I’m getting pretty bleary this mid-afternoon, having stayed up late last night, like much of the country, watching the election returns. As the evening progressed, I found myself on the floor, with Lassie on one side, and Willie on the other. Both of my paws were busy, stroking and petting my dogs non-stop, in my attempt to maintain a modicum of calm. No matter how you feel about the outcome, it was a historic night for our country, and like many others, I was wired, and didn’t go to sleep until well into the morning hours.
As I lay beside Willie’s warm body and stroked Lassie’s buttery soft fur last night, I thought about how wonderful it is that the dogs and I had never had heated, or even heart-felt discussions about politics, the election. . . or anything else for that matter. What a gift that those of us who have dogs can have such close social relationships with sentient beings, and yet base that relationship on something other than words. Not that I don’t enjoy a great discussion, I do. But there’s a cost to speech, as I said in Dog is My Co-Pilot, quoted in For the Love of a Dog:
“Words may be wonderful things, but they carry weight with them, and there’s a great lightness of being when they are discarded . . . Some of my happiest moments are when Luke and I sit silently together, overlooking the green, rolling hills of Southern Wisconsin. Our lack of language doesn’t get in the way, but creates an opening for something else, something deep and pure and good. We dog lovers share a kind of Zen-like communion with our dogs, uncluttered by nouns and adverbs and dangling participles. This connection speaks to a part of us that needs to be nurtured and listened to, but that is so often drowned out in the cacophony of speech. Dogs remind us that we are being heard, without the additional weight of words. What a gift. No wonder we love them so much.”
I hope your dogs (and cats and horses and parrots) are providing you with warmth, nurturance and provide a welcome counterpoint to the amazing complexities of human life and language. How lucky we are to have them! Here’s a puppy, thanks to photographer Patricia Thomas, who looks more than ready to be someone’s special friend!