I can hardly describe the feeling of bliss that accompanies play-time with a dog.
Smart dogs, dumb dogs, disobedient dogs, loyal dogs, and every other kind of dog seem to bring joy wherever they go. Well, maybe not vicious & malicious dogs... But let's not think about them.
Firstly, though, let's focus on the aesthetics of a dog. Eugenics has bred dogs into all shapes, sizes, and colors. Dogs exists for all tastes and preferences. Even the ugly ones are kind of cute. But the eyes are what really manipulate one's demeanor. I can't look down into a set of classic puppy dog eyes and dismiss the feeling of true compassion; perhaps they try to convey a real connection.
Perhaps, as simple creatures, they want to involve themselves in everything you do. Those big, gelatinous eyes fixate themselves on their humans and the golden possibility of a dropped article of food. Maybe they feel true concern. Maybe they are opportunists.
When a dog whines, how can you not feel sympathy? How can one bury compassion for man's best friend or suppress the urge to alleviate the ailments that plague them at that particular instance? These animals are equipped with the most dangerous weapon of all: The ability to play on your emotions.
Of course, what smells worse than a wet dog? Wat is more annoying than a dog tracking mud into the house? And, above all, how do we, as masters, so easily forgive them? The easy answer is that they, once again as basic animals, lack the understanding necessary to correct the behavior that seems normal to them. But the truth is that we want to forgive them, not for their ignorance, but because they forgive us, too, when we fail to meet expectations.
When we forget to fill the food & water bowls, do they hold it against us? When we accidentally back up and take a bad step, does the pain sink deeper than firing synapses? When we leave them alone, do they, in turn, desert us?
When we commit acts unforgivable in the eyes of our fellow man, does a dog judge us?
They say a true friends stands by you even when you're wrong. If that's how we, as humans, measure a true friends, then there is no friend greater than the dog. The dog does not care if you're right or wrong. The dog does not care whether or not you tried to spare the feelings of the one whose spirit you have crushed. The dog does not need to know why you weep. The dog is always there for you through thick and thin.
The dog does not wait its turn to speak. The dog does not exist in a narcissistic vacuum. The dog only wants love. Sure, the dog wants to be fed and walked and played with, but these are all things that we as children have once looked to our parents for. Did we not also characterize these needs as love? Did we not feel the warm aura of an unbreakable bond?
And, most importantly, the dog is loyal above all other creatures. The dog does not care what crowd you hang around with. The dog does not take offense to unkind words. The dog knows that, when scolded, the anger and disappointment are only temporary and that, via the judgment of its protector, this behavior must be for its own good.
The dog has no shame. And, more importantly, the dog is never ashamed of you. In the midst of a judgmental society, it's easy to "be yourself" around a dog; the dog which does not think your stupid or evil or ill equipped. In an egocentric society, the dog legitimately cares about your feelings.
And, in the end, no one ever looks back on a good dog and dwells on its bad habits or its rude behavior or its simplistic tendencies. And if they do, it always seems to be nostalgic and never with a trace of disappointment.
I look forward to the day (which will be relatively soon) that I can have my own dog again. Unconditional love is hard to find in humans. Luckily for dog lovers, it's only a lick away.
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