Exposure 1: A vulnerable baby’s openness, innocence, and sense of security.
Exposure 2: A vulnerable dog’s wisdom, patience, and sense of service.

I have had dogs in my life since my earliest memories at 3 years old. That is true except for when I was in college or lived overseas. I have so many stories of how these brilliant, highly aware, and caring beings’ love has been transformational in my life. Here’s just one.

I found Rosie at a humane society shelter when she was about a year old. It wasn’t clear whether she had been lost or abandoned so I had to wait an agonizing number of days to make sure an owner did not claim her – though had that happened I would have been sad but I also would have understood for sure. She was special.

We bonded quickly and deeply. A year later, when I left for Peru to adopt Michael, I thought I would be gone for a couple of weeks. However, because of hefty legal and political issues, that couple of weeks turned into several months.

At that time, Rosie and I lived in the woods about an hour outside of the city. While I was gone, she was cared for by our next door neighbors. As Michael and I were finally on our way home, I felt anxious and vulnerable and I did my best to prepare myself for the possibility that, after so long, Rosie might now have become our neighbor’s dog. Or, if she still was my dog, that she might not bond with Michael. When we drove up to the house, Rosie was at the door waiting to greet us. How did she know we were arriving home? It wasn’t even my car. Mystery. Our home was still her home. 

After seeing that she was okay with and, in fact interested in Michael, I put him on a blanket on our large kitchen floor. He was several months old at the time. She stayed at the perimeter of the blanket on the north. Then she moved to the east, the south, and then the west. Finally, she joined him on the blanket. And that was that. (Somewhere in a box, I have photos to prove each move she made.)

She took on the role of second mother and protector. I was so touched! That’s when I became certain that our beloved pets are so very intelligent and compassionate. They are angels in animal bodies here to teach us about unconditional love.

Blessed partnership!

Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence.
We need each other, 
and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.
~ Erik Erikson

Photo by Barbara