You can set up a murder, burn down the house, and lose a lover, but don’t kill the family pet, writers are advised. People are very touchy about their pooches and other furry or feathered friends.
I’m not here to defend lopsided values or recount the psychological and health benefits of canines and company, but I am going to confess that now I too, have crossed over to the dark side—uh—dog side, as a recent trip over the holiday revealed.
For years I resisted having any pet, especially canine, that depended on me for its survival. My main concern was that I wanted to be free to travel and not worry about what to do with Fido.
But a while back, our daughter came to visit with a puppy and then left several months later without it. The dog, undaunted by my lack of alpha mother spirit, followed me everywhere, snuggled as close as she could get, and made so much ado about my comings and goings that when we decided to take a trip over the holiday, I found myself fretting about boarding her.
“I think I’m becoming a doting old fogy,” I said to my husband, as I spread the dog’s new velour blanket over the sheets on his side of the bed. “You have to sleep on it tonight so it will smell like you and she won’t get lonely at the kennel.”
The next day after I packed our bags, I packed the doggie’s bag—blanket (now smelling like hubby) toy and treat. Although unnerved by all the canine chaos at the kennel, I quickly handed her over and left.
As we drove away, I thought about the things that endeared her to us. Although I suspected she’d probably leave me in a second for a squirrel, she certainly expressed enthusiasm and contentment to be in our company, and she loved to be touched and praised.
Don’t we all.
I reached over rubbed my husband’s neck. I may not have a tail to wag as he came in the door, but I probably could show a little more enthusiasm in welcoming him home.
A word of praise, a touch, an undistracted interest in someone’s conversation. A moment to just be content in another’s presence.
We humans have a way of making things overly complicated. I think I need to take a lesson from the pooch, who, by the way, did just fine at the kennel and is now snuggled up next to me as I write.
Others may not remember a word I say or thing I do, but they will remember how I made them feel. (A paraphrased statement credited to several people.)
Oh, Lord, may I love as you love me.