The Human Experience: Dog

There are no words to describe how close I want to be

with my family,

with my friends,

with every stranger I meet,

with my dog.

Let’s start simple.

Let’s start with my dog.

I never had any siblings, but I never prayed for one. I did pray every single night for 10 years that I would have a dog. And one day, my dad simply said, “Your aunt told me that she has a batch of puppies up for adoption. Let’s go.” It took a minute for the implication to register in my, and the entire 35 minute car ride for it to sink in. When I walked into the kennel, it was like a dream come true; there were dozens of puppies of all breeds and colors frolicking in unadulterated bliss, many of which charged at me for a pat, a scratch, a rub, or a combination of the above. Yet somehow, one solitary, black puppy stood in a corner, playing with a water-bowl; it hit the water with its paw, over and over, with its head cocked to one side, quizzical and fully engaged, as if the world could go by a million years and all that would matter was the water-bowl and the water. I was enraptured…some might call it love.

So I ended up adopting the one dog that found a water-bowl more interesting than me.

And now, 10 years later, I find moments of brand new love for Dov every single day. Sometimes, it’s the way he rolls over on his back when I open the door to my bedroom in the morning, hinting at his desire for a good belly rub (heck, I can do with a good morning belly rub myself). Sometimes, it’s simply the longing gaze he gives me when I look over at him, and I could almost hear his brain waves forming, “Is he going to come over and pat me? Because I’d love that. Is he? Is he? Is he?” Invariably, I would give in to the magic of his gaze. Let’s just say the line is constantly blurred as to who is the owner, and who is the pet.

But back to the topic – sometimes I just want to be so close to Dov.

I would start patting him, and the pleasure of his smooth fur between my fingers would trigger a deeper need, a need for more contact. Then I would wrap my arms around him, lightly, then tighter, and tighter, and tighter yet. I just need more! The urge becomes palpable, searing itself in my brain. How do I show this little fur-ball that I loved him more than the trillion other animals on planet Earth? How do I get the message across that he means so much to me? The only way was kinesthetic, through bodily contact, a merging of our existences that paralleled the alignment of stars and planets. So I would need to press my face against his face, as he starts to struggle to free itself from my ridiculous behavior (it probably feels more like a ritual of death than a gesture of love). Sometimes I would touch his nose with my nose, hoping that equates to a light kiss in the canine communication paradigm; other times I would just kiss him on the forehead.

Is this what it feels like to be in love?

Of course, there are times that I just want to kill him. When he pees on the trash-can. When he jumps on the sofa. When he poos on the stairs. But the moments of intense love outshines them all. Loving my dog is not a perfect, flawless endeavor. But it is much simpler than loving a person. It is love without the heartbreak, without the conflicts, the quarrels, the ambiguity, the infinite variables that comprise a human being. Dov is just a dog. Eat, play, sleep, repeat. Love to him is simple: feeding him, entertaining him, and touching him. I love loving him.

I guess all I can say is, my dog is not my dog –

he’s family

he’s a friend

and

he’s my lover.

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