Ed was dumped in a horse-box, with his brother Sidney when he was a puppy. He is seven now and has had a knee operation. This is Ed’s second knee operation. He and Sid have lived with us since they were 8 weeks old and between them they have had six different operations on their knees. So for the time being, Ed is not supposed to jump and since he is familiar with having knee operations, Ed knows that he is not meant to be jumping.
When I come home from work Ed wants to say hello by licking my face. To save him from jumping, I bend down so that he can reach my face without straining. But Ed still jumps! He does these tiny, fast jumps. His paws lift no more than two centimetres off the floor and he bobs up and down determined to bounce. I find it bizarre because there is no need for the jumping, in fact it is problematic, because I bend down and he does little bounces and then our heads bump.
So in my imagination I ask Ed “why do you keep jumping, even though my head is right there? You don’t need to jump, so why do it?” Ed looks at me and says “I don’t understand the question. I jump because I jump. Why do I have to have a reason? And why does it bother you anyway? How does it have an effect on you if I jump a little bit?” Well obviously I can’t answer Ed, because it really doesn’t affect me if he jumps and I don’t know why I want him to stop. He’s not jumping enough to hurt his knee so why should I care. But the senseless jumping disturbs me. It doesn’t make sense, feels like a waste of energy. Ed is resolute, “I jump because I jump. Why must I stop?!”
I concede that Ed can continue to jump and that he is right, I have no reason for him to stop. The fact that it annoys me is not reason enough to impinge on his joy of jumping. Some dogs and people like to jump, often for no good reason. It annoys some people. Next time I annoy someone with my fiddling or fidgeting or my verbal bouncing and next time they ask me to stop, I’m going to remember my imaginary conversation with Ed.
Jumping for Ed is both tool AND result. Sometimes he jumps because he is happy, sometimes he is happy because he jumps. And sometimes he jumps and jumps some more. He cannot separate the jumping from the why or the how of it. Ed simply jumps and jumps.