A post for Vaish, lover of dogs, sharer of dog books, who remembers to remember people. These "dog posts" were written long ago, in another life. Though I am a cat person, technically speaking, I smile at dogs, and they smile back. What more can one ask. Animals usually trust me at the first meeting, except for that one cow that chased me way back in my childhood, when I walked across its rope. Must've been some kind of bovine superstition at play, what do we know of their world.
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Dogs are such nice people. When you talk to them, they listen to you with such complete rapt attention without missing a single word as if you were the Great Dog in the Sky, and then they smile and wag their tails to let you know that Yes, I sympathize with everything you have to say, if it's important to you, it is important to me, I will not look away bored or change the topic or do anything that might hurt you, so go ahead and say everything you have to say, I am Right Here, I am With You, and I Love You.
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Going for a walk with a dog, unleashed. He runs ahead of you smelling, exploring, marking. Far ahead of you. You are alone, yet not.
Narrow country road, deserted hillsides once again being reclaimed by the night. There's just you, and somewhere ahead, a dog. You stop to hear a stream gurgle under a small bridge. And when you want to return, you shout out to him. He's gone ahead the bend in the road. And he pretends to not hear you.
So you turn back and start walking. Like a lightning shot, he's turned back and run far ahead of you. And he stops to pant and look back at you. And then again you lose him in his explorations among the tall grass and the trees. And when you finally turn in towards the house, you think you have lost him. But he comes in from among the grass, covered with seeds, happy, smiling.
He runs ahead to the house. He is there first. When you turn into the verandah, he's there, panting, with that smug look on his face - "Look, she's coming home so late."
And you still want to hug him.
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One morning while driving down the busy road from Mekhri Circle, you see this man on a bike moving very slowly in the fast-moving traffic. Then you notice the tiny little stray puppy running between him and the road divider. The man was purposely riding slowly shielding the puppy and preventing him from moving left into the traffic where he would be crushed to death without a doubt.
And the puppy unaware of danger so close at hand was happily running a marathon in the straight line he was forced to run in, once in a while turning to look at this funny guy keeping pace with him, smiling, with that bungling innocence of all small animals.
"There is more to admire in people than to despise". So says the character of Bernard Rieux in Camus' "Plague", after 9 months in a plague-ravaged city. (A novel you had the good fortune of teaching for 3 years, a life-changing experience.)
Goodness is all around us, though it rarely makes it to newspaper headlines.