As I child, I remember the intense longing for a puppy that almost every child feels. As a teenager, I realized quickly that my father’s intense dislike of creatures not of the human species would never allow a dog cat or anything else in the house. As an adult, my husband’s dog quickly learned to channel her frustration at being neglected to my children, and I became my father.
The result, as any yogi or yogini will tell you, is a closed heart. There were my own feelings of frustration at not being in control. Clearly, dogs (and all other living species) seem to have their own personalities and quirks. There are two choices…put up with it – training an animal can change certain behaviors, but not personalities, or choice number two – get rid of the species in question. If one is not inclined to cruelty, sometimes, that isn’t a realistic option. So that leaves put up with it. I did. I grumbled, I yelled, I felt sorry for myself.
Despite a grouchy dog that took every opportunity to terrorize my kids, their desire for that lovable puppy did not disappear. It intensified, if anything, so that they were even willing to challenge themselves to taking care of a now ailing dog that didn’t have the strength to terrorize them anymore.
They got their puppy, and slowly, that puppy won us all over so that now he’s part of our family. But all those days at home alone for him mean we need to get another dog, say the kids. And for my closed heart that is only slowly opening, the decision to get yet one more living responsibility is a difficult one to make.
What we won’t do for our kids, huh? I guess there is nothing. After endless Internet searches, they found another puppy…this time a pit bull mix. Friendly, strong, loving, and energy to light up Manhattan. Did I mention ugly? Unique in her tiger stripes, but not so good for dogs in my opinion, although…she does seem to have an affinity for licking ears, and faces, and the back of the neck, and then suddenly tiring of the whole licking thing and just collpasing on your lap. What? From no dogs, to two dogs…and one of them of the variety that several American governments are trying to outlaw? …and am I considering this? and so I am.
I watch my children unconditionally love every ugly creature that comes along our path – from every creepy centipede that traverses our mudroom, to bear sized dogs and horses that populate our farming community. There is no species that isn’t worth our love and attention…or at the very least our respect for its tiny little soul.
I look in awe at my little children who entered this world with no preconceptions until we beat our own idiosyncrasies into them. I am ashamed to see that while they hold no grudges towards god’s creatures, although one was constantly trying to scare them back into the bathroom with fierce growls, I still do, or did. And I try to justify to myself that as a mother, we tend to be irrationally protective of our young . Heck, if they can move on so can I. They’ve held on to their love for all things furry and cute- and thank goodness. How else would I have opened my heart to the love that my kids have taught me?