On a recent radio interview I was asked by the host; What do dogs want? I answered, “To resolve their owner’s unresolved emotion.” However I hadn’t achieved enough context for that remark by that point in the interview so my answer felt a little flat to me. Thus, I’m grateful to Sang for the following example that says it so much better and which I’m going to incorporate into future responses.
“As you may or may not know, I’m not just a designer but an artist as well. I went to art school in Detroit to become a car designer, which worked out and I worked at GM for about 7 years designing car exteriors. During that period of time in school and at GM, I did these red pen sketches that became my hallmark and calling card. Any designer in the industry who knows me knows that I do them. You need to know that as background info so the rest of this makes sense.”
“Recently I’ve been feeling a real need to get back into this creative process as designing airplanes is not a creative endeavor. Last night I decided to start getting back into sketching again, and since sketching with red pen is my thing, I was looking around the house for a red pen but couldn’t find one. No big deal. I grabbed a black pen instead, got some paper and some inspiration images together, sat down and went to work. It’s been a while since I sat down to draw and sketch just for fun or to just be creative, and it was a bit frustrating getting back into it. Something the dogs were feeling. It was getting late, so I called it quits and went to bed.”
“Like I said, the whole red pen thing is background info. It’s important framing so you can see the significance of what happened this morning. I got up and took a shower, came downstairs, and what do I see Jackie chewing on in the middle of the living room rug? A red pen. I have no idea where she found it, as I looked for one the night before and didn’t see one. There was certainly a charge towards finding one, as so much of my designer identity and ego are tied up with doing those sketches. So what does she do? She goes and hunts one down for me. It was one of those, “Wow, crazy” moments. So I of course praise her and she gives me the pen.”
“This stuff doesn’t surprise me anymore of course. I’m used to seeing this kind of behavior from her. Jackie has done this kind of thing many times in the past for many different things. To name just a few, she used to pull out my credit card bills out of the stack of mail and leave them lying on the floor undamaged, when I was really focused on our finances and our debt. She has chewed both your books, Natural Dog Training as well as Your Dog is Your Mirror, but has never chewed any others, even when they’ve been easily accessible to her. When she was a puppy, she took some of my things and laid them out in the backyard, again undamaged. She just went into the bathroom, grabbed only my things, none of Amanda’s things, and took them into the yard one at a time, and laid them out in different locations.”
“I know this stuff doesn’t surprise you at all, but it’s always cool when it happens.”
Thanks Sang, You’re right that these things no longer surprise me, and yet they never cease to amaze me. (Too bad I can’t post Jackie’s “review” on Amazon. )