Dogs Make Me Believe in Humanity

Dogs Make Me Believe in Humanity

Adrienne BoettingerWednesday,20 July 2016

I was going to write about how dogs are better than people but given the news all around us that seems too obvious. Of course dogs are better than people. Dogs are all about love. Dogs love us even when we’re terrible. They spend their lives waiting for us to come home and spend time with them. They love us when our jeans don’t fit and when we have bad hair days and when we say things we know we shouldn’t. Dogs are the best listeners and our most sympathetic partners.

What surprises me is how much dogs make me believe in the goodness of people. Just when I’m sure that everyone is so terrible that Giant Meteor 2016 is our best option, all I have to do is see people and their dogs. Even when it comes to people with whom I vehemently disagree on socio-economic issues, I vehemently agree with how awesome they are to their dogs.

I’m blessed with a lot of family and friends on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Sometimes when reading their social media feeds, I can’t understand how we’re related or friends or even of the same species. And then I see a pic of their dog or some adorable dog video they post or how they shared a ‘lost dog’ post of someone they didn’t even know. And I know that when it comes down to it, we may not agree on policies but we agree on something that is a more reliable indicator of someone’s humanity: how they treat man and woman’s best friend.

Adopting my dog Charlie is the best thing I’ve ever done. Picking him up at the shelter created a lasting memory with my father just before Alzheimer’s robbed him of most of his memories. Walking Charlie up and down my street introduced me to caring friends and lets this “Auntie A” watch her adorable little neighbors grow and learn as they become big enough to hold the leash on their own. The thump of Charlie’s tail is my favorite sound and I hear it most often when he gets to see the people in my life and his who he loves. And when his tumor came to threaten our time together, the people in my life showed me that many humans are worth the devotion dogs bestow upon them.

So here’s an idea: when a friend or family member posts something on social media or says something in real life that causes a knee-jerk reaction where you literally want to knee them or at least call them a jerk, be more like a dog. Hear the good things they are saying or have said (like treats or walk), rather than the not good stuff (like medicine or having to go to work). Focus on the connection that you share with them. When all else fails, breathe and go look at pics or videos of puppies. Don’t contribute to a dialogue of hate. Wag more, bark less.

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Image Credit: James Willock on Flickr

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