K9 Art of War


Are you ok?!’

My wife answered her cell phone and is talking with our daughter who just left the condo 3 minutes ago to take the elevator down to run an errand.

Then my wife listened more;

‘Wow! That’s crazy!’

‘But you’re ok??’

‘Ok be careful.’

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A dog had gotten aggressive in the elevator and lunged/growled/barked/snapped at the condo maintenance employee in the same elevator as my daughter. My wife thought our 20 year old daughter might have been injured but nothing happened to her. Likewise The employee narrowly avoided harm but was shaken and a little angry at the unwarranted aggression.

There a lot of dogs in our condo so there are lots of similar encounters: dog to dog or dog to human. Most are quickly managed so no one is harmed and everyone feels at peace that they are not about to be attacked by a vicious dog or worse by their righteous leash holder.

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Dogs growl, bark, snap and sometimes bite. It’s their love. To protect their master. They can switch in the blink of an eye from aggressive protection to playful puppy mode.

Earlier that day I had taken our retriever off leash at the pebble beach on Lake Ontario. Our dog knows the place well. Sometimes we just go to the rocky point to sniff around the bushes and shoreline. Further along there are the first beach and the far beach for investigating skunks, raccoons, groundhogs and weasels living among the boulders or in their dens.

This morning we hung out at the first beach which surprised the dog a bit as we usually continue further. Today I was caught by the waves: sound, feel, reflection and stayed in the moment.

Alison Dueck on Unsplash

The dog took a seat and surveyed all sights, sounds and smells with nose twitches or by swivelling her head.

She was waiting for me chaperone style. Then I start walking back while she rambles through the bushes, always keeping tabs on my whereabouts.

Theirs is a beautiful and humbling expression of what is in effect the Art of War. In a phrase the Art of War is to uphold the peace. Our retriever has an agility between these three roles of: protector, companion and elder. These roles are: to protect the community with aggression that is ready but not apparent; companion each other in striving for the best life possible inside of the peace created by the protectors; embody the wisdom that is best for a thriving community.