I hate to sound arrogant, but I am pretty impressed with myself right now. See, I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I’ve even blogged about it here.
So I’m very proud of myself that I could be on facebook today, with all the hearts and photos of flowers and professions of devotion, and not want to jump off the nearest bridge. Instead, I find myself pondering love of a non-human kind.
This is Sadie, my adopted pooch.
Many of you know her but for those who don’t, here’s her story in as few words as possible. She was recommended to me by 2 completely unconnected people who saw her in the animal shelter and thought she’d be a good fit for me. She was fostered with friends of mine who keep her when I travel.
She is an incredible dog; gentle, calm, affectionate. Most people, when they meet her, say some variation of “oh, she is so SWEET!” And I really believe she has saved my mental health; the time of my life when I got her was not my happiest. She forces me to exercise, to leave work, and to marvel at the capacity for unconditional love that dogs have.
But what is most marvelous about Sadie is the community of people she’s introduced me to: dog lovers. These people, y’all. They are incredibly generous with their time, counsel and love. I have a great vet thanks to a friend’s recommendation. I have an army of people who willingly volunteer to dog sit. One of my favorite places is the dog park, where humans gather to watch their canines romp. And I’ve been introduced to a new group recently; I’m working to have Sadie tested to be a therapy dog, which means I will be able to take her into hospitals, nursing homes, etc. This came about because of a simple email asking a local dog expert what to do; within moments she’d connected me with a trainer, and last night we had our first class.
Speaking of arrogant, it’s clear that Sadie is going to be an amazing therapy dog. 🙂 But last night, as I sat in a room with total strangers – whose dogs’ names I knew, but the humans? Not so much – I felt like my heart was going to overflow. Everyone in that room was there because they wanted their dogs to bring joy to others, and every single person was warm and supportive of the dogs and the owners as we worked through our exercises. I was struck, once again, by how very rich my life has become since I became a dog owner.
Sometimes I hear that “our generation”, whatever that means, doesn’t have the compassion and sense of duty that previous generations have. That may be true, but when I think about the dog community I’m now a part of, I wonder. The love I see there is best kind: pure, generous and unconditional.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. Woof.