Author Discusses How Dogs Have Changed Him
Welcome back to the Ken Foster interview! Yesterday we left off right after Ken had started talking about how his interactions with dogs had changed him. He specifically mentioned that they made him a “more efficient person.”
Joy: Tell me about that.
Ken: I dont sit around thinking about myself. I don’t sit around worrying about myself. And so, Im always multi-tasking in a way. Im always walking the dogs and planning my day as Im walking the dogs in the morning. And talking with my neighbors as Im walking the dogs in the morning. So before I even sit down to my cup of coffee, Ive already talked to everybody in the neighborhood, and set out what it is that I need to get done today. Whereas before, I would wake up and since I didnt have dog to get me going and to force me out of the house I would spend four hours just sort of sitting: What am I supposed to do today?
Joy: How does that make you feel that you are more efficient now?
Ken: I don’t think about it that much. It feels like this is what life is supposed to be. Its not that I think everyone needs to have a dog or they should all have three rescue dogs or they should have ten or whatever but I think being responsible for something else and appreciating the life of something else. I mean that in watching another living thing on a day to day basis and having it interact with the world, it teaches us so much. Its not something you realize youre learning until years later. But also I think the thing about dogs is, because they are so social, they are very close to being like us. But theyre not us, which is how we learn from them. They arent other people.
Joy: Talk about that some more, that they’re very close to us but theyre not other people.
Ken: And part of it is not that I value dogs more than I value other people. I dont think my dogs are children. Because first of all if I had children I would not keep them in crates when Im out and I would not put their food on the floor. Again, the fact that theyre not children does not mean that I don’t love them and feel responsible for them and learn from them and respect them and get a lot of joy out of them. And because theyre social they sort of make us social even when we dont necessarily feel social. And because theyre not us or theyre not human they interact with the world at a different level. And again I think theyre aware of so much.
When I had a heart problem that I was ignoring, my dogs didn’t ignore it for a second. When they were acting like there was something wrong with me I kept trying to ignore the fact that they were acting like there was something wrong with me. And then finally, its like you guys, Im going to go to the doctor today and were going to get this taken care of, still not knowing it was a heart problem that was going to put me in the hospital. But, I say in the book, if I was a dog and I had that heart problem I wouldn’t have spent two months pretending that there was nothing wrong with me. I would have gone to my owner and been like, I dont feel good. However a dog can communicate that. And so, thats what I think I learned from living with these particular animals.
I know people that live with horses that have similar feelings and I know cat people will criticize me for saying this, but I don’t think living with cats is the same as that. I love cats but I don’t think it’s quite the same thing. Which is why dogs fascinate me. Also, the fact that you can go through life without having to interact with a cat if you want to but you cant go through life without interacting with dogs because they have become such a part of our society in good and bad ways. So even if youre not a dog person youre going to spend time with dogs at some point.
Come back tomorrow for Day 3 of Ken’s interview where he reveals a close encounter with a nun who REALLY didn’t want to spend time with dogs.
Meanwhile, you can check out Ken’s site and his upcoming appearances around the country. They include:
7/13: SFSCPA, Maddies Place, San Francisco
7/14: Kiehl’s and Pets Unlimited, San Francisco
7/15: Kiehl’s and Dove Lewis, Portland
7/22: Belladonna Day Spa (with $5 microchipping), New Orleans
8/6: Sqwires, St. Louis (celebrating Quentin the Miracle Dog’s “rebirthday” with Randy Grim and Stray Rescue of St. Louis!)
You can also visit Brando’s Dogster page.