs and yes, probably dreaming about the next encounter with one of his neighborhood BFF’s but I know he’ll always be completely mine.
Live, love, bark! <3