When I laugh, especially when I giggle, my dog, Jake (he’s a Blue Heeler/German Shepard mix), gets excited. He jumps and comes over and licks my face, even when I’m laughing at something other than him. He knows giggles mean fun and play and that laughter is happy and good. He gets happy too, wagging his tail, his ears perked up, and his eyes sparkle with what I can only assume is his own laughter. Dogs can’t laugh out loud, but I think they do on the inside.
When I’m sad, my dog, Jake, comes and kisses me by licking my face. When I’m crying, he’s gentle to me, licks me softly, doesn’t jump up on me. He will look at me with sad eyes, his ears slicked back, his tail down. He knows when I’m sad, even when I try to smile and play with him, when I’m sad, he doesn’t perk up to play. He knows.
Emotions are palpable. There is an energy signature attached to them, and I believe some animals, dogs in particular, can pick up on that energy… they just ‘know’. I’m quite intuitive about that energy myself. More on that in a minute.
I remember after the 9/11 disaster at the World Trade Center, they had search and rescue dogs who were getting depressed. Literally. They were sad, tails down, whimpering, lethargic, wouldn’t eat. Why? Because they were only finding dead people. The pet psychologists on the issue told the rescue workers to hide live people in the rubble so the dogs could find the live people and be excited and get loves and pets. This helped the dogs. They perked up again, got some treats, got ‘good boys’ and that made it easier for the dogs to find the dead. Of all the things I remember about 9/11, all the news, all the stories, all the images, this is the one little thing that sticks out the absolute most to me, the one thing I remember hearing about so clearly. Strange how the mind works like that.
Animals are amazing. I love all animals. In fact, I love animals more than I love people most days. I know, that sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But the truth is, animals tend to be very open emotionally. They love you or hate you, unconditionally. You know where you stand with most animals. You can trust them to be animals. Plus, you can whisper your secrets in their ears and they don’t tell anyone, and they don’t judge you for how thin or fat you are, how long your hair is or how big your boobs are, how young or old you are. If you love them, unconditionally, treat them with love and respect, they will give you back the same–whether you’re black, white, Christian, Muslim, rich or poor, (insert any descriptor here) or (insert any other descriptor here).
We all judge. We have to. Our very safety and lives depend on making judgments. How I wish human beings could learn to judge like animals do though. Base your feelings on your gut, the way people treat you, your intuition and emotions. I’ve rarely met an animal who was well loved be wrong about his intuition.
Then again, if the entire world were like this, well, then I guess I wouldn’t have much to write about, since the basis of a good story is conflict. How boring fiction would be if everyone just always lived happily ever after, without any conflict in between. Yet, as enticing as conflict is in fiction, I try to shun it in my personal life. Believe me, readers, I have had my share of conflict in this life. I feel like my ration is full, used up, depleted, whatever. No more, please. Thank you. It’s time to start writing about that conflict instead of living it.
Sometimes, at the end of a long day, a day when the inflammation is bad, the pain is bad, when I’m tired, cranky, frustrated, I sit and try to write. Sometimes, the writing helps. But you know what always helps, every time?
Not only do giggles make me happier almost immediately, but did I mention my dog likes giggles? It will only be a matter of seconds before the big 70 lb beast hops up on the bed and starts hopping around like he only weighs five pounds and starts licking my face and giggling his own doggy giggles with me.
And that’s why I like pets better than humans. Mostly, humans don’t lick my face (mostly). It’s harder to get humans to giggle with me. And it’s really strange to see a grown human hopping around on a bed with a wagging tail. I’m not saying it’s not possible, just that it’s strange when it happens.
Love and stuff,