*This was something I wrote back in September of 2005 for the Super! Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
IT’S A dog’s life they say. IF only it was. Having a dog or a pet at a tender young age could either be: a growth experience or: a cruel mistake (to the pet, not the owner). Most of us may have grown up on Disney, Hanna Barbera, the Looney Tunes and Sesame Street. Let’s not of course forget “Batibot” and traditionalists please don’t hate me for forgetting the name of the series of lesson books that featured a water buffalo mascot and a lady tomato head. What’s my point, everyone I mentioned above used one common thread, animal characters as teachers or entertainers. We were all clamoring for a shirt of Big Bird rather than the grocer (see I forgot the name) and I’m sure Mickey Mouse will leave a longer lasting impression over Michael Jordan.
I could be wrong and I’m no expert on trivia and I’m pretty sure a number of you are googling frantically to see if I am, in fact, mistaken in my comparisons. But that’s missing the point really, I’m not about to prove the effectivity of animals versus people in terms of marketing, I’m here to write about the much understated abilities of these “beasts” to heal. Through unconditional love, and strangely enough, by leading through example. How so? In this rat race that most of us now find ourselves in, we are under constant pressure to DO in order to BECOME. Example, we have to DO well in school in order to BECOME the best in class and perhaps the most coveted new recruit in the most lucrative multinational.
What else? We have to JUST DO IT in order to be the most successful, brightest, most beautiful, most mostest mostestest in order for us, in the eyes of others to shine brighter than the sun itself. The difference with animals, such as let’s say, a nice furry little lap dog, is that, they just ARE. In other words, even if they are supposedly lower in the food chain than us super developed highly evolved(?) humans… they have a stronger sense of self. They are what they are. So they do what they have to do. Nothing more nothing less. They’re hungry? They don’t count calories, they just eat… to live. They want to sleep, so what if it’s 2 p.m. in the day, the best time to meet a client, or they go snoring quite happily for everyone to hear. They’re horny? Well…
Maybe I’m being too simplistic and maybe I’m saying we’re not better than animals. Honestly, I am, we’re no better, and neither are we any worse. All I can say is that if we could all greet one another with the same enthusiasm and genuine adoration that our dogs do when we get to see them, we would all feel a lot more loved. Animals express a real interest in their surroundings, and they take great pains to preserve and care for their homes or territories. How long does it take for you to clean your desk or your room? Hmmm. When was the last time you did something that would indirectly or directly affect the state of the world we ALL inhabit. Sure, it’s just ONE cigarette out the window into an already polluted highway, into an already clogged sewerage system. Guess what, you just made yourself part of the problem. There are no excuses.
Having a connection with another form of life gives you the power to heal and be healed. We have to coexist for the balance of life to remain… balanced. We may not be able to speak canine, feline or be a horse whisperer but when we pat our dog and it gleefully flips over in order for a belly rub, we can’t help but laugh and feel a certain level of joy. If you stroke a cat and it starts to purr closing its eyes in an almost meditative trance we strangely feel soothed and relaxed. Seeing the spirit and majesty of a horse as it runs we feel humbled by its awesome beauty and the gracefulness of its gait. These may only be three animals, but they do evoke a reaction do they not? That is something to pay attention to. These animals are a lot wiser than we give them credit.
Of course, I am aware that not everyone has an affinity to the animal kingdom. That’s fine. I am in no way implying that you should substitute human love for animal love, I’m merely suggesting that having a pet can be an elixir and we all need one because, as you know it’s a jungle out there. Maybe the next time you look at that doggie in the window, bear in mind that it is probably looking you in a more objective angle, or better yet, without judgment. How many humans are capable of that?