Every master has stories of the dog; tales of devotion, sacrifice, attachment and wonder. Every dog has a story of joy and heartbreak. Each story is unique. A dog can be frivolous, smart, funny, exciting, handsome, daring; a host of admirable characteristics that combine with magnificent senses of hearing, smell and awareness to shape "man's best friend." Watch a master control five Border Collies at once, each chasing a ball and stopping on command; a five-ring circus that no tiger tamer can surpass. Watch a scrappy little Jack Russell outrun a Labrador retriever and leap into the air to catch a Frisbee. Sure, many persons can catch a Frisbee thrown close to them. Try catching, with your teeth, a Frisbee in mid-air that is thrown tens of yards ahead of you. Canine athleticism rivals human athletes in many sports.
The fastest of the fast Greyhound has a huge chest to accommodate large lungs that swallow oxygen, an over-sized heart, and a narrow waist that allows it to bend the body so that every stride carries it more than a body length. The fastest Greyhound can run the 100-meter dash in about 5-6 seconds. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set the human world record with a time of 9.72 seconds.
Canines jump higher for their heights than the most elevated basketball player. A Greyhound wound up energy and force to jump 68 inches and obtain the Guinness world record for the species. Kadour Ziani, a French basketball player of 5 feet and 11 inches, jumped vertically 56 inches and holds the official vertical jump world record for a human being.
Dogs catch awkwardly thrown round balls (not footballs) that any baseball out-fielder or football end would envy, and their reflexes make tennis players seem sluggish. The animal has all the capabilities and abilities to generate a spectacle that deserves presentation in a world-class arena.
Humans' best friend is many things to the master and to casual observers. The many things add up to artistry. The multi-talented dogs are both artists and dynamic works of art, a unique combination. Often, in the growth of the dog, the master witnesses the emergence of a masterpiece, a symmetrical composition splashed with shades of color that subtly change with light, vibrant expressions of duty and courage presented on a unique canvas. Nature blesses trees, fields, flowers and a host of animals with touches of beauty, which arouse awe and sympathetic emotions in the viewer. Canines are dynamic compositions of several dimensions, combining the physical, mental, technical, mobile and metaphysical in one package. Add the excitement of falls, rollovers, struggling to the limit of death in every day activities - ferocity combined with tenderness, independence combined with dependence, battle combined with acceptance of defeat, mischief combined with loyalty. All that and more describes the artistry of a dog.
The artistic world recognizes the artistry of a dog. Many painters, especially Thomas Gainsborough in his portraits, featured dogs next to their masters. The masters have lost identification, and those who survey the canvases usually ask, "What breed of dog is that?" No wonder that in the pricey art world, George Stubbs' paintings of dogs have fetched $3.7 million.
Circuses present the scrappy four-legged animals in a variety of amusing, adventurous and dazzling performances. The annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show is still the most popular beauty pageant on the planet. In addition, Hollywood recognizes the artistry jn almost 200 films. The cinema of the dog has evolved from the silent era of Rin Tin Tin, acknowledged being one of the great movie actors, to the many Lassies, Laddies and Beethovens. Although every "dog picture" assures box office entertainment, few actors want to appear in films with dogs - they know the dog will steal the show. Dogs are accomplished actors, at times tricky and deceitful, but always performing their acts in a joyful and non-intimidating manner; something they learned, when, as wolves, they wandered to the ancient garbage dumps and encountered a species that produced food for itself, and did not compete with them for sustenance.
It did not take long for the less aggressive wolves to realize they could survive more easily by attaching themselves to the human species. The wolf that became a canine had a plan. It traded belligerence for protection, freedom for food, shelter and eventually medical care (no argument with President Obama about that benefit), loyalty to the pack for a unique loyalty, independence for security, and warfare for peace and comfort. Let the master do the dog work for which they received sufficient benefits and enjoyed every moment. Nevertheless, dogs are never slackers, always willing do their own labors and accomplishing each endeavor with extraordinary proficiency, as hunters, herders, watchers, guards, leaders of the blind, actors, circus performers, police, bloodhounds, and mostly companions. Huskies will pull sleds until their death.
A special intelligence enabled the dog to develop his/her unique life. Humans developed technologically. Dogs developed socially, which is the greatest of all the dog's artistic endeavors.
The master encourages the dog to obey and accept commands. The dog usually learns what is needed - come, halt, sit, stay, heel and run. Our Welsh Pembroke Corgi, whose personal story is revealed in the succeeding pages, did not heel and rarely stayed. As many dogs, he interpreted body language together with words and anticipated commands. Go for the leash and the dog goes to the door. Say "out" and again to the door. He learned "let's eat," "let's play," and "let's go home."
The dog encourages the master to acquire a routine and new activities - raising and training an animal, learning the needs, attending to the needs on schedule, taking short and long walks with the canine, and living life with a difference. The most satisfying activity for the master is the opportunity to observe an animal grow, witness the shaping of a personality and the development of responses to the hazards of life.
Having a dog is a way of life whose interest and excitement depends upon the dog and the master. A dog can modify the master's habits and routines and distract from pursuing some activities. Attachment to the dog means responsibility to the dog. This obligation is similar to other responsibilities, such as in family life, raising children, attentions to vocations and avocations, each of which often deprive a person of time and energy to indulge in other experiences and adventures. However, the other experiences and adventures are not necessarily better experiences and adventures.
The dog most successfully bridged the divide between the wild and the tame, between jungle life and civilized life, between unkind and mankind. Anyone would gape if he/she saw a sheep blithely walking the streets, but the dog ambles along unnoticed in the streets of Athens, Greece, as if only a non-voting citizen. Lack of notice is a loss. Noticing and understanding canine behavior is a clue to understanding a segment of life.
Read and learn, and still not find the unusual poetic expressions and awareness of life that characterize the dog. Travel the world and not discover the wonders that a dog exhibits. Go to the wilds to observe a cheetah run at its full speed to overcome a zebra, to relish at the cuteness of a baby gorilla, the playfulness and fun of a chimpanzee, the friendliness of an orangutan, the sensibility and dedication of the elephant, the alertness of a tiger, and the acute sense of a gazelle. All of those factors are inherent in the most domesticated animal - the canine. Man's best friend rarely fails the master.
With intent to revealing the clues to understanding canine behavior and describing its inherent factors, the book describes the life of a male Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog. As most dogs, the Corgi combines many of the attributes that define the artistry of a dog. His story is similar to that of many canines, expressed with unique qualities that each dog has, but with those that define a particular dog. It is the story of the canine world, which has captivated human beings in all parts of the globe.