The Mirror and the Dog

Some days you get a lot of work done and other days you don't. Nothing new there. This morning as I walked Waldo I was thinking about staying motivated, and about religions, in a comparative sense. And about baseball, caffeine, some poets, parenting, and what it might be like to be a dog. A little scatterbrained. Some days are just like that. Later today I had the very infrequent, and in this case unexpected, opportunity to sit in on one of Daniela's private ballet classes. One on one. Some of the positions she puts her body in just don't seem healthy to me! I worry about her hip socket. After lots of warming up and technical work at the barre, she worked on two solos. Waldo could inspire a ballet. Two recent observations have me convinced this dog is somewhat unusual. Not long ago I spied him in the guest room upstairs, where he usually sleeps on a futon mattress. He was staring at himself in the mirror! This dog is self-conscious! Typically, you put a dog in front of a mirror and they don't get it. Indeed, the famous "mirror test" research performed by Gordon Gallup in 1970 suggests dogs are not self-aware. I beg to differ. Then, the other day Waldo is by the back door. I toss him a treasured treat: a scrap of chicken. He jogs over and is about to grab it, but he stops to look up and listen to a bird that is breaking into song. And he really stops and listens. So not only is this canine self-aware, he's a poet on top of that. I envy Waldo: I doubt very much he ever worries about wasting time.

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