The German Shorthaired Pointer is a stubborn dog, although this is something of a value-judgement, since stubbornness is only perseverance viewed from the other side. Where would Frodo Baggins have been without stubbornness? Lording it over us all as a Wraith-Hobbit wearing the Ring of Doom, that’s where. Stubbornness is a thing to be praised and celebrated. And exercised with discretion but determination.
The Owner knows this. This is why I detect her secret admiration when I display my stubbornness. Clearly, I only do so when it really matters, such as when the compost mountain in the Park sings its Siren Song. Stubbornness allows me to fulfil those needs and desires which are simply of greater philosophical significance than the restrictions applied by the Owner. On a goods and harms analysis, the compost wins. On a rights and duties analysis, the compost wins. It’s not that I don’t love the Owner, but the relationship between dogs and compost is a complex one that Owners cannot be expected to understand. Mind you, she half gets it when she clambers onto it in a vain attempt to neck wrestle me into submission and I wriggle with such vigour that she collapses into it with me and we are both engulfed in the glorious scent.
Afterwards, our walk seems a little curtailed. She says she has compost down her neck. Strangely she seems less than happy about this. On the way home I find myself unaccountably on the lead, but I don’t mind as I prefer to stay by her side, given the jealous looks I am getting from other Dogs at the now-impressive scent of my Owner. Stubbornness is a valuable quality indeed.
I discover shortly after this, however, that the Owner is also stubborn. Upon arriving home my legs do not wish to climb the stairs so I remain at the bottom, wearing my expectant face, assuming that the Owner, once refreshed, will return to our shortened walk and to the compost that she so fully embraced. Sadly I have reckoned without the deviousness which the Owner asserts her stubbornness. She leaves me at the foot of the stairs, affecting a cheerful ‘up we go’ and rushing to the top, taking her newly attractive scent with her. I sit, still and expectant. Does she think I will just follow like some kind of tame hound? As if Pavlov made rules about stairs? As if I am FLUFFY?
Alas, Upstairs is where our cheese and other important matters reside. I hear her noisily opening the cold cupboard. My tired legs unaccountably discover the ability to climb, but I ignore them, for I am Stubborn. I can resist the thought of cheese. The owner has tried this one once too often. I am not so Easily Bought. I whine, and even woof slightly, to indicate my thoughts. Then I gather myself and await the return to compost.
And then… I can scarcely believe my ears… the Owner stops calling my name. She stops begging me to join her. And instead I hear the improbable but definite sound of the owner consuming my cheese. Yum, she says, in the kind of voice Oscar would use if he wanted me to admire his fluff. Yum. I am stunned and astonished by the vast depths of the Owner’s stubbornness. I sense the cheese disappearing into them.
I am stubborn but I am not stupid. I climb the stairs.
There is a time and a place for stubbornness. This is not it.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.