410 words

You put your bag down as you enter your front door. The sound of four elated feet comes ever closer. Your keys meet their designated tray, and your take time removing the shoes housing your exhausted feet, perhaps introducing the slightest delay. This delay is met with the impact of unfiltered joy at your arrival and the soul of a friendship that does not have a sell-by date.

Dogs allow us to be present. They offer the opportunity for us to set aside our blighted past. To temporarily ignore our mild transgressions that went unnoticed by everyone else, yet we torture ourselves over. Their hearts instantly revive a day once thought to have long been in decline. When in their presence, there is no caste system, there is no prejudice, and we are all equally greeted. Well, save for their mom, who rightfully occupies the rarified air of the deity that they well and truly are.

There are many humans who cannot relate and empathize with members of different species. I’ve long viewed this as an unfortunate and under-documented disability, and this remains to be true. Recently, however, such a human did come to appreciate the presence of dogs and how life is a much better place with them.

“You really do have cute dogs,” he said as he succumbed to his many decades’ old disability. He got to observe how much warmth they brought to the room. He saw the level of peace and acceptance that did not need to be earned to be shared.  He came to realize that dogs do not demarcate the rooms they enter.

One of the worst deeds that we humans have repeatedly accomplished is the act of dehumanizing others. Whether on the smallest subconscious levels where we belittle the suffering of others, to the very conscious ones I observed last month made on influencers by certain people, to the very worst cases of relegating an entire nation’s or race’s people to that of something not worth consideration.

Dogs and all pets bring out the best in us, for we humanize those who are not us. We recognize their wants, needs and struggles. We acknowledge that they are worthy of being loved and supported unconditionally. They teach and train us to open our hearts without fear of the betrayal that the distasteful people in our lives have exposed us to.

Thank goodness for the dogs, cats, parrots, and all the pets in our lives.