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A short article containing some philosophical reflections by the author about human nature, as evidenced in his pet Cockapoo, Buddy. Perhaps your dog does some of the same things?

The Furry Mirror

Wind whooshes past my face as furry whiteness soars over my head. Roused from my nap on the floor, I scan the living room for a sign of the culprit. My gaze falls upon Buddy, my two-year-old Cockapoo puppy, as he saunters over to me with a saucy tail wag, as if to say, “I didn’t wake you, you know.” Then, evidently feeling relieved that I do not send him to bed, he dashes off in whatever direction his clownish thoughts take him. Through his antics I see a vivid reflection of myself as his owner – especially when my own self-expression pleasantly annoys those around me. As I watch him zoom away, I consider how dogs possess multiple human characteristics and can sometimes mirror their owners’ personalities.

Of all the daily antics through which Buddy displays his characteristics, the self-generated carpet-napkin conveyor belt shows his humanistic problem-solving characteristics. Buddy dirties his whiskers during meals and has devised a method of cleaning his face that I termed the “self-generated carpet-napkin conveyor belt.” After eating, Buddy suddenly dashes onto the nearest carpet at top speed. Twisting his head to one side while the rest of his body follows like a corkscrew from shoulders to tail, he skids along the carpet on one side and cleans his beard off quite effectively till he slides to a momentary halt. He will lay there as if expecting applause, and then he will bounce up to repeat the process on his other side, cleaning off the remaining half of his face so effectively that I thought I would try it once. However, after aggravating Mom for leaving soup stains from my mouth on the floor, I decided to leave the carpet napkin conveyor belt to Buddy. Though I cannot use his face-cleaning methods, my dog’s hilarious performance starkly mimics the odd methods I sometimes employ to ameliorate my problems and reveals an astute problem-solving trait in his character.

Wild antics such as the infamous carpet-napkin conveyor belt sometimes tire Buddy out, and at these times he shows his human-like desire for relaxation through “flopping.” When awake, Buddy assumes a taut, balanced position as he reclines on one side with his head held high. From his ready-to-go position Buddy’s tail wags slightly in anticipation of his funny antic, while his body releases its alert tenseness. Then, like a falling tree, his head drops quickly to the floor as his tail wags faster and faster. Abruptly, his head and body thump the floor and his tail stops wagging. Anyone watching the process might think that Buddy knocked himself unconscious. Nonetheless, he will drop off to sleep soon after hitting the floor. Buddy actually seems to enjoy the process, but needless to say I have refrained from using “flop” unless I wish to fall unconscious immediately. In sharp contrast to his energetic problem-solving, Buddy’s love of relaxation reflects the human desire for recreational rest evidenced by many people – including me.

Through a trick called “guess which,” Buddy displays remarkable deductive reasoning. To play “guess which,” I sit Buddy down, make sure I command his attention, and show him a treat. Then I furl the treat into one hand and hide both hands behind my back. I then stretch out my closed fists so he can pat the hand he thinks holds the treat. Amazingly, though he cannot see or smell the treat, Buddy will guess the correct hand nine times out of ten. When he does happen to guess wrong, he hesitates for a moment, the gears turning inside his head, until he reaches the logical conclusion that he must pat the other hand. Such a display of logic in a dog, though simple compared to human standards, nevertheless suggests the similarity between human and canine characteristics.

Above all Buddy loves to play, and his love of recreation manifests itself through “bed wrestling.” When bored, my dog will stick his head inside his crate, yank out the fuzzy bed lining, and shake it vigorously, causing some problems. First, his bed dwarfs him for size, so he often wraps himself up inside the bed like a mummy with just his tail sticking out. In this case I have to declare the bed the winner of the wrestling match. Additionally, Buddy will completely destroy the bed if left unattended, so often I must retire the bed and substitute another toy. At any rate, Buddy’s bed wrestling spectacles double-up onlookers with laughter and reflect the capricious whims of many humans.

Though Buddy regularly participates in countless antics, the carpet-napkin conveyor belt, “flop,” guess-which game, and bed wrestling embody the characteristics that make Buddy unique. My dog’s problem-solving capabilities, love of relaxation, deductive reasoning skills, and hilarious means of recreational self-expression constantly leave me amazed. Through Buddy I have learned to appreciate the animals that inhabit the earth. Due to the similarities between human and canine personality traits, watching my dog resembles seeing a furry reflection of myself. Thus I thank God for Buddy – my greatest object lesson and my most devoted friend.

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