My brother sent me an email with this quote attributed to Anatole France — “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened,” along with a series of adorable animal photos including the one above.
I can vouch for the quote! I always liked animals, but had not loved one since a preschooler, until a year after we adopted our first dog in 1979. It took me a year to fall in love with Blackberry. She nipped at our toddler son as they chased each other so that the hems of all his trousers were tattered, she dug in the yard, she ruined my macrame plant holder, she was a nuisance. Then late one night, when my husband was still at a late church board meeting, someone pounded on the front door demanding entrance. The front door did not have a peephole. I asked who was there. “Bob. Let me in!” I had to yell above Blackberry’s vicious barks, “I don’t know a Bob.” The man banged on the door and tried to open it, as Blackberry jumped and banged against the door also. The man left, and I am sure it was Blackberry who saved me. I started kissing her that night!
Prior to that night, I enjoyed visiting zoos, but once I saw an animal for a minute or two, I was ready to move on to the next. My husband liked watching each new animal for many minutes. Until after Blackberry won my heart. I was surprised how loving an animal changed me as a person. Appreciating animals of all kinds was a new found joy.
An internet tale relates a family made the decision to put their sick dog down and allowed their six year old son to be present. As the parents and vet discussed the sadness of a dog’s short life span, the boy pipped up, “I know why! People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice. Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Also from the internet: if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- Take naps.
- Stretch before rising.
- Run, romp, and play daily.
- Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Be loyal.
- Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Make it a good day!