Do you ever look at your dog and wonder how anyone ever gave you responsibility over such a vibrant creature? I suppose it might be different if you have children. No doubt one’s feelings of overwhelm at the sight of offspring supersede those that bubble up upon gazing at one’s dog.
However, among us childless souls, am I alone in my awe? How am I, an imperfect, at times bewildered and unfinished, adult trusted with the life of a breathing animal? Who decided I was capable?
Sometimes, when I look at Shiva, I can’t help but be stunned that she is still here, still thriving, that I haven’t done anything to screw her up. Well, not too much.
I soak all of her in. Her rough foot pads, her muscled shoulders, her expectant eyes, her folded ears, her sugar-dipped muzzle, and her cold nose. Her teeth are as hard as they are gentle while they brush my fingers, her soft tongue seeking the last trace of peanut butter on my thumb. Our relationship is intimate and yet, I have no idea what goes on in her mind. Why does she trust me so? Why does she tolerate my restriction of her liberty?
These dogs, they are special. They are much wiser, much more enlightened than we will ever be. How did such lowly humans ever get so lucky?