Our four legged friends

January 18, 2010 § 8 Comments

Last fall, David asked me for my opinion and some ideas on a piece about pets.  The library in Grande Prairie does a writing competition every year, and this year pets were the topics.  I’ve always felt that pets are an important part of a person’s life for those of us that have them.  They can bring us great joy, they can disarm even the most protected person, and we can learn so much from them.

It was my last at home (home being my mom’s place) over the holidays before heading back to Calgary.  I had just returned home from Edmonton and there was a cute waggily tail waiting to greet me at the back door.  I let Tetris into the back porch so we could properly greet one another without the discomforts of the cold outdoors.  That waggily tail continued to wag, and as usual, Tetris was beside herself with joy to see me.  She eventually calmed down and became the sweetest dog in the world (and no I’m not biased at all).

As I sat in the doorway petting her and scratching her belly, I noticed just how relaxed and at peace I was with her.  It’s taken me a long time to become that way with other human beings, but with a pet it’s just so natural.  I remembered a friend in Calgary mentioning once that she wished she could be as at home with herself with the rest of the world as she is when she’s hanging out with her four legged friend.  What is it about a pet that can only bring out the best in us?

A dog operates from only one place.  They don’t know how to lie or deceive, they are easily hurt, but trust again just as readily.  They will always be home to greet you, even on the days you may have parted on a harsh word because they left a spot on your tie… or chewed up one of your favourite shoes.  And yet, they remain a source of love and affection.  That’s what being on the receiving end of unconditional love is like.  Imagine if most people operated from the same plane.  Where those you interact with are not a source of distrust or stress, but such an unfathomably endless well of joyful emotion, that you know no matter what you do, they love you anyway.

This is the lesson I learn and relearn from Tetris every time I’m back home.  The ability to open myself up and accept her the way she is… holes in the backyard, mud on my jeans and everything… and allow her to accept me the way I am… messy apartment, laundry that’s never done… and everything.  It is easier done with a dog, they don’t have the capacity to judge.  But what if we refrained from judging one another as well?  How much easier would it be?  How much farther ahead would the world be because we trusted one another and weren’t scared to be who we are?

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§ 8 Responses to Our four legged friends

  • What a great post and certainly provides inspiration for my submission due at the end of February. Dogs are wonderful pets, but even better companions, especially if they are like mine, who thinks he is a person anyway.

  • clintcora says:

    There was a study done in Japan which showed that oxytocin levels (the nurturing hormone) rise in dog owners when they are playing with their dogs at level comparable to human mothers with their infants. Scientific proof of what dogs can do!

  • John Tyler says:

    Very good post Wendy! It’s amazing about unconditional love, especially with pets, yet it seems tough for people to give to others. It is the underlying trust that will allow us to give unconditionally, but it can be so easily taken advantage of. On the other hand It is so easy to make a judgement and be selective, be conditional, and when the conditions change it becomes an easy way out. Often people take the easy road instead of the right road. Having a pet, especially a dog sounds like it’s an enjoyable experience!

  • Angela says:

    All I need to say is … you know.

  • Tze says:

    Awesome Wendy. Completely applicable to my day. Thanks for the post.

  • First off I feel the need to correct you in that your dog might be the second sweetest dog in the world. Mine is first 🙂

    Nice post. Yes, the world would be a much better place if people behaved more like dogs. Non-judgemental, loving, appreciative and no sass. Unfortunately the reality is that people are no-where near as good and pure. And I hate to say this, but if I had it to do over again, I might have had more dogs instead of two daughters LOL. Obviously that is a joke, but it would be nice if our children behaved more like our pups, right?

  • anonymous says:

    We all know that dogs are better than humans. But we cant hide behind our imperfections and acquire canine characteristics. Thus we must use opportunities like the Internet wisely and motivate our fellow non-canines through intelligent testimonies and guidance. Fido does not have a web site or Facebook membership.

  • Erin Stashko says:

    This was a contemplative article, full of insight. It was also a clear, descriptive write-up on the nature of humans, in contrast to the innocent and free love that only pets seem to offer. Indeed!

    What if it were, as you say, “…we trusted one another and weren’t scared to be who we are?” You also asked, “What if we refrained from judging one another as well?”

    That question is moving and makes me contemplate situations in my own life where it would be of benefit for me to trust others and not be afraid to be who I am.

    It’s certainly accurate when you declared that dogs possess no capacity to judge. With their absence of verbal prowess, this creates a more formidable bond since they can’t give advice, opinions, or as you mentioned – judge you. Even though they could avoid a person, most dogs would lick your face even if you were upset with them for scarfing down the bag of perogies you were saving for supper. The absence of a running dialogue from them promotes the best in us because we have nothing to ‘argue’ about. All we can really do then, is love them.

    It’s common for people to feel as you stated, here: “It’s taken me a long time to become that way with other human beings, but with a pet it’s just so natural.”

    Rarely do people connect/mesh well enough to abandon all pretenses and feel open in showing their vulnerabilities. When this transpires, it makes the relationship ‘real’, since it is based on trust and mutual respect. In these cases, the scenario (that you described below, in the last sentence of the paragraph you wrote), comes forth in a natural manner:

    “What is it about a pet that can only bring out the best in us? They don’t know how to lie or deceive, they are easily hurt, but trust again just as readily. They will always be home to greet you, even on the days you may have parted on a harsh word because they left a spot on your tie… or chewed up one of your favourite shoes. And yet, they remain a source of love and affection. That’s what being on the receiving end of unconditional love is like. Imagine if most people operated from the same plane.”

    You further explore the concept of being oneself by inquiring, “How much farther ahead would the world be because we trusted one another and weren’t scared to be who we are?”

    That is a question that would serve humankind well as it would encourage people to be themselves and, in the process, would eliminate judgement on others.

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