What Am I Worth?
I haven’t posted for a little while. Beloved was busy, busy with family things and busy reading ‘Love at the speed of an e-mail’ which I recommended in my last blog.
I have to say if I’d realised how much time Beloved would have spent reading it I might have thought twice about mentioning the book. And she enjoyed it too. She even wrote a review on Amazon which she has never done before. She should have been writing for me.
I am not jealous, not me. Though I am used to Beloved having lots of time with me and since she has to spend a lot of time helping Team Leader through his health problems she hasn’t had quite as much time at home. However, I shall be generous and forgive her and be happy that she had a good read.
The Princess is claiming that I am getting a bit ‘above myself’ since writing this blog. Me! I am a humble Tibbie and anyone could tell you that. I am very humble.
I am also very honest and if I had been given the opportunity I am sure I would have been a very hard working Tibbie too.
Lately, I have been meeting many dogs at the dog park who have worked or who even now have a job.
Then with the weird twist that is life, when something has been brought to your attention you begin seeing it everywhere. Television has been full of working dogs. Cute puppies, older dogs, all different shapes and sizes with one thing in common – selling anything from toilet paper to dog food.
One of the programmes Beloved and her beloved was watching showed dogs who live with blind people and are trained to lead them around and be their ‘eyes’.
Then there are dogs who live with deaf people and alert them to sounds and dogs who visit hospitals to help the sick. I have been learning that many dogs go out there in the world and earn their treats.
It made me wonder. What do I do?
My next door neighbour is a staffie and is very fierce in guarding. I am not a fierce guard dog. I am a watch dog. I watch and sometimes I might tell Beloved someone is at the door and sometimes I don’t see the point because there is a doorbell.
Some dogs I have met at the park have been in advertisements. There is one Old English Sheepdog who was on television advertising paints once. He is quite handsome but if I was in full coat I am sure I could sell anything. I am cute.
Then there are the sheepdogs. Some of these visit the park and not all of them are working dogs but some of the older ones have tales of farmyard experiences which are very rich and interesting.
So then I come back home and wonder again. What do I do?
I have never worked. I have never earned anything. I get my food for just being me and I suppose you could call me a kept dog. Am I worth less because of this? Am I of less value to those around me?
Is it enough to be a stay at home dog? Should I be ashamed? Am I just a dead weight among the dog community? Is being happy with Beloved not enough or do I have to prove myself through working?
For some it isn’t enough. They look down their noses at The Princess and I. When we first get to know each other there are a few dogs who ask what we do and if we don’t have a job that seems worthwhile to them they will move on. Needless to say they move on pretty quickly from us. I think that is a shame because I am interested to hear about what they do. Just because I don’t visit the sick doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hearing about how they prepare a dog to go into special wards – baths, baths and more baths!
Even dogs who don’t work outside the home justify their existence by talking about how many people they scared away from the door or how many cats they chased. It is as if they feel they have to do something to be of value.
Some of the dogs at the park have had puppies which I think is great, but the working dogs often think that is not good enough. Anyone can have puppies they say. Not after you’ve had that visit to the vet I say!
Beloved has struggled with this in her life. She has moved around to different countries a lot and before she had her sons she worked but after they were born she stayed at home to look after them.
People accepted it but were a little dismissive because she didn’t have a career. Then when her sons left and she still didn’t work people were surprised and she was made to feel uncomfortable. Without a job what did she do all day? Without a job what could they talk about? It took her a while to deal with that.
Prissy Paws (aka Devon) is a little like that with The Princess and I. He was a show dog so when we get together all we hear about is how special he is, how many shows he’s won, how the judge said this or that about him.
The Princess and I never did go into the show ring, not even as puppies. On the whole this is something I am happy about. I don’t see myself trotting around a ring, not with my funny shoulders. I think people would have laughed at the way I have to throw my front legs out a little. Even Beloved comments on my funny walk sometimes and she is usually most understanding.
But how do I answer Prissy Paws?
Saying I am happy as I am sounds so unambitious. Saying I do a lot at home is a lie. I sleep a lot at home.
Saying I would have loved to have been a dog on television is sort of true but also makes it sound like I’m unhappy being who I am and I’m not.
Who am I then?
I am a dog who loves. I love Beloved. I love her beloved. I love Team Leader and his beloved. I love Beloved’s sons and their families. I love the friends who call and I even love the strangers who pass by in the street. I am a very loving Tibbie and if you have sausage treats I will never leave you.
But sometimes it seems that being loving and being a comfort to your Beloved isn’t enough out there in the world. There is pressure to be more. To prove that you are beautiful, or clever or successful at something.
I could make something up. I could tell them that I am a blogger but then that would be falling into their trap. Playing the game by their rules.
No. I refuse.
I refuse to be ashamed to be who I am. I am not cut out to be a guard dog. I like people I’m not going to growl and threaten to bite them.
Sheep can run faster than I can so I could never be a sheepdog and as I don’t like baths I am not sure I could be on television.
I am a Tibbie who loves to stay at home. I like my soft beds, I like to be able to drink when I want to. I like my routine and I love it when Beloved is home with me because I like company. If Beloved isn’t around then The Princess will do.
So having decided that, I am comfortable in my own coat and I will ignore the sniffs of disapproval from others and focus only on being the best Tibbie I can be.
Focus on that and on sausages.
My job is to love and I am very good at that.
Now I am tired and it is time for my catch-up nap before lunch. I am a little behind in my schedule today!