Story last updated at 5/15/2013 - 1:28 pm
I was sorry to hear your human friend Feleti died in early May. I know he was a great guy. How are you holding up?
Thanks for your kind letter. Feleti was a great guy. He taught me a lot about how humans and animals interact. Humans, it seems, sometimes want to make animals into humans. Feleti knew I was a dog and he treated me like a dog. And frankly, what could be better? I am a dog! He treated the cats like cats. No small feat if you ask me because who even knows what a cat is thinking? And he treated the rabbits like rabbits and the birds like birds and...well you get the point. He honored all of us by "speaking" to us with the unwritten language that animals and humans develop between each other. He knew someone needed to be in charge and we knew it was him. In the morning when we heard that first whistle we knew that was the signal that Feleti and food and love (and not necessarily in that order) were on their way. And all of the other dogs and I waited quietly (well...most of us did) for him to reach us and give us our early morning special round of Feleti attention. We knew not to pull. Not because he had a choke hold on us, or yelled at us, but because he taught us that was not the proper thing to do. We taught him how to speak "animal" and he taught us how to speak Tongan. Truth be told he was much more fluent than we would ever be. Feleti, descended from Kings and we were his loyal and loving subjects and are all better for knowing him. When I think of Feleti, and all of the other humans I have known, the ones that remain in my head are the ones who felt it necessary to pull and jerk the leash and yell to get my attention. But the ones that remain in my heart are the ones with patience, who taught me and treated me with kindness and consistency and who let me be a dog.
Rex is a Border Collie who is employed by the Gastineau Humane Society. He works part time as an advice columnist and pet detective.
To reach Rex with pet questions send them c/o Gastineau Humane Society: 7705 Glacier Highway, Juneau, or call 789-0260.