Platonic love

Cooper doesn’t appreciate being teased. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, if, for example, you have a rope toy and you waggle it and quickly move it around, that is fine. Obviously he could absolutely take it at any time but he is humouring you by allowing you to play with him and enjoy yourself. People sure do like wiggling toys at him.

But Cooper does not like being teased about Amelie.

Platonic love

Who is Amelie? Well, Amelie is a FRIEND. That’s right, a friend. Not some girlfriend and it’s super annoying when people saying “oooo, is Amelie your giiiiiirrrrlfriiieeeeeeend?” in a mocking way. He feels simply quite cross. He gets it, he knows Amelie has been gifted with luxurious snow white curls, a perfect black wet button nose and eyelashes that go on for days. HE KNOWS. But he just really likes that they both like chasing sticks. What’s wrong with that? There doesn’t have to be some ulterior motive behind him wanting to spend time with her and there definitely doesn’t need to be the insinuation that they might make little beagle/poodle hybrid offspring together. Though, he does agree, they would obviously look adorable because Cooper is well aware of what a handsome spread of genes he has.

Cooper likes that it’s easy to spend time with Amelie. They can lie in the sun together in silence and just enjoy the presence of the each other close by. It’s comforting and familiar and peaceful. Isn’t that a nice version of love?

What can you learn from your dog?

There are so many permutations of love. We might love our parents and children and childhood best friend. We might lust from afar after Hollywood’s latest leading A-lister. And how about that friendly guy on the tills at the supermarket who so carefully packs our shopping? We like to pigeon hole our complexity as humans, whereas our dogs just tend to love indiscriminately around them. It might be their default emotion. What would happen if it were ours?

Rich dog

There’s a new beagle in town. Now, Cooper is happily breed neutral and likes to meet all sorts of types of dogs, but he does love to particularly bond with a fellow beagle. And this particular beagle seems to be somewhat special. There has been a murmur on the street that Guy is royalty.

As Cooper muses how it might be just wonderful to have multiple servants bring him a constant service throughout the day of delicious sausages in gold plated bowls, he wonders how his luck has landed on this side of the coin. He only gets the very occasional sausage!

Rich dog

Do some dogs just have a wonderful charmed life? But maybe that’s not the whole story…

It’s no fun being in an animal shelter. Guy the beagle is a truly affectionate sort and these metal bars keep him from snuggling up to those many humans who walk past. He wags his tail at them but no one seems to want to interact.

All these disappointments fade away when That Day arrives. A smiling dark-haired girl stares through the bars at him. He wags hopefully; she seems lovely. She grins more broadly and puts her hand tentatively through the bars to stroke him. He blissfully closes his eyes and revels in having his fur stroked. It’s been so long.

From that day onwards his life is a whirlwind. He soon forgets about his experience at the shelter and settles into a life of being loved and loving hard back. There is delicious food, lots of playtime and another dog to play with. Happiness is his whole world.

Then there’s packing boxes everywhere (ideal to poke his nose into) and a constant flurry of activity of comings and goings. Some mysterious tablet and then a hazy journey in a cozy crate which feels like an age. And then the trip is over… he sniffs new air. Something fresh and different. Cooler but somehow tingling and welcoming. More bumps and movement; he peers out wondering where this adventure is taking him. His cheery owner idly strokes him and whispers excitedly into his fur. He wags to show he understands what she is saying, but he doesn’t. However, he’s happy to go along with whatever is going on. It seems like a new beginning.

What can you learn from your dog?
When we meet people, we see who they are today. We don’t see the hardships and journey they have made to get there and we can make, sometimes maybe negative, assumptions about them. Maybe we are a bit jealous or disgruntled at our lot. That’s okay. But there’s space in the world for everyone to do well, we just need to take our own journey to get there.

Love completely

Rizla the weimaraner is a soppy dog. From the first moment she met her owner she was besotted and entranced. It’s such an easy way to be; her owner is her world, her everything, and her favourite place to be is near her.

Love is very important to Riz and she feels that giving her owner unconditional and constant love is her reason for being. For Riz, she doesn’t need to dig any deeper than just accepting the pure love she feels throughout her furry body.

If her owner goes out, Riz feels a sense of loss when she’s on her own, a tad out of sorts. It aches at her heart a little, but she potters about the house, doing her weimaraner thing. At the back of her mind, though, she’s continually wondering when her owner will be back. Something is just missing.

Love completely

Riz’s love for her owner feels like an elastic band that connects them together. The further they are apart, there is a tension, a sense of unease, and when they are close together, it’s relaxed and the natural state of things. This means it makes sense that Riz acts as a shadow, following her owner from room to room (and boy, does she move around a lot). Padding up to the toilet and waiting outside, back to the sofa and curling up. She needs and craves the physical touch of the person at the centre of her life.

Love for Riz is a sense of absolute peace. She is exactly where she’s meant to be, lying next to the person whom she loves so absolutely. She feels centred. She feels accepted. She feels loved. The calm washes over her and everything is okay.

What can you learn from your dog?

Love can be a beautiful, pure and intoxicating thing. Can you gently lose yourself in someone or something you feel an incredible innate connection to? Don’t fight it, embrace and let yourself be in the love.

 

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The first book “The Barklife Way – Introducing Cooper” is available to buy for £12.99 here: http://www.thebarklifeway.com/shop/

Love the winter

Cooper loves that he is covered in fur. As well as being incredibly stylish, his tri-colour branding is eye-catching and gets the lady dogs’ attention. But in winter he has noticed it has a more practical use. It’s colder at this time of year and it helps keep the chill away more than these poor naked hairless humans.

He has noticed that getting ready for a walk takes even achingly longer. He didn’t think it was possible to do yet more things before a walk began, but now there are hats and scarves and gloves and jumpers and big coats and an ongoing commentary about how cold it is and is Cooper really very sure he has to go out? Err, yes. Obviously.

Love the winterOutside there is an eerie mist in the air. He can’t see everything ahead (though obviously seeing is not the most important sense anyway) and when he inhales, there is a short sharp burst of icy air. It’s surprisingly, that’s for sure. He tastes the winter in his mouth and breathes it back out into the world as he pads on the frosty grass, making it crunch and crackle under his paws.

Now being outside in the winter is great… but… he doesn’t mind if the walks are that tad shorter and that the momentum is that little bit brisker. It’s almost as if it’s worth being outside just so he can come back into the warmth. And the best thing about winter is that actually everyone seems to be a bit too cold, and of course the best way to remedy this situation is to be in a Massive Pile. And that’s what Cooper tries to engineer. Dogs totally get it. But humans… they are all “what are you doing, stop trying to get under my blanket; stop using your big brown eyes and charm to manoeuvre into my lap; don’t put your freezing cold nose on the small of my back…” Blah blah blah. Such a strange species. He’s just trying to help them feel encompassed in warmth and comfort.

What can you learn from your dog?

Hunker down. It’s cold. Now is not the time to begin a running regime, it’s the time to curl up with loved ones and generate warmth together. You want their warmth and they want yours.

Pile on.

Do to for them

Cooper does not like being dressed up as a bee. Now, he’s not sure you quite get it, so he will re-emphasise. HE DOES NOT WANT TO LOOK LIKE A STUPID BEE.

But, wow, his owners just adore to dress him up in a dumb costume each year.

He could put up more resistance – after all he has many dreams about bravely and strongly fending off the house from an influx of evil cats and squirrels – but at the heart of it all, he loves his human cohabiters and it makes them so happy. He stands there, letting them put one leg at a time into fluffy cheap scratchy fabric as they giggle hysterically.

BeegleOf all the costumes, why a dumb bee? Bees are strange colourful flying snacks that aren’t tasty at all and hurt to eat. They seem to be followed by an impromptu trip to the vets, which is fun as he gets to have a fuss made of him (as he should), some tasty treats, but then they seem to pinch his neck for no reason at all. But then there’s another treat, so he guesses it’s okay? Bit weird though.

They finish off their dressing up antics by tying a ridiculously humiliating bow under his neck to keep a bonnet with antennae over his ears. If he could, he would roll his eyes and shake his head, but he is not a petty dog, he lets them get on with it and stands there so they can point their portable rectangles at him and flash light at him. He poses until their laughs subside and then wanders off to the garden to go roll in a seriously large amount of mud.

What can you learn from your dog?

We don’t always totally enjoy every moment with our families and people we are obligated to be with. But if your Aunt gives you a hideous jumper, smile, enthuse and throw it on. It’s an hour of your life, but it’s heartwarming for them to feel appreciated. They love you and they don’t always get that you are not on the same page as them. Sometimes their affections are misguided but, hey, suck it up.

Be loving… and do it for them.