Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Dog and a feeling of family

JayCee was terrified, shaking all over. The bangs had been sudden and loud, close. I couldn’t see the flashes, but they would have been close, too.

JayCee is our Yellow Lab, going on eleven. She is a retired service dog; they have to be retired at ten. We had been asked to take her; interesting animal with an interesting history. I haven’t seen a sense of duty like that since I was beginning to know a Gunny just back from Vietnam.

I was in bed when the early morning storm broke. I don’t know how JayCee woke me up, but she was pushing against the bed and shaking all over. I reached over and put my arm around her and talked to her.

The reality is that we can all get scared, some time, some place, some way. We are all animals, nothing wrong with that. Our problem, on one side of things, is that we can get irritated and judgmental about it; on the other side of it, we can lose our self control in ways that an animal cannot, and we can get dangerous to others and even ourselves.

I am glad JayCee came to me. Beginning younger than a year she had been put in training and then, until ten, doing her duty. She had done her time and I was glad to reach out. Our species have been doing good for one another for a hundred thousand years or so. She can snore, though.

There was, however, a real time to marvel as we lay there in the dark, reaching out, leaning against. There are some relationships you can intellectualize about – well, almost – but there are also dimensions to our senses that are beyond knowing, just there. I know some of what she means to me, and I can guess at some of the things I mean to her, but there is a beyond out there, down there, that I can’t do more than lay a finger on. I know that in some ways it has to do with fears and anxiety.

Some how I also know it is alright to be scared, that I, too, can reach out. In a real sense, we are all family.

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