I can bark like a small dog. I happen to be very good at this. When I was a teenager, my next door neighbor had a chihuahua named Sandy. This little dog would bark, growl, and glare at me through a sizeable hole in the wooden fence that divided the properties. If not for the chain link fence behind the wooden one, he could have come through at will. Sandy was there to “greet” me whenever I would go into my backyard. I would ignore him. One day, I decided to try my barking out on him. This was the beginning of many barking battles that took place over the course of several weeks.
I eventually noticed a fierce change in Sandy’s eyes that I attributed to our battles. I never meant to make him mean. I felt terrible. I felt even worse when I realized that my neighbor was starving Sandy. She would leave out a loaf of white bread every so often. I started to view things from what I imagined was Sandy’s perspective. He was simply protecting his territory with all of that barking, growling, and glaring. He was doing what he was supposed to do. I was the one who was out of line.
I decided to make peace with Sandy. I figured that the perfect way to do this was with a 20 piece order of Chicken McNuggets. This is when Sandy blew my mind. I dumped the Chicken McNuggets over the wooden fence while this half-starved chihuahua barked and growled up a storm. Sandy looked at them and then at me. Then he walked away. He refused to eat what I had given him because I had disrespected him. I had no idea that a dog’s thinking could be so sophisticated.
A few weeks later, Sandy ran away. I always hoped that he had found a loving owner who would take care of him like every pet deserves. Hopefully, this loving owner would have respectful next door neighbors. I still think of Sandy when I listen to Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes (1986). Fierce eyes can change back to normal. I have seen it happen with human beings.