Wolfie is on his belly, ears up, watching me intently when I kneel down 30 feet away and say “Come!” He is attached to a rope. The end of the rope is at my feet. He obeys the command. We do this 5 times in a row. He responds willingly 5 times in a row. I remove the rope. I move 30 feet away. My work gloves are next to me. He loves those gloves – mike sweat, essence of mike, mmmmm. I command him to come to me (do not imagine this as sounding all pharaonic). On his belly, ears up, he watches me and does not move a muscle. I know the drill. I rise up creakily and walk towards him – 15 feet away. “Come!” Nope. Ten feet away. He arcs past me to the glove and runs away tossing it in the air, the very picture of Border collie joy.
Wolfie is more the teacher here than I am. He is a trickster. I’m trying to learn his tricks so that I can adapt. Cesar Millan would give me an F.
Tony Hillerman’s mystery series set in the Four Corner region of the southwest, primarily on Navajo land, weaves Navajo belief and myth into his plots. One of those stories describes the coyote as emblematic of the trickster god. He breaks the rules. He deceives.
There is no meanness in Wolfie. He licks children’s hands, wants to be every dog’s playmate, and follows right behind our feet when we walk him off leash. When he zigs when I say zag or when he plots his next attempt to own the best glove of all time, I need to pay attention on more than one level to something I often lose sight of with my foolish demand that the world be linear, concrete and logical. I need to adapt too and must learn how to think zig when everything in me commands Zag!