“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” — Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
The thing about having a dog in your life is they’re part of everything in your life. Everything you do from the moment they come into it until they depart from this earth entirely too soon is about engagement and love. We humans either rise to meet our moment with our canine companions or we fall short. We ought to rise, but can readily think of examples of those who don’t. Simply put, not every person is worthy of a dog.
I grew up with dogs, but that didn’t mean I was always worthy of having one in my life. A few years there during my twenties I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment. That was a good barometer for many other aspects of my life at that time. I’d like to think I’ve grown into the role as a mature adult. Perhaps the jury is still out on me, but I give more time than I take away from my pup and every other responsibly I embrace.
She seems inclined to be with me, and excited when I return. May it always be so, but that’s up to us. People who expect loyalty and discipline without earning it with love, patience and presence miss the mark. Dogs, like children, are mirrors reflecting all that we give to them. That dogs filter much of where we fall short and amplify love is precisely why we ought to prove our worth more. Patience is acquired through presence and a commitment to see things through. A dog informs us of just how far we’ve come in our progression towards generosity and love.