Keren's motto: bark first, ask questions later.

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Sat, 08/23/2008 - 22:37

I get along pretty well with most people. And most people love me because I bark.

I have a strong relationship with my "Daddy." We understand each other, we listen to and respect each other, we are each others' best friend. I guard Daddy, tell him who to trust and when to be wary; and while he is away, I guard the house. He shares his food, his bed, and his TV with me. He takes me to the beach so I can swim and dig in the sand. We go out for walks two or three times a day, sometimes just for me to sniff, and sometimes for long walks so we get some exercise. We're always together.

Like any close relationship, however, it can not fulfill every need. Daddy likes to play with me, but he is too old to keep up with me when I want to run and jump. I need other friends and playmates. But not all people will be right for every activity.

There are people I get along with, and there are some people that I don't like. My rule for such people: Bark first, ask questions later. You never know who is a danger. Besides, you will impress people at what a good guard dog you are.

Politicians. You can just see by the way they move on TV that they can't be trusted. I don't understand how they can fool so many people. I bark at them.

People who are not playing nicely. This includes football players, and various athletes. They move around much too much, could hurt each other, and seem like they could pose a threat to the peace. Mostly this is what I see on TV. I bark at them.

People who are new, except those who radiate friendliness; who present a strange appearance (like carrying a big package), or who appear suddenly. I don't like to be surprised. I bark at them.

People who have dogs that I don't like. Not that they aren't nice people, but I have to assume that the dog is with them. I don't know why people keep dogs that I don't like. I bark at them.

That leaves pretty much everyone else that I can like. The best people include:

Babies and very small children. Especially Max. (Daddy's Grandson, my 'nephew') Wonderful smells, they are so cute and helpless, just like a puppy. But since they are human, they deserve respect, so I lick them on the nose and face to show I am prepared to love and protect them. When they get older, we'll be friends and I will teach them stuff.

Small girls that are about my size, about four to five years old. We can bond and understand each other without words, just like sisters.

Older girls and boys of about ten years. Every ten-year-old child should have a dog. Let me put it another way: every dog should have a ten-year-old child. They are old enough to run with and play with without worrying they will get hurt. I don't worry, it is the parents and grandparents that worry. They are young enough so they haven't forgotten how to communicate and they have a lot of energy; they like to play and run. A child of ten is able to learn about dogs, so I make it my job to teach them how to talk clearly to a dog. I show them how to hold the leash and walk with me, how to ask me to stay, how to call me, and most important, how and when to give me a treat. I am getting to be pretty skilled as a people handler. I'm even thinking about a TV program so that more kids will get to learn how to relate to dogs.

Elders--what they call old people, are great. Except for a few that are afraid of dogs. Many elders who used to have cats or dogs can't have pets any more; they are very dog-deprived. They look at me and think I am the most beautiful dog they have ever seen. I don't disagree, but it can be a bit much to have them coo over me all the time. I do get upset when they ask if I am an "Akita" or worse, a "mixed breed." Akitas are huge compared to a Canaan; and mixed breed dogs are great, but I have a tradition behind me. Daddy has to explain to them that I am a purebred Canaan dog from the Israeli desert.

And they want me to "kiss" them every time. And they need to pet me all over every time. I love it when they are sitting in a group on the benches. I can go up to each one in turn, sniff, kiss, get fondled; and when they are all accounted for I can lie down and guard them. They love it when I bark an alert, although some of them jump because they are startled. They are really impressed because I can listen and guard while I am sleeping; they see my ears moving all the time. (Actually I am usually listening for a squirrel to come within range.) I think my guarding makes the elders feel protected and safe. So even though I know this is a pretty safe place, I make sure to sound the bark whenever possible.