Life with a dog is, what shall we say, very…interesting. Its been a while since Ive had a dog, and to be honest, I don’t think I have ever had a puppy. I mean, yea, I have had “Young dogs” but as far as puppies go, no. No puppies.
The other night I took the little monster outside to do her “Before bed duties.” Sitting right outside the door was a little mouse. The cat must have drug it up earlier in the day and left it was a “I want in” present. I wasn’t too sure, I picked it up…but not before the dog spotted it. After she saw it, she wouldn’t leave it. She wouldn’t go potty. She wouldn’t come in. She sat there with that stupid mouse. I drug her back inside but she kept running for the door. And whining. And scratching. And pretty much made every attempt to tell me that she needed to go out that door. But when I opened the door, she went straight for the mouse. She poked it. Barked at it. Whined while looking at it. She looked pretty pitiful, I must say.
I tried reasoning with her (yes I tried reasoning with a dog) and then I tried to “Pull the wool over her eyes” by putting her inside, moving the mouse and then letting back out exclaiming loudly “It must have come back to life and ran away!!” but being the smart thing that she is, she sniffed out the hiding spot and continued to whine.
It took her a good 30 minutes to calm down after seeing that.
Of course, I made sure it was gone the next morning before she went out, as to not have a repeat.
I was telling the kids about the incident the next morning when Madi piped up that “Yoshi and Josh are a lot alike.” I tried to remember the last time Josh ran around on all fours whimpering at a dead mouse, but I couldn’t recall a time. It took me a few minutes to understand what she was getting at. Seeing that I was obviously clueless to what she was talking about, Madi continued on to explain that Yoshi doesn’t talk, per say, but she has absolutely no problem getting her point across. You can tell what she wants. She lets you know what she wants, and tells what you what she needs and if you don’t listen, she will make you listen. And you know what? She had a good point.
If she needs to go out she will run to you, and if upon her first request you don’t pay her any attention she will jump up and start scratching on you. Faster and faster and faster until you give up and haul her out. Of course if you ignore her pleads, she will pee wherever she pleases.
Im not saying that Josh runs up to you and scratches when he has to pee. Or that he chases his tail (although they do both love balls.)
But no one thinks twice about a dog not talking. And no one thinks twice about talking to a dog. And no one questions how you understand the dog. And that, is just a dog. If you can tell by looking at a dog – who is running around wild, that they have to go outside. Then don’t you think its possible to understand what a kid is trying to say, even if he doesn’t exactly use the same words as you or I?
Its been something I have struggled with for a long time. A long time ago someone who found out that Josh did not say a thing (at the time) asked me in shock “Well how do you understand what he needs! Or wants! Or likes??” I can tell you now, that then, it was difficult. I didnt have an answer. But over time, we have come to an understanding. And it isn’t just me who understands him. People, understand him.
He has opinions. Just because he doesn’t express them with words. He does have opinions, and maybe one day he will be verbal enough to express his opinion on people who try to push their opinions over on him.
He has likes and dislikes and has no trouble getting that across. If he doesn’t like something, you will know about it.
He has feelings, and he does understand what people say about him. More so now that he has gotten older. Yes, it makes me worry about his future, a lot. People often assume that because he doesn’t say much, or doesn’t talk very often or say many words – that he doesn’t understand. But he understands everything. He takes in every word that people say, and he aims to please. When people take him at face value, and assume things about him that arent true, it doesn’t do him any good. He knows what they are saying about him. You don’t need to tell me – tell him. And if you wouldn’t tell him, then don’t tell me.
He does communicate. I think the biggest mistake that people make about Josh is that he is shut up in his own little world, trapped inside his mind, with nothing but mathematical equations to keep him company. This couldn’t be further from the truth. He talks – on occasion, using very few words, and usually only if he thinks hes alone. He “Talks” himself to sleep every night. Repeating things he has heard during the day, I like to think of it as he is processing his day. He gets his point across and does respond to things you say, even though it might not be with a direct answer or word.
In short – Josh might be very much like a puppy. Hyper, excited, and he doesn’t always pee on demand.
But he doesn’t need to be treated like he is less than a dog. He understands, knows, communicates, and does his best to please you. You might have to listen or look a little harder for his answers, but they are there.
Maybe just waiting to be seen, but not always heard.
I wish everyone got to know him like I do.