I’ve been catching up on my Sherlock Holmes reading as of late. It only took me twenty years. One of my favourite fiction genres has always been the mystery novel and yet until the last few months, I never once gave Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a try. Granted, I did most of my mystery reading as a teenager. Back then the lives of older white men understandably held very little interest for me. So far I am enjoying the experience. The books aren’t without problems, of course, and I have some beefs with the point of view, but they make for good reading on a cold winter’s night.
One wouldn’t think a fictional Victorian detective would have anything to do with dogs. One would be wrong. Perhaps it is just proof of my own obsessions but it didn’t take me long before I found a story that relates at least indirectly to my favourite subject.
In The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, there is a tale called “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.” The plot of this story doesn’t matter and I won’t go into detail about that. It was a particular line of thought shared by the title character that caught and held my interest, rather than the narrative. I will quote it exactly:
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones. And their passing moods may reflect the passing moods of others.”
Naturally, I immediately stopped reading and thought over this concept.
The idea of people’s moods affecting their dogs’ behaviour isn’t new. It is also one I have explored a lot on here. Most trainers and behaviorists agree that our emotions directly impact the emotions of our dogs. This is why I was told to sing a song to myself when walking Shiva in the earlier days of her reactivity. If I could prevent myself from tensing, I could hopefully help her relax as well.
I think what Sherlock Holmes determined in the above quote takes this a step further. And it was written long before dog behaviour was anything scientists studied in any great detail. Insightful, I think, but is it completely accurate?
Shiva is a mostly happy dog: anxious at times, dislikes surprises, values her family life more than anything else. She is adventurous in her appetite and attitude. She is not overly fond of strangers. She has lots of energy but is not ambitious.
Yep, I can relate to that.
What do you think? Does your dog reflect your life?
Congratulations go out to Elyse and Riley, winners of last week’s giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their favourite videos. You made my weekend a lot more adorable than it would have been otherwise. For those that missed it, I highly recommend checking out the comments for this post. Make sure you have some serious time to spare.