The Dog Has a Minor Existential Crisis

My neighbor has thrown some stale bread in his back yard. Maybe English muffins, maybe hamburger buns. I haven’t gotten a close enough look to tell. But last night, Sonnyboy went over into the neighbor’s yard to eat one and I called him and he came right back, stale bread in mouth.

Y’all. I let him eat the bread because I was so happy he came when he was called. I don’t know. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, but I want him to come when he’s called and if I call him over just to steal his bread from him, why would he come?

Anyway, so this morning, he’s out the back door like a shot and over to the neighbor’s yard and he quickly eats a little something and then comes bounding right back over to go on our walk. We get clear out to the far back yard and he starts making these big circles, like he kind of wants to go back and check the neighbor’s yard again.

I’m all “Come on buddy, let’s go for a walk!” over and over, but no, eventually he stops looping and just runs back and gets himself another stale muffin/roll. But he was so torn! He wanted to do the right thing but he also really wanted that bread.

And I have to say, it made me really happy, the way he hesitated and kind of couldn’t decide whether to behave or go back for more. Not because I’m thrilled he disobeyed me, but because, come on! When in the past wouldn’t that dog have disobeyed me for food? And, in the past he would have done it without hesitation.

But here! Now! Today! He had an internal conflict between doing what’s right and doing what he wanted. And, yes, he picked “doing what he wanted,” but what’s right got in there to make an argument! He had an internal conflict! He made a choice!

Sometimes I wonder if I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t think I am. This dog was dumb as rocks when we got him. And as much as I believe he’s benefiting from being loved and cared for, he could have lived out his days being dumb and sweet. I genuinely think this is about the thyroid medication. In humans, brain fog is a symptom of a thyroid problem, and my god, I think this dog had that symptom. And how would you diagnose brain fog in a dog? It’s only by watching him slowly transform into a dog who has thoughts once the fog has cleared.

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2 thoughts on “The Dog Has a Minor Existential Crisis

  1. I don’t doubt the thyroid meds are helping him to brain, but also he’s getting to make choices. I mean, it sounds like for most of his life he had nothing to choose and how do you learn without options? Now he’s getting to have fun! I can imagine his brain whirling with “Eat the bread or go for walk?” And he figured out both!

  2. Yes! I forgot that important part! He ran back, grabbed the bread and then, just when I was like “Oh, crap, I hope I don’t have to go running all over the neighborhood chasing this dumb dog,” he came bounding back for our walk! He was totally like the protagonist of Gillian Welch’s song, “Miss Ohio.” He wanted to do right, but not right now!

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