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EDITOR'S COMMENT.17 April 2009
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Peace in Our Home
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The Hanna-Fein home is in the process of learning all about co-existence. Four weeks ago, we adopted a new member into our family. His name is Stewie, and he is an 18-month-old Boston Terrier. He came to us by way of our neighbour, and friend, who could no longer properly care for Stewie, and asked if we would be interested in having him as a member of our family. This was not a difficult decision to make as we have known this little fellow since he was 9-weeks-old. We knew the adjustment wouldn’t be too hard because he had come to visit, and play, with our 8-year-old Pug, Rosco, on many occasions.

As it turns out, having a visiting pup come to play is one thing, but having that same cute puppy “move in” is a different situation altogether. Rosco is having trouble accepting his new brother, and Stewie’s occasional practice of stepping on his head isn’t helping one bit.

Rosco loves playing and wrestling with Stewie until both dogs are breathless. He has no problem sharing his eating space with the other pup, and even enjoys sharing a nice snooze in the sun in close proximity. But, at the end of all that fun and relaxation, it appears as if Rosco is ready for Stewie to leave, and go back from whence he came.

Of course, it will take a bit of time for Rosco to completely welcome Stewie into the family. This arduous process is occurring right before our eyes, on a daily basis, in spite of the head stepping thing. As with human beings, they are trying to figure out ways they can co-exist without totally sublimating their own wants, needs, and desires.

Both dogs love to gather for biscuit treats, and sit patiently (not really) waiting to be handed their nugget of pleasure. But that is where the similarity ends. Rosco is a rather slow, and deliberate eater, who enjoys crunching his “biskie” into little pieces. He then picks-up the individual morsels, and chews them 110 times as his physician suggests. Stewie, on the other hand, takes the entire biscuit into his mouth, gives it one or two chomps; then swallows it quickly. So, we are left with Stewie, sans biscuit, staring at Rosco’s feet, where lay a treasure trove of munchie little delectables. His first impulse is to quickly grab what he can from his new brother, and enjoy the extra bounty.

Rosco doesn‘t appreciate this impulse, and you can see him weighing his options. He can growl, and snap at Stewie, letting him know “who’s boss,” or he can simply sit, and permit himself to be done out of his rightful treats. Naturally, as “objective” observers, Arnold, and I, impose ourselves in these negotiations. By pointing out to Stewie that he has no right to intrude on his brother’s space, he is compelled to allow Rosco to enjoy his snack at his own pace. Between our gentle intervention, and the two dogs learning to manage their own territory, that particular problem is almost totally settled. Sadly, when the outside influences are not looking, there is a little backsliding by the newest addition who attempts to cross the border, and steal a crumb, or two. With both interests knowing there are outside parties monitoring the situation, they are coming to realize that there are guidelines to be respected.

Sleeping arrangements at night are also a matter of territory, and preference, as well as positioning on the couch when the family gathers to watch TV, or a movie. Slowly, but surely, both dogs are learning to respect each others differences, borders, as well as similarities. Each, and every day, they are learning to trust each other, and growing closer in friendship on their path to permanent peace.

I look to these dogs’ behaviour as a microcosm of the situation between Israel, and the Palestinians. We have two separate entities trying to occupy the same space. Of course, their differences, and history, go far deeper, and must deal with questions far more consequential than “biskie” crumbs, but the basics are essentially the same. Two nationalities with their own beliefs, priorities, histories, and expectations, trying to cross their divides to a permanent peace.

As the leaders of these nationalities come and go, the methods, and even some of the objectives change, but the bottom line remains the same. No one wants to live in a never-ending state of war. It is obvious that objective assistance is necessary. An influence that is outside the daily sphere of the differing factions; that can stand back, and observe, and then help guide the two sides to a better understanding of how this long elusive peace may be attained. But it is always up to the two sides to find their own ways to come together. Their need, and desire, for peace must be so great that all else pales in comparison. Until that happens, I fear they will continue to growl, and snap at each other, over little bits of this, and that.


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