My dad shared with me a beautiful quote today: “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.”
So true. Most of my friends have animals in their lives–whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, or even backyard birds–and love them passionately. Although many fine people do not have a pet, I do tend to bond more quickly with those who do or have had an animal once in their lives. With two very furry American Eskimos–one of whom is now permanently napping in our backyard, alas–being part of our family for so long I did notice a definite change in the types of friends we kept. Those who didn’t mind a little dog hair on their pants, or in some cases, in their salad. Those who didn’t mind sharing the sofa with a dog who was already there. Those who didn’t mind a temporary lull in our conversation as I said, “Pardon me for a moment, while I wipe up the piddle on the floor….” And these were the very first of our crowd to comfort me when we had to put our beloved Milo to sleep.
The rest of our friends retreated to the fringes of our lives, where Christmas cards are exchanged and Facebook does the heavy lifting, allowing us the fiction of an enduring friendship. It’s not that we’re not friends, it’s just that, well, I wonder if some part of their soul needs to be awakened. Because as we pet lovers know, it’s a incredible journey laced with equal parts joy and heartbreak and when you join the “team,” there’s absolutely no going back.