We look up from our cameras to see two lean and muscular dogs racing towards us. They grin and circle around us before disappearing along the bush track. A tall man appears. He pushes his long curly hair behind his ears as he says, “Good morning! You’re up early.”
There’s a mist hovering above the water. The ground along the river bank sparkles with frost.
Our eyes dart quickly towards the man’s long legs. They stretch out of his three-quarter cargo pants. His pale bare toes are visible in his brown leather sandals. And despite our many layers of clothing, we shiver.
“The light is magnificent,” we say. The man looks at our cameras. Perhaps he thinks we’re taking photos of the sun rising over the river. But we’re not. We’re filming a music video.
While we chat, a third dog appears from between the trees. He’s stout. He has very short legs. He trots towards his owner. Soon the man and his dog continue along the track.
“Enjoy your walk,” we say.
When the man is out of sight, I ask, “How will that fat dog keep up with the other ones? Did you see how short his legs are?” We giggle as we turn back to our cameras.
Twenty minutes later, the fat dog ambles past us once again. His roly-poly body almost brushes the dirt track as he retraces his footsteps. Nose to the ground, he disappears between the trees.
The sun rises higher in the sky. The man comes striding back towards us. The lean dogs bounce along by his side.
“We saw your other dog,” we say.
“He was heading back to my car,” the man tells us. “He knows how far he’s capable of walking.”
“The dog is an unschooler!” I think. His owner trusts him. He decides about how far he can walk. When he’s had enough, he turns around and heads for home. The dog is quite capable of making a good decision.
If a man can trust a dog, surely we can trust our kids? They know when they’re tired or hungry or cold. They know how much clothing they need to wear and what they’re interested in learning about. They know what they need to know and when they need to know it. We don’t have to make their decisions for them.
I tell this unschooling dog story in my video, How We Can Trust Kids and Dogs. I also share more details about our latest music video shoot.
And when you’ve watched my video, perhaps you’d like to see the end result of our morning’s work at the river. Here’s Imogen’s music video, Safe and Sound.
We hope you enjoy it!