January 10, 2012

Fisher and the Dog Psychic

It started with my friend D., a man nearing retirement age who hikes a lot, and who has a large white fluffy dog, one of the boreal breeds.

This dog had a tendency to wander off a lot, and she seemed uninterested in playing. He could not figure her out.

A co-worker told him of a animal psychic, someone who claimed to be able to put questions to an animal, who could be anywhere — she works from a photo. So D. asked the psychic to ask the dog, "What would you like to do to play?" The response:
She indicated that "play" is beneath her because she has a purpose.  She showed me an image of you throwing a blue ball and her just standing and staring at you.  I think this was to reinforce that she had no interest in playing "fetch".  I tried several times during the conversation to ask her about what she would enjoy doing in her spare time and she didn't offer anything.  . . .
She said her purpose in this life and her ongoing work is being a "tracker".  She tracks spirits (human) that are here needing guidance to help them cross over.  She helps them get to where they need to be to cross over, or to get answers to questions so they can be at peace and cross over.   She feels/knows when she is needed and is able to find her way to them.  I asked what most spirits need or want in order to cross over and she indicated that most just need to see someone still living and know that they are okay.  That is why she is gone long periods sometimes because it takes time to guide the spirit to the person.  
I was really curious about her role, so I asked whether other animals have this job.  She indicated that lots of animals are trackers, but they don't take it seriously and will not give full effort to the spirits.  She does take it seriously though which is why she stays out at night and won't come back when you let her off leash. 
What a conversation starter: "My dog is a psychopomp. No, that's not a crazy breed. She walks with dead people."

I decided to ask her about Fisher, our 4-year-old "rescue" Chesapeake Bay retriever.
So I asked him if Fisher was his name and he gave me a "yes and no" response.  When I questioned him further, he said it is the name he is called, but that is not his name.  He said his name is Gunter, which he prefers, but he will answer to Fisher.
All I can say is that he reacts to "Fisher" but not to "Gunter." Calling him Gunter, however, is now our way to talk about him without arousing his attention. Maybe Gunter is his name in the Dreaming or something.

I gave her an easy question to ask, "Why are you always so hungry?" (He is a high-energy dog with a fast metabolism and a tendency to be food-aggressive.

This, however, sounds like Fisher:
His response was "ok," but he doesn't think he can resist going after food.  He said, "when there is food, I have to eat it."  I talked with him at some length about food to see if I could get a better understanding of his behavior.  He said he is fed twice a day [true] and that is enough — he isn't hungry, but when he sees or smells food, he can't help himself.  I talked with him about "his" food and "Chas's" food.  Initially, he didn't see a difference (and I've heard this from other animals, they don't get human/animal boundaries - generally all "stuff" belongs to the collective, in their perspective).  His response was "food is food - it's for whoever gets it first."
There was more, but you get the idea. We have worked for two years on him, and he has progressed from "It's OK to eat off the stove" to "If I am caught eating off the stove, I will be put outdoors and must go quietly without growling."

So we spend a lot of time managing his whereabouts in regard to food, be it our food, dog food, garbage, compost, ripe tomatoes in the garden, things dragged in from the woods, etc.

In two years, I would say that he has progressed from Horrible Dog to Horrid Dog and has almost reached Exasperating Dog.

Or maybe I am just defining deviancy down.


Sarah said...

too bad you can't take Fisher back for a do-over. You are stuck with him for at least another 8 years "as is"... some dogs are harder to love than others.

Darrell said...

Fluffy white boreal breed... Samoyed, perhaps? I had a Samoyed named Cinco (Spanish #5), smartest dog I ever owned. He was a great wanderer as well. I could even tell a sort of ghost story involving him, but not online...

Chas S. Clifton said...

Sarah -- He can be quite a good dog, sometimes. I always say that if I had gotten him as a puppy, he would be better socialized. And he has become "my dog" in his mind, most of the time.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Darrell, I never actually saw the psychopomp bog, and I don't trust my memory about what breed she is!

Steve Bodio said...

Ummm-- he is a Chessie; motto "MY way."

Just as Ataika is queen of Kazakhstan- Lib once told someone who asked what her name meant that it stood for "My shit doesn't stink" in Kazakh.*

Some odd temporary couple, a cowboy and a New Age woman, got one of those dog psychics to read their blue heeler, known around here as blue anklebiters (or, shades of Firesign Theater, "tirebiters"). It started out badly when the guru conflated "heeler" with "healer" and went downhill. apparently he bit because he had been mistreated in a pevious life. actually both Wade and I suspected he bit because he was a BLUE ANKLEBITER.

Steve Bodio said...

Forgot the "*". Ataika means Ruddy shelduck, a traditional Kazakh tazi name (most names are birds). The bird and the dog both make burrows and share the same color; the third egg is supposed to hatch into a red and black tazi.