Cognition & Reality

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Fetchin’ Gretchen

Filed under: Attachment,Basic Goodness,Perennial Philosophy — drtone @ 2:41 pm

My 10-year-old dachshund Gretchen, whom I have described before as indefatigable, loves a couple of games more than eating, more than she loves me, maybe. In “Squirty-Squirt,” she attacks a “jet” stream coming out of the hose. She bites the water, dances around it, makes attacking passes at it, and barks like crazy the whole time. The other is “Fetch.” She’s good at Fetch, but not great. First of all, she’s only so-so at catching the ball. Second, she has a thing about giving the ball back to me, coyly playing with it, mouthing it, dropping it and then snapping it up, until she actually lets me pick it up. She never puts it in my hand; I gave up teaching her to do so years ago. Don’t tell Cesar Milan.

When Gretchen plays Fetch, she tries to catch the ball, usually on a bounce. Sometimes, she does catch it. Mostly, she misses, and ends up chasing the ball to the wall, about 10 yards away. I like it when she catches the ball, especially when she snares it cleanly out of the air from a difficult angle. Occasionally, I clap as if she were a Little Leaguer who’s made a difficult play. Maybe she likes catching the ball, too. Mainly, however, she doesn’t care whether she catches it or chases it. Either way, it’s the game, and the game is fun. She spends no time or energy judging herself when she misses. It does not matter. It’s all good, as far as she is concerned, the “basic goodness” of dog and ball. This is Gretchen’s lesson about non-attachment.

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