I love dogs. Yep, all of them...big, small, cute, ugly. The little yapper that you could pick up with a pair of tweezers to the drooling mastiff that slings spit with every step. I even feel for those aggressive dogs that I'd rather avoid, because I know it's probably not their fault. I can usually find some redeeming qualities in any dog that comes my way. I always think mine are the greatest (cutest, smartest, sweetest, etc.), of course. When it comes to finding fault with a dog, I usually can find a dozen ways to blame the owner, but not the dog. Here's an example. This is Katie, by brother and sister-in-law's dog. The snarl that you see there is courtesy of my brother. I got to look in on Katie this week while my brother and sister-in-law were out of town for the day, and this look, at left, was my departure snarl. I waved good-bye, she snarled. Like clockwork, every time. I even left to get my phone out of the car so I could take this picture. I came back, waved again. Snarl. Click. Picture taken. The thing is, she actually likes me. She just hates any kind of hand action, like a wave good-bye. This is something my brother has taught her. Not intentionally, but just in the way he "plays" with her. She doesn't trust hands around her, or even at a distance, because she has come to expect some teasing from them. She snarls when you reach to pet her on the head, or when you remove your hand after petting her on the back. Tummy rubs are safe, unless you get too close to her face. She's sweet otherwise, and I have never felt threatened by her, although a paper towel I was using to wipe some eye goop off of her face took it hard....I think that we train our dogs every day, whether it's intentional or not, so I think we should be aware of how our behavior is shaping their behavior.
I did a portrait of Katie last year (to the left). I captures her sweeter moments. Maybe I'll do another one for my brother that portrays her snarlier side...And maybe I'll suggest they give her a new name. How about "Snarls Barkley"?
All images and designs are copyrighted and the property of Dana Keating Marziale and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2011