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Of Dogs and Men人狗之間:理解才有愛 忠誠一生伴

放大字體  縮小字體 發布日期:2005-10-31  瀏覽次數:1925
  Chester was my window on the mysterious bond between canines and humans.

   譯者點評:普羅泰格拉說,人類勝過動物,全恃道德。如是,道德就成了衡量人與動物的一把尺子。其實,人與動物之間的關系不僅僅能反映人的道德觀,也反映動物的道德觀。人狗之間與人貓之間所反映的就是兩種不同的動物的道德觀:忠誠與奸詐。這決定了人對動物的不同態度:忠誠博得了寵愛,奸詐遭到了疏遠。結果也導致了狗貓之間的頻頻戰事。而事實上,人與人,人與動物,動物與動物,未必不能和睦相處:關鍵在于理解和愛。

  ?The way I see it dogs had this big meeting. Oh maybe 20,000 years ago. A huge meeting—an international convention with delegates from everywhere. And that’s when they decided that humans were the up and coming species and dogs were going to throw their lot in with them. The decision was obviously not unanimous. The wolves and dingoes walked out in protest.

  Cats had an even more negative reaction. When they heard the news they called their own meeting—in Paris of course—to denounce canine subservience to the human hyperpower.Their manifesto—La Condition Féline—can still be found in provincial bookstores.?

  Cats, it must be said, have not done badly. Using guile and seduction they managed to get humans to feed them thus preserving their superciliousness without going hungry. A neat trick. Dogs being guileless signed and delivered. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  I must admit that I’ve been slow to warm to dogs.I grew up in a non-pet friendly home. Dogs do not figure prominently in Jewish immigrant households. My father was not very high on pets. He wasn’t hostile. He just saw them as superfluous an encumbrance. When the Cossacks are chasing you around Europe you need to travel light.This by the way is why Europe produced far more Jewish violinists than pianists. Try packing a piano.?

  My parents did allow a hint of zoological indulgence. I had a pet turtle. My brother had a parakeet. Both came to unfortunate ends. My turtle fell behind a radiator and was not discovered until too late. And the parakeet God bless him flew out a window once never to be seen again. After such displays of stewardship we dared not ask for a dog.

  My introduction to the wonder of dogs came from my wife Robyn. She’s Australian. And Australia as lovingly recounted in Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country has the craziest wildest deadliest meanest animals on the planet. In a place where every spider and squid can take you down faster than a sucker punched boxer you cherish niceness in the animal kingdom. And they don’t come nicer than dogs.

  Robyn started us off slowly. She got us a Border collie Hugo when our son was about 6. She knew that would appeal to me because the Border collie is the smartest species on the planet. Hugo could 1 play outfield in our backyard baseball games 2 do flawless front door sentry duty and 3 play psychic weatherman announcing with a wail every coming thunderstorm.

  When our son Daniel turned 10 he wanted a dog of his own. I was against it using arguments borrowed from seminars on nuclear nonproliferation. It was hopeless. One giant “Please Dad” and I caved completely. Robyn went out to Winchester Virginia found a litter of black Labs and brought home Chester.

  Chester is what psychiatrists mean when they talk about unconditional love. Unbridled is more like it. Come into our house?and he was so happy to see you he would knock you over.Deliverymen learned to leave things at the front door.?

  In some respects—Ph.D. potential for example—I don’t make any great claims for Chester. When I would arrive home I fully expected to find Hugo reading the newspaper. Not Chester. Chester would try to make his way through a narrow sliding door find himself stuck halfway and then look at me with total and quite genuine puzzlement.I don’t think he ever got to understand that the rear part of him was actually attached to the front.

  But it was Chester who dispensed affection as unreflectively as he breathed who got me thinking about this long ago pact between humans and dogs. Cat lovers and the pet averse will just roll their eyes at such dogophilia.I can’t help it. Chester was always at your foot or your hand waiting to be petted and stroked played with and talked to. His beautiful blocky head his wonderful overgrown puppy’s body his baritone bark filled every corner of house and heart.

  Then last month at the tender age of 8 he died quite suddenly. The long slobbering slothful decline we had been looking forward to was not to be. When told the news a young friend who was a regular victim of Chester’s lunging lovebombs said mournfully“He was the sweetest creature I ever saw. He’s the only dog I ever saw kiss a cat.”

  Some will protest that in a world with so much human suffering it is something between eccentric and obscene to mourn a dog. I think not. After all it is perfectly normal indeed deeply human to be moved when nature presents us with a vision of great beauty. Should we not be moved when it produces a vision—a creature—of the purest sweetness﹖ -




人狗之間:理解才有愛 忠誠一生伴
  根據我的觀察,狗開了這次大會。噢,也許是在兩萬年以前開的。那是一次盛大聚會——有各地代表參加的一次國際會議。正是在那次會議上它們做出了決定:人是上進的物種,狗要與他們共命運。這個決定顯然未取得一致見解。狼和野狗憤然離會表示抗議。

  貓的反應更消極。它們聽到這個消息后,也召開了會議——當然是在巴黎——痛斥狗屈服于人類強權的懦弱行徑。(它們的聲明——《貓的狀況》——仍然可以在外省書店里看到。)

  必須承認,貓干得不壞。利用欺騙和誘惑,它們設法讓人類喂養它們,所以,既不挨餓又保持了目中無人的派頭。一個絕招兒。老實厚道的狗簽署并發表了那項聲明。于是開始了人與狗的一段美好友誼。

  我必須承認,我并不是一下子就對狗產生好感的。我生長在一個不喜歡寵物的家庭里。在猶太移民的家庭里,狗不是最重要的。父親對寵物不感興趣。他不是恨寵物,只是認為寵物是多余的,是累贅。當哥薩克人追著你滿歐洲跑的時候,你需要輕裝上路。(順便說一句,歐洲猶太人小提琴家之所以大大多于猶太人鋼琴家,原因就在這里。不信你就打包一架鋼琴試試。)

  我父母確實遷就過我們養寵物。我養過一只龜,弟弟養過一只長尾鸚鵡。兩個的結局都很不幸。我的龜掉到一個散熱器的后面,發現時已經沒救了。而那只鸚鵡,愿上帝保佑它,有一次飛出窗外,就再也沒見到影兒。在表現出如此糟糕的管理之后,我們還哪敢提養狗的事兒。

  是我的妻子羅賓使我開始了解到狗的神奇的。她是澳大利亞人。而澳大利亞,正如比爾·布賴森在《太陽燒焦的鄉村》中所熱情洋溢地歌頌的那樣,擁有這個星球上最狂的、最野的、最兇的、最丑的動物。每一只蜘蛛,每一條烏賊,都能比又快又猛的拳擊手還快地打倒你,在這樣一個地方,你所珍重的是動物王國里的文雅。而那些動物都不如狗文雅。

  羅賓帶我們慢慢地起步。兒子6歲時,她給我們弄了一只博德牧羊犬,叫雨果。她知道我會喜歡它,因為博德牧羊犬是這個星球上最聰明的狗。第一,雨果能在我們打后院壘球游戲時打外場;第二,無可挑剔地在前門把守;第三,它是通靈氣象員,每當雷暴到來之前它都會長吠一聲。

  當我們的兒子丹尼爾10歲時,他想自己養條狗。我不同意,借用防核擴散研討會上的論點來反對。但不奏效。只一聲偉大的“求求你了,爸爸”,我就徹底屈服了。羅賓去了趟弗吉尼亞的溫切斯特,發現了一窩黑色的拉布拉多小狗,于是,把切斯特帶回了家。

  切斯特就是精神病學家所說的那種無條件的愛。更確切地說是毫無顧忌。有誰一走進家門,它那么高興地見到你,會把你撞倒。(送貨人都學會了把東西放在我們門口。)

  在某些方面——如博士學位什么的——我對切斯特并不抱什么太大的奢望。一到家,我總能看到雨果在讀報紙。但不是切斯特。切斯特會使勁擠進一個很窄的拉門,半身卡在了那里,然后用毫不摻假的迷茫眼神看著我。我認為它從來不明白它的后半截身子實際上是和前半截連在一起的。

  但正是切斯特像呼吸一樣不假思索地施愛與人,正是它讓我想起了這個很久以前就已訂立了的人犬之間的契約。愛貓者和厭惡寵物者對這種親狗癥只能翻翻白眼而已?晌覜]有辦法。切斯特不是在你的腳下,就是在你的手邊,等著拍打撫摩,與它玩;蚺c它說話。它那顆漂亮斑駁的腦袋,那奇妙肥大的身段,那男中音式的狗吠,遍及房間和心窩的各個角落。

  而上個月,在剛剛8歲這幼小的年齡,它就突然死去了。我們曾經預料的那漫長的、流著口水的、懶散的衰老過程不會再有了。經常受切斯特發自肺腑的愛彈襲擊的一個年輕朋友在聽到它的死訊時悲傷地說,“它是我見過的最可愛的動物。它是我見過的惟一一只吻貓的狗!

  有些人會反駁說,在一個充滿了人類痛苦的世界上,為一只狗悲傷,是近乎怪癖或可憎的表現。我以為不然。畢竟,深為自然界呈現給我們的偉大美景而感動完全是正常的、具有深刻人性的事。當它向我們呈現一個最可愛的景象——一個動物時,我們不應該為之所動嗎?
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