We' saw some serious tragedy unfold this past week and, as humans, I think we're all sort of reeling from it, swept up in the raw emotion and, oftentimes, having real difficulty processing the plausibility of it all.
This post isn't about black or white; it isn't about conservatism versus liberalism or how to rid the country of antiquated and perpetuated stereotypes that have been passed down from generation to generation. I obviously have an opinion on all of it (I mean, it's me -- let's not get crazy), but that's not what I'm aching to touch on.
No, what I'm working furiously to wrap my head around is the humanness in all of this. In the responses of others and in the heart-wrenching cries for help and for change that resonate from tragedies like the shooting that happened this past week in Charleston, there's a common thread: the need for kindness, for compassion -- for love.
And I would love to say that as people who all smile and cry in the same language, we're adept and skillful in giving that away in spades, to whatever soul may be grasping at straws for genuine, unconditional love ... even simple kindness. Yes, I would love to say that. But if that were true, well, I more than likely wouldn't be writing this.
Don't worry, I'm getting to the "dog" part of all this. Bear with me.
In the midst of all this sadness, while questioning why, as humans who all desire love, acceptance and happiness, we still hurt one another -- even the ones we do, in fact, love -- I've found myself almost constantly reaching out for Jameson (My dog, not the whiskey. I know, it can get confusing).
Just yesterday, when I left the house to do a few hours of work at my side job, I got to my car and realized I had Jameson's leash in my hand. Needless to say, I did not have Jameson -- he can't really deliver groceries with me. You know, health code violations and all. I took it as a sign from my subconscious; I want my dog around. All the time. Especially right now.
The unconditional love, the almost uncanny reception into my emotions; I can't get that from most human beings. Even the ones who desperately want to love you with all they have, the ones who truly and honestly want to support you when you're utterly destroyed or going through unimaginable loss ... oftentimes, as human beings with their own faults and their own inner turmoils happening, they just can't.
And it's not just on those we ask for support. When massive tragedies happen in our lives or in the world, we ache for understanding. We ask for it. But when it's offered to us, we often resent those doing the extending; 'How could he possibly understand?' sort of thing.
While we don't expect understanding from our dogs -- and maybe that's part of the beauty in the relationship -- they way they love us makes it feel like they do. And that's enough.
So, that brings me back to my original question: Who rescues who?
Someone dropped a six-week-old puppy on the side of the road in Texas. They left him for dead. He was brought into the campaign office, and I took him home. I never thought I'd have a dog at 25, living in an apartment far away from any support system, single. But, I was and I did.
Someone dropped Jameson on the side of the road last October, but everyday people do awful things to dogs. Unimaginable, unspeakable things. Everyday, some person whom we deem wonderful takes dogs, previously unloved and unwanted, home to houses and apartments and duplexes filled to the brim with love. And, yes, those people are wonderful. But who's rescuing who?
Secretly, I think all of us who rescue animals are searching for something. Whether we've been through something tragic or we hate our jobs or we've been deeply hurt or we're simply lonely, we kind of want to be saved. Just a little bit. It's okay to admit it. It doesn't make you weak or lesser-than. It makes you human. In some way, we all want to do the saving, too. So we save the dog.
In reality, though, it's so much more. In the midst of a world of cynicism and shootings and terrorism, we come home, everyday, to wagging tails and wet noses. In the split second you see that excited face waiting to greet you, the sadness and all the wear and tear of the world falls away.
Sure, we give them homes. But they give us back our hearts.