I’d be mortified. Or in jail.
She would gladly share my dress size, the fact that I have chin hairs, that I’m an easy drunk (one glass of wine and I’m ready for a nap), how I talk (yell) at the television when watching the nightly news, that I eat in bed, my opinion on stupid drivers, lazy people and Stiletto heels (all insufferable), and how I stole a pair of sunglasses from Target one day by forgetting they were on top of my head, sales tag and all.
She would also tell my daughter that she should phone home more often, my fiancée that she loves him because he is so good at loving me, and that chopped liver should be on her daily diet intake. You’ve got to love a girl who is that honest.
All the secrets she would spill would be out of love and adoration. My dog thinks I am the queen of everything. One of the many things I love about her.
It got me to thinking: how much do we each share about our private selves in our public lives? And do we lie to save face, avoid confrontation or just make ourselves look better than we really are?
All of the above.
Honesty is an admirable trait, but the truth is, there are many things I am less forthcoming about. Not the least of which are my political views, prejudices (we all have them), opinions about our government and feelings about organized religion. I also conceal those little habits that ring a bit neurotic like hair twirling, nail filing and house cleaning.
While my pup has never ducked a fight with a bigger dog, human or even a motorcycle (don’t ask), she has demonstrated her fierceness to protect me. Protective aggression is the only acceptable kind. A lesson that mankind (and my neighbor) has yet to learn.
If my dog could talk, she would tell me to never be ashamed. Of anything. To do everything with a purpose, whether it’s rolling naked in the grass, eating trash or farting after dinner. Dogs have no shame. A trait I envy. If we could follow in their footsteps, Spanx would be out of business, hair dye would be obsolete, Botox would be a moot point and everyone would drive a Prius.
She would tell me the pointlessness of being greedy and wanting more. Unless of course we were discussing the stock pile of squeaky toys in the corner of the living room. Greed doesn’t come into play in a dog’s life.
Having a conversation with a dog about the events that plague our world like ISIS, genocide, beheadings, suicide bombings, war, nuclear weapons, and murder would be as unthinkable as the acts of terror we hear about each night on our newscasts. She would tell the world to stop, fly straight, be kind, love, lick, sniff butts, share, and stick your head out the window when you drive the car.
In her world, a treat means almost as much as a belly rub. Loyalty is an everyday thing, happiness means just being in the same room as you, and loving is all she knows how to be.
I recently read a post on Facebook telling us to be the person our dog thinks we are. The idea has merit. Wouldn’t it be great to have no secrets, nothing to deny or hide behind? Why aren’t we the same person in the real world as we are in our private one?
It occurs to me that my dog is way smarter than most people I know. And even though the things she knows about me could render me a social pariah even in the most forgiving of circles, I think it would be awesome if dogs could talk.
I could use her brand of honesty, sanity, calm and a random milk bone in my life.
Carolyn Durandette - I love this…I only wish that I could understand my little guy as well. I think he is much more interested in other dogs, squirrels, treats and getting petted.
Jacqueline Wolven - Have you read Sam Harris’s book Lying? I’m reading it right now and I think you would REALLY like it! I love this: how I talk (yell) at the television when watching the nightly news… me too!
Joan Cooper - Interesting word – “If”
I think, with your gift for words you should do a whole blog on the word – “If”
Carol Cassara - If Riley could talk? I shudder to think.
Tammy - Cool idea, Joan. So many of us have lived our lives based on the word “if”. I’ll give it some thought! Thanks for being here!
Its All About The Yummy - I can only imagine what my Biscotti might have to say. How fun would that be?
Tammy - My point exactly, Carol! Talk about not being able to show your face in public! Haaa! Appreciate the read and the comment!
Ruth Curran - I love to believe the world could use this brand of honesty, sanity, and calm (not so sure about the Milk Bones). The things we confide and the unconditional affection that makes us vulnerable…. Spooky! Wonderful post!
Marilyn Rich Tichauer - I enjoy your humor and honesty so much!!! Keep it up, we love you!!
Cheryl Nicholl - I LOVE this!!! It’s so true that the way an animal experiences life is wonderful and peaceful and simple. And I agree that there are two sides to everyone- the public and the private, the commendable and the regrettable, but I think there’s a reason we’re not like our pets, or we might all still be living in caves. Actually- that might not be so bad.
Tammy - Cheryl, love the “the commendable and the regrettable” comment! SO true. There are days when cave dwelling sounds pretty awesome to me. Just saying. Lately I’m finding a serenity in the going back to basics logic. Of course, I take my dog with me!
Jeffrey Davidson - We all know that dogs are loving. Lock you dog and significant other/spouse/etc. in the trunk for a few hours. When you open the trunk, which one is happy to see you?
Cheryl Nicholl - Is it the Seasonal change that makes us all want to nestle and get back to simple pleasures? I know as soon as I feel the ‘shift’ I change gears. Maybe it’s our age and the wisdom that that imparts? Either way- I hear you and I’m riding in the seat next to you. Beautiful post. Wonderful writing…. of course. Thanks my dear friend for giving me something to think about.
Kim Dalferes, Author - This post makes me miss my dog Taz, who left us this past May after over 13 years of wonderful companionship. He taught us many lessons. I try to love as unconditionally as he did.
mel - Dear Tammy,
If only our dogs could talk. Maybe they do – to other dogs. What secrets about us they would share. What a delightful funny column. You must read Billy Collins’ poem on the subject, called “The Revenant”. – Google it. It’s a dog talking back to its master. Oh, to be as good as dog, but maybe they can be better than usbecause they have less to worry about?
Kim Tackett - I’ve always thought that my dog’s unconditional love and adoration was worth every sock he chewed and every poop I scooped. And you’re right, we need to love ourselves as our dogs love us!
Tana Bevan - Tammy~In answer to your question why we’re not as honest in public as in private (and even in private not as honest as we might be) is most of us … okay I can’t speak for others so I’ll admit that my experience has been when I’ve shared something personal, the truth, been extremely honest, and it’s been thrown back in my face and/or bitten me in the butt. That gets old. Would love to say I’ve only done this once or twice. No so. There was always something in me that hoped, “This time will be different.” Not sure when I decided that wasn’t to be and/or I just wasn’t in the mood to take that chance any more. That’s my tale.
As always, you have a lovely way of putting your words together. It is a talent I admire my friend. Still, you don’t mention how you evolved to the public/private persona. Would love to hear about its evolution if you care to share. Am respectful if you don’t. *smiles warmly*
Lois Alter Mark - There’s a reason dog is God spelled backwards. I am totally missing our beloved dogs now, and am thinking it’s going to be time to get another one soon. It’s hard to live without that unconditional love and unbridled enthusiasm. I do get those from my husband but he’s not quite as tolerant of my singing as my Chow Chow and Newfy used to be 🙂
Doreen McGettigan - You really have me wondering what my dogs would say. They would probably say how much fun they have running from me after taking my underwear out their doggie door and burying it in the garden along with my keys and shoes. (the vet says they don’t want me to leave, awww)
I get so mad but they are so cute I have to laugh.
I would like to think I am the same person in public that I am in private but will have to think about that one.
Sheryl Kraft - Dogs are THE best and THE most honest and loving. I miss my dogs beyond reason!
Tammy - Thanks, Mel, so happy you enjoyed the read. It was great fun to write. I do love my pooch of 13 years. We are old souls together, now. Understanding each others needs without a spoken word or command. A grace and dance of love and appreciation. Something I will gravely miss when she is no longer. Until then, I openly talk with her, all the while teasing her how she better not repeat what she just heard or saw. If a dog could giggle, I imagine she would.
Tammy - I do SO agree with you, Kim. They are worth every single pee spot, aggravation, pet sitting fees, etc. There is no true measure of a dogs worth, because it is so great and so profound in its purity that it’s only when we are with them we consider ourselves for what we are …. mere mortals. I have been graced by many a dog and a cat in my lifetime. Tender mercies…all of them!
Tammy - Interesting thought, isn’t it, Doreen? I think we’ve all met those women who are completely different with men than they are with other women. Sad, really. How many faces can one have without feeling confused or overwhelmed? A dogs perspective puts it all into balance. They give us a daily dose of those things that matter: love, harmony, food, water, a warm bed, and a loving lap to lean in to. A dog that has those things considers themselves to be rich. I’m thinking we should too!
Tammy - So happy you enjoyed the read, Tana. I completely understand your tale. It is the same for many, myself as well. Still, I forged ahead and found that when my attitude changed, so did the outcome. I no longer give a rats ass what people think of me. No lie. I am quite happy to be who I am, and proud that I’ve made it this far. For only I know the real distance, pain, and turmoil it took to get here. And only I can celebrate myself in proper fashion. And so I do. One day, over a cup of java, we will share. Thank you for being here. I do so appreciate you!
Nancy Hill - my dogs and cats have seen me through thick and thin, but my pups love me more, my turtle is plotting to get out of his tank and eat me
Carol - Tammy,
So much truth in this!!
You hit the nail on head once again.
Tammy - THANKS, Carol. So happy to see you here! Yup, it is all true. God love those fuzz buckets that complete our home life with such grace and devotion. Can’t imagine what it would be like without them. Thanks for popping by…..it was awesome!
Lily Lau - If your doggie could talk, you’d start taking the 5 o’clock tea and talk for long hours!
Tammy - Lily, if my dog could talk I’d probably leave the house a lot less often. I’m quite sure that the conversation would be amazingly stimulating! YES, high tea would be a daily event!
Mary - I could not agree more. I have often thought the world would be a better place if my dogs did more of the running of things and I could sit around and scratch. I’m not telling what!