Listening With Dog Ears

One of my very favorite Far Side cartoons is the one where the guy is admonishing his dog, “Ginger, I told you to stay out of the garbage! I’ve had it, Ginger!” and all she hears is “Blah blah blah…Ginger…blah blah blah…Ginger!”

I find it hilarious because – more often than I care to admit – I converse with my dogs like this after they’ve dug a hole to China in the backyard or treated the cat box like their personal snack bar. As they listen to me ranting in exasperation, I can see the thought bubbles forming above their canine noggins: “Oh, silly woman. If only you knew the joy of dirt flying in your face, or the delectable taste sensation of fresh cat turds. But alas, I shall let you continue in your blissful ignorance of the finer things in life.”

(Okay, so my dogs have ridiculous thought bubbles. They get it from their Mom.)

But as much as I’d prefer that they do what I tell them to (and I certainly don’t advocate harmful or destructive behavior)…I have to admit that perhaps there is some wisdom at work here.

I know, I know. Just hear me out.

In their doggie minds, they are perfectly content doing something that others don’t approve of. Sure, they’re not thrilled when their human companions try to dissuade them from what we see as less than savory passions.  But they don’t take it to heart.

Just like Ginger, they simply listen…filtering out all but the most essential knowledge.

So, how does this apply to us two-legged creatures?

Of course we all have to communicate with each other. And (hopefully) to truly hear what is being said.

But do we have to take in judgment, criticism and unsolicited advice…especially when it comes to the dreams we hold sacred?

When you’re told (oh-so-nicely) that perhaps a Plan B is in order.

When statistics are presented as gospel.

When disapproval threatens to push you towards derailment.

In those instances, I stand with Ginger.

Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to be dog-eared.

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