Monday, September 14, 2009

Taken Outside Yourself

The story I'm about to tell doesn't feature dogs. But it does highlight one of the many things that our dogs do for us, and that's take us outside ourselves. It's really essential to see the world not just through your own ego, and animals are very good at helping us to do that. Here's what happened this morning.
My office window looks out over the sheep/llama pasture, pond, and approaching driveway. It isn't unusual to see one or more of our feral cats crossing the pasture. It seems to be part of their route. So I watched as Kate wandered around, but then went back to work for a moment. When I looked back up, Kate was sitting near the fence, looking up at a gray heron who was perched on a birdhouse on top of the fence post. Kate carefully stalked closer. The heron looked down. Kate froze. Kate got to the base of the slat fence. The two looked at each other for a while, then both casually looked away. Kate stretched up to claw the top of the lower fence slat. The herson looked down and Kate froze. Kate sprang for the second fence slat and the heron rose off in slow flight. Kate climbed up and sat on top of the birdhouse. I took photos of the entire series. Kate is a small cat, and it's quite ridiculous to watch her stalk a heron. But the whole time it was going on, I wasn't thinking of anything but the drama unfolding in front of me. And that's a very valuable part of each day.

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