The first time I looked at an Apple computer, I was so turned off I didn’t consider buying one. After all, I was a Serious Writer and when I had to delete something, I didn’t like the idea of dragging it to a little picture of a garbage can. So I struggled on with DOS and all the confusing things that came afterwards, putting up with all the insulting things my computer would flash onto its screen when I put in the wrong command. Being verbally abused by my computer just became part of my work day.
Now that I can ask Siri to make calls for me, I have been thinking about accommodation, how technology saves me from having to take off my sunglasses and put on my reading glasses when I need to make a call while out with Sky – and more appropriate for this blog, how we accommodate our dogs and make sure their needs are taken care of no matter their age or ours.
When our dogs are very young, they need frequent outings, gentle training, a smart introduction to the human vocabulary that will become one of the many connections they have with their mixed species families. They need to get used to the human world, to riding in vehicles, ignoring the vacuum cleaner, making peace with the cat. As they get older, they need enough exercise to keep their muscles strong and help them relax when there’s not much to do, but not so much that they are punched up to an impossible to deliver level. They need a human who can understand their signs and signals. They need stimulation, education, affection and time to just be. And as they age, and as we do, everything gets modified, but just as a good, long walk will help keep our immune systems humming, so it is with them. Together, at every age, we keep each other a bit healthier, a bit more sane, loads and loads happier. And those accommodations have been around a lot longer than Siri, even longer than the little trash can icon I use so often on the computer that never, ever verbally abuses me.