Obedience or Sacrifice?



A fun blog of 'soft' philosophy about the life and times of a Westiepoo called Chester. Written as a prelude to a more serious novel raising the question: Who is the most bankrupt: the banker who won't whistle-blow or the chef who loses her livelihood?l

In the early days of my life with the WS household, I was forbidden to encroach upon their living space upstairs and their bedrooms. Initially, this rule was strictly enforced but as the novelty of my arrival wore off and my cuteness emanated their home, they became lax in implementing the edict in practice.

For a while, I was even actively encouraged to sleep with Miss. A to help her in her loneliness transitioning into adulthood. Subsequently, I'd sneak below Mr. A and Mrs. B's double bed, hiding behind the empty luggage cases stored underneath. It was rather a shock to find that when I reacted aggressively to an expulsion from their room, a stair-gate was introduced, preventing access and necessitating that I became re-submitted to their original plans. These days, I will clamber the first few steps to view out of the hall window, nap or await individual company but, the stair-gate mentality still endures in my mind, even though it no longer exists in reality.

According to Mr. A, my obedience training doesn't solve all my behaviour problems, but it is the foundation for solving many of them. Thus, my continual willingness to submit to his and other human commands ensures there is an effective line of communication necessary for them to instruct me as to what they think best for me. Thus, the WS' taught me to 'stay,' so I didn't bolt at the TV every time a dog appears; and to 'sit,' so I didn't jump up on visitors like Uncle Daz. They also instructed me in words like 'off,' so I don't claw the furniture near the windows to bark at passersby.

These days my obedience reinforcement consists of a little ritual Mr. A acts upon me on days when I have my free, off-lead walk around the nearby farmer's field. He walks me on lead onto a rubber mat in front of an elongated strip of grass heading toward the open field. There he makes me sit while he unclips my lead. I unhesitatingly stand up when liberated. However, I cannot run to the adjacent shrubs and bushes as I would like. I have to wait for him to gesticulate an open hand movement in the direction of the field before I can run off. Sometimes he lets me go straight away. Other times I may have to listen to the command to 'wait' three or four times. If I advance ahead of his motion, I will be dragged back to repeat the whole ritual again. How unfair is that?

Well, the ritual isn't fair really: I'd rather sacrifice all this nonsense to waste less time sitting and waiting around for more time sniffing and discovering scents. However, lest I forget that my obedience forms the basis of trust, I respond positively. I mean if I want a relationship with him, I must esteem him freely, depend on him freely, interact with him freely, and let him take the lead. Obedience is, therefore, better than sacrifice because I am letting him be him. My freedom is about staying in my proper place: a position of dependence and surrender to his and the WS' goodness in providing me with shelter, food, warmth and comfort in times of illness.

There is an old saying that, 'to obey is better than sacrifice.' I have learned in my small dog life, to choose that this is the better way for me too. I will not sacrifice the freedom of my downstairs living space or the well-known farmer's' field by being disobedient to my master's commands. Otherwise, I might dread the consequences of his and their wrath.

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