In last Sunday’s comic section, the “Mutts” cartoon by Patrick McDonnell featured a person bundled up out in the snow with their dog. The pup had a little sweater on and was bounding gleefully through the snow with a stick in their mouth. The quote attributed to Milan Kundera is “Dogs are our link to paradise.” This and more is true about the love and joy that dogs selflessly give to their humans. We are their pack.
I am better with dogs, and often even a more balanced human because of their steadfast love and positive energy. They know when I need more care and surround me in a protective shield. I adore them and need them, perhaps as much or more than they need me, depending on the day or night. I grieve deeply and for a long time after I have to tell my beloved pup that I will see her/him later when it is my time to cross the bridge, knowing they will all be there to lead me over and continue to guide me on my next journey. Those who wait across the bridge, running around again and playing ball (Lucy), still watch over their pack…their family, along with their feline pack members who have joined them along the way.
To live with dogs as companions gives one a glimpse of how humans should live and treat one another. Dogs love unconditionally and may bark at each other, which is how they communicate. They do not hold grudges, even against evil and hateful humans who harm them. They are smart and know what we need, when we need whatever it is that we need, or they think we need, like a personal escort everywhere in our own homes. Humans obviously have no idea how to do anything on their own, let alone safely, so they protect us from ourselves and others, like the weekly trash and recycle collection trucks. They let us know the “threat level” then go back about their business, which is usually a nap because they are all seniors, but never underestimate their ability to guard our home and property. Nothing moves without notice.
Dogs pick us up when we are down, or even when we do not yet know we are down; they make sure we are okay. They are the best snuggle buddies and make sure we are safe when we sleep. They rouse us by washing our faces and perhaps ears that somehow got dirty overnight whilst sleeping. They look at us with love and gift us with more of the same. They miss us while they watch us work outside in the yard when their “help” is not needed, often for their own safety. They get excited to take us for walks in the neighborhood, but especially at the park where there are fewer rules about where they may wander.
Dogs are perfect examples of unconditional love and foster scenarios of paradise for the ones they love, even their cats. Dogs are companions. Dogs are guardians. Dogs demonstrate love. Dogs give humans a glimpse into what could indeed be a version of paradise on Earth Mother. For the love of Dog.