Dog and Snow, Paul S Piper – an Analysis


I’m seeing Andrex puppies, my own dog’s first encounter with snow, a big all round collective aww is in progress 🙂

Gut Reaction
I miss my dog.

What does it all mean?
Overall, animal instinct.
A dog still has wild instincts no matter how fond of home comforts they are. Which people often forget and then blame the dog for, when they act like animals instead of ‘furbabies’…

Dog sees white. Arctic
light, the bright buzz in the brain

of pure crystal adrenaline. In a flash
he is out the door and across the street

looking for snowshoe hares, caribou, cats.
That first untouched snow, fresh in the morning. Who doesn’t get the urge to go running around it with full abandon? Perhaps our urban dogs are more used to cat chasing than hares and caribou but still. Instinct is instinct.

His wild ancestry ignited, Dog plunges

his nose into snow up to his eyes. He sees
his dreams. Master yells from the front porch

Yep. Had the urge to do that whole face-in-snow too! And of course, the primal, feral nature that defines our dogs evolved from the grey wolf, is bound to come alive when exposed to the unusual.
I reckon dogs dream. That funny whimpering and leg waving thing they do when they’re asleep…chasing their imaginary caribou no doubt. I wonder if dogs have aspirations? Aside from food, affection and lots of walks of course.

(Master yells from the front porch) but Dog can’t hear him. Dog hears nothing
except the roar of the wind across the tundra,the ancient

existential cry of wolves, pure, devastating, hungry.
Suddenly the leader of the pack (the human) is abandoned in search of canine kin, and who can blame Dog for wanting that adventure? Don’t kids play at soldiers, firemen and similar? So why is it beyond as dog to dream ‘big’ too?

Time for crunchies. Taking many detours, Dog

returns to the porch. Let master think what he
wants. Freedom comes at a price.

‘Crunchies?’ Like some kind of dried dog food? Well that sounds appetising when the call of the wild has got you, and you can almost taste the fresh blood of your prey. Sure, I’ll give that up for some nasty dried biscuit that’s designed to remove plaque buildup but in fact is nothing but a placebo for our humans. Dental biscuits are not the answer.
‘Freedom comes at a price?’ Hmm. Some sort of punishment for running off? I hope it’s light. And I hope Dog takes the most intricate detour home.

Form – the vaguely technical stuff
Division and order
Seven ‘stanzas’ following Dog’s instinctual escape from the porch and eventual return home.

Wistful for adventure and understanding the need for freedom?

Suggested rhyme scheme
Free verse!

Similes and metaphors
Well. Perhaps this is just one long metaphor for occasionally breaking free and not doing what is expected of us? Or acknowledging that all animals (including us) have instincts from our wilder lives?

Author’s relationship with their subject
Affectionate. In full support of doggy adventures!

Other points of view (ideas from other sources)
Well, not a lot of internet activity on this one but still, a nice, easy-reader that speaks to nurturing natural instincts.

Signing off
I am very, very, very fond of wolves. Also of dogs. Not that I think I can have one again; too heartbreaking to lose them.
But wolves. Wolves are the epitome of society for me. There is structure, order, care, love, a place for all. Each knows its place, each protects its pack, and yes, wolves can be harsh to their weaker members or subordinates but… and I say this with a sigh of longing…wouldn’t it be so much simpler to know your place in society? Not wondering about the right way to act and react, having to be respectful to people who clearly haven’t earned their position, who are decent to your face but readily stab you in the back you show them so much as as a shoulder blade.
I’m not a fan of people ‘owning’ wolf dogs because that is unfair on both human and canine. To try to curb animalistic instincts in an animal that has been subject to selection/selective breeding for traits more suited to our domestic canine needs is one thing. To do that to the direct offspring, first filial generation of an actual wild animal is just cruel and asking for trouble. Darwin would frown. He might even Humph. Or harrumph, if he was having a particularly indignant day.
Dogs should be loved, looked after, and subject to care and affection. They should also be recognised for what they are. And allowed to run free, at least from time to time.


Paul S Piper

Paul S Piper

National Geographic

Dogs playing in snow

When I read this I think of the song… Wolf Among Men


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