This is Chloe. Ah Chloe, a little four-pawed, eight pound pug-beagle mix puppy and Dolly, an eleven month pure breed German shepherd live in my neighborhood. Dolly, of course, having slightly larger furry footies than Chloe … and the classic sloped back you’d expect to see coming down off her sleek brown and black back fur. Chloe is just a tiny little ball of energy, teeth, and grr-ness. Just enough to make anyone holding her jealous for more time – once returning her to the ever vigilant rightful owners across the way.
Two canine cuties finding their way around the neighborhood these days – such a welcome relief from the dreary life of literal lassitude we’ve been forced into lately. In a phrase, “puppies make personal spaces better”.
These two happy-enticing hounds have no real sense of their intrinsic value to us. Frolicking about, sniffing and barking, is of no consequence to them. In the moment they live – not worrying about tomorrow’s meal or playtime adventures to come. We are the ones who assign value to them.
There is no higher proof than hearing chit-chatter lexicon with a dog. I’ve witnessed so much effort in sentence structure and subject/verb agreement from sputtering dog non-whisperers to their canine consorts. Deep breaths are sucked in before lengthy, adjective-laden heaps of praise are thrust upon unsuspecting flappy ears having no concept of a dangling modifiers, clitics, or malaphors. We speak words to them they cannot understand because of the expectations we have for them.
I could be accused of such. Mind you, not to any large degree, but on the dial. So goes most of our relationships with nice, little to mid-sized puppies and dogs. Perhaps, if I can be so bold, older fur ball friends as well. For purposes of today, I’m interested only in dogs. No offense to cats, turtles, snakes, fish, gerbils, ferrets, rabbits, iguanas, birds, horses, goats, chickens, pigs, and swans. Pets are pets … I get that.
Their value is what we want them to be. We have expectations they’ll fill our happiness bucket – and they do.
For a seven-times expectation of years, these lap blankets and/or breathing floor rugs are expected to fetch not only the animate, overpriced toys, but also our priceless loneliness and need for companionship.
We need them now more than ever. Human shuffle-alongs are not – for the most part – stepping up and are waaaaay too judgmental these days. Any time spent on Facebook proves my point – perusing posts where spitting social diatribes from friends assault my daily wiener-grilling weary eyes. Three-dimensional conversations are better, but not much so. Letters to the editors, television commentaries, news briefs, on and on …. human to human contacts are becoming increasingly combative and expectantly virally centered. Not all, mind you; However, enough to warrant mention now more than before.
Meanwhile, Chloe chews on a stick. This is expected contentment, happiness, and companionship for some of us when we need it the most.
The “We’re in this together” mantra spreading faster than the virus has, by all ironic accounts, pulled us into our own isolation. Opinions about masking, especially, are driving deep divides into once common waters. “What is a mandate, and what isn’t?” followed by, “Who has the right to enforce it?”, both create waves of opposition as hammers wielded by holier-than-thou opinion whackers pound their theories into social seas of their expected injustices.
It seems there’s no filling a bucket with societal agreement … Even beyond that, I fear we have no clear idea what American ideals, equality, standards, morals, values, and ethics are anymore. Contentment, happiness, and companionship are foreigners … drifting in rough waters off the coast … waiting, once again, for entry into the forgotten Ellis Island of our once accepting land.
We need to stamp their ticket – and soon. Chloe, and her friends, would … without judgement or question. Without anger or retribution on Facebook.
She may even offer them a game of tug-of-war with her favorite stick while waiting in line. I’ve played this fun-frolic fantastic tug-a-long with her little self. After about 5 minutes, she’s done … and moves on to snarling a bit with the grass, or wriggling about around my legs. It’s happiness and companionship overload without any stress.
I walk across the street expecting no less. I may – just may – talk to her using goober words laced with high frequency baby inflections, but will never admit to such.
She has so much value to offer … as do all pets. In these ridiculously riled up times of high anxiety, a portable, possibly petable pet provides plenty of pleasure.
As for Chloe, in about an hour she’ll be out again to smell the newness of the day. Everything, to her, will be fresh, invigorating, and alive. I like that perspective and want some small piece of her life. So, saunter off I’ll go to brush my hands over her puppy fur once more to start my day – that is, if she’ll allow me the pleasure.
She will. Though, she does have a say in the matter. Hopefully I can meet her expectations as well. If her expectant tail wag is seen as I lazily scoot across our soon to be traveled, pre-work day neighborhood road, I’m sure I’ll be welcomed into her grr-ness once more.