By Andreea Gabriel
About four years ago, my husband surprised me with the most wonderful gift I had ever received. When I opened the door, he handed me an adorable snow-white Maltese puppy that seemed and continues to seem to me the sweetest and cutest creature I have ever seen. My husband and I welcomed him into our lives with great joy and named him Rey, which means king in Spanish. Rey is truly the king of our house and of our hearts. He sleeps on the bed with us, eats at the table with us, watches TV with us, and does a lot of human activities.
Rey speaks the language of love. From the first moment when our eyes crossed, Rey and I started to communicate in a way that I am sill trying to understand. What makes Rey a special communicator? He does not bark much.
He communicates with his face and body like no other dog that I have seen. He has an extremely expressive face and a super-flexible body. He often raises both his brows as high as possible when he is puzzled and he stares at me, while shaking his head. Other times, when he wants to entertain us, he first raises his left brow and lowers the right other. Then he switches the pace and raises the right one and lowers the left one. He keeps doing this for a few minutes, while my husband and I keep laughing and applauding him. Other times, he just winks at us and then he goes hide under the table. He likes playing hide-and-seek.
Every morning, the very moment we get out of bed and put our feet on the floor, Rey does a special good morning ritual. He greets us in front of the bed, by stretching his rear legs backwards and his front legs forward until he lies completely flat, face down on the floor. He continues his ritual by raising his left paw and then his right one, alternating this movement a few times. He knows how to do many other funny and unique body postures, which are hard to describe and which resembles yogic asanas. He does yoga in his own way and sits so quite when I meditate. His energy is so blissful and serene.
Rey is very expressive not only kinesthetically, but also acoustically. He literally sings, but he needs a special musical tone. Before we moved into a condo, we used to live in a house, which had a musical doorbell. The house had a very large front window, which covered almost the entire wall, right next to the entrance door. The window was positioned so low on the wall that even our tiny Maltese could look through it and wave at us. Every time someone rang the doorbell, Rey would run to the window and start singing, imitating the musical sound of the doorbell. His singing continued for a few minutes after the doorbell stopped. We had neighbors who told us that they liked ringing our doorbell when we were not at home just to hear Rey sing and see him through the large front window. Even if I had the key with me, I thoroughly enjoyed ringing the doorbell just to witness one more time this priceless show.
Rey can do various other tricks and he responds well to some commands such as: “up, come, sit, turn around, up and turn around”, but I am sure that other dogs can do more tricks than him. He has never been formally trained. What makes Rey a special communicator is a gift that goes beyond the ability to respond to some obedience commands. In fact, Rey is not really obedient, because sometimes he likes to lead the way, but he is truly empathetic and energetically in tune with us. Every time my husband or I accidentally bump into something in the house and say “Ouch” or express pain or suffering in some way, Rey automatically runs to us and covers our face in kisses. He gives us hugs and holds us tight with his tiny paws. If we are sad or in pain, Rey does not leave our side and continues to kiss, lick, and hug us until we feel better. He has an amazing ability to comfort, amuse, and amaze us.
Like me, Rey likes to express himself through the clothes that he wears. He has quite a wardrobe, consisting of cute little silk scarves for summer, raincoats, sweaters for fall, and coats for winter. In fact, not only that he doesn’t mind wearing clothes, but he actually seems to enjoy it, the same way he is perfectly fine with being shampooed and blow-dried in order to maintain his snow-white appearance. He walks with his head and tail high and we walk at the same pace. The color of his scarf or coat generally matches the color theme of my outfit. So many people stop us to tell me how much they like the way my dog’s clothes match mine. The most amazing part is that he has scarves in all possible colors and that many times he knows which one to pick from the pile to in order match the outfit that I am wearing that day. In fact, Rey has quite an obsession with clothes and when I wear casual socks indoors, he particularly enjoys pulling them off my feet with his teeth. Then he goes hide the socks somewhere, but after he plays with them for a while, he eventually brings them back to me. Rey has never ruined anything. He is way too sweet and smart to do that.
Whenever we bring him a gift, he senses it even before we take it out of the bag. It is very impressive how, out of all the new items in the shopping bags that we put on the floor, he goes and picks exactly the item that we bought for him, be it a toy, a piece of clothing, or a bag of treats.
I have suddenly had the realization that Rey must have developed a personality that mirrors mine. He is very empathetic, adaptable, flexible, intuitive, a linguist/communicator in his own way, stylish, considerate, likes yoga, loves nature, adores trolling though the Kitsilano neighborhood, senses special people, and has an interesting sense of humour.
I believe that we are just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of human-canine communication. There is so much to be explored and understood. All dog owners must think that their dogs are special in some way and all dogs should be special to someone. What makes your dog special? How does your dog communicate with you?
Photos of Rey, courtesy of Barna Tanko
Andreea Gabriel is a writer, educator, metaphysician, and researcher. She is passionate about languages, energy, consciousness, and ancient mysteries. She feels blessed to have Rey as her wonderful canine companion.