Health and Healing from the Perspective of my Dog
I would like to leave the final word on the subjects of Health and Healing to my dog, Fergus. He makes the point, not unreasonably, that a different perspective is always useful when trying to understand any phenomenon, and that the difference in species that exists between us ought to enhance this advantage.
Fergus would like it to be known that when he is free to pursue the activities and interests to which his particular breed is most naturally attracted that, as a dog, he feels happy, energised, purposeful and fulfilled in every way. Also he has observed that, when he is able to participate as a co-operating member of his ‘pack’, he feels safe and secure, is clear about how to proceed with his life, and at night he sleeps like a dog.
Fergus says that he has noticed that when these conditions do not apply, he can be quite remarkably miserable. As a Greyhound, he loves to run very fast, and he is not at all interested in things like retrieving balls, or wallowing in water. But once, when he was in the care of Sylvia, who has a Labrador and thinks that all dogs really ought to be like her dog, he was put under considerable pressure to enjoy Labrador activities that he could not understand. Sylvia told his owners that he was a difficult dog but, really, he was just a misunderstood dog. He was amazed how, in just one day, he went from sleeping like a dog to living in the doghouse. Within a week he was suffering from digestive problems and skin disorders, despite an identical diet, and was found to be engaging in several bizarre neurotic behaviours. Fortunately, when more congenial conditions were restored, so was Fergus.
Fergus has frequently expressed surprise that people sometimes do not understand that the freedom to be the dog that he really is, and to live in unifying solidarity with his pack, is a fundamental requirement for his Health in all meanings of the term. He noticed that Sylvia has a son, John, who really wanted to be a teacher but his mother thought that it would be better for him to be an accountant, and she seemed to be so certain that he became one. John is always talking about his digestive problems and his skin disorders and he sometimes behaves a little strangely but, despite all sorts of diets and medicines, the doctors have not been able to find out what is wrong with him. One good thing is that when John goes out for walks with Fergus, Fergus always runs as fast as he can and looks very happy, and somehow that always makes John feel a lot better. John is convinced that Fergus is a Healer, and who could argue with that?