I marvel at my neighbor’s dog, Harold. I noticed the other day that he was sitting in the sun at the edge of the carport, unleashed, as his owner worked on his boat. “Huh,” I thought to myself, “Rabia would never just stay there like that.”
Indeed, if I don’t have my dog leashed when we are sitting out on our porch, she will run to greet whoever appears anywhere in the field of vision. Then there is that pesky groundhog that has multiple tunnel openings on the highway berm. She would chase it in an instant. The other day we were enjoying splendid weather and a conversation on our porch, when Rabia commenced with a low steady growl. She growled in the direction of the highway berm, the hair on the back of her neck raised in warning. After a considerable amount of time starring in that direction we finally saw our neighborhood red-tailed hawk perched in dead grass the same color as his legs, making him difficult to see. The hawk was motionless while the groundhog was poking its head out to see if it was safe to emerge. Had Rabia been off leash we would not have seen the drama unfold.
It is not that Rabia is uneducated. She graduated from a beginners course in obedience school. She learned to heel, sit, stand, lay down, wait, and retrieve. But she flunked the intermediate class in which she should have learned to do what Harold was doing. Seriously, at the end of the second course, she so badly disrupted the graduation ceremony with her antics that we were asked to stand down. Since obedience is as much about the human as the dog, I opted not to go back to school too.
I know I am going to get in trouble with this metaphor, but I wish we had a school for grown up humans. A school that would make us smart enough to get vaccinated and see through all the misinformation and ridiculous conspiracies that convince so many people not to do the one thing that could keep them, and the rest of us, safe. The only leash we seem to have for people that refuse to get vaccinated is for employers to insist that their employees receive the shots. While the government cannot seem to mandate it, employers are able to and it would be a service to the greater community if they did. (Here the caveat must be added that some people cannot get vaccinated for health reasons, but this isn’t really about them).
I don’t know about Harold, but Rabia will eat anything that is on the ground whether or not it is hazardous. She will also put her nose into anything and everything that has a scent, be it pleasant or unpleasant. But shouldn’t we have higher expectations for people, really? Wouldn’t you think that at least eighty or ninety percent of people would just naturally do what is best for them and the greater good, simply because it makes sense? But we are barely at fifty percent fully vaccinated as a nation. There are just not enough Harold’s among us.
By the way, the ground hog waited for the hawk to leave.