When I was growing up, my family were not great animal lovers. Though they appreciated the beauties of nature, nature belonged in the park and forest reserve and certainly not in the house. So my unending desire for a dog was a strange and incomprehensible idea to them, and I never really managed to fulfill my desires while I was living at home.
But one of the first things I did when I left home and got my own place was to get a dog. And I have never since been without one, and usually it has been many. Over the years I have discovered that I prefer spending most of my time with them, rather than with other people…
I don’t have anything against humans. I am not one of these people who uses dogs as a substitute child or in place of a family. I have a family, a daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, and enjoy spending time with them. I brag about my grandchildren like any proud grandmother – to my surprise, as I never expected that I would be one of those! But I always go home to my own quiet time with my dogs.
The dog is the only animal that, for whatever strange reasons he may have, chooses to be with us rather than with his own kind. A dog will gladly leave playtime with his four footed friends to come inside with his people. Considering how people often treat them, it is really amazing – dogs usually get much more respect from other dogs than they get from us. We people use them as toys, as dolls, as substitute babies, as status symbols, and at times as a target for our frustrations, rages, instable and inhuman and inhumane behaviors. And the dogs still choose to be with us!
They look up at us with adoration, even when we very well know that it is not deserved. They are always ready to accompany us anywhere, and will conquer their justifiable fears of artifacts of the modern world to be with us. They are never too tired to go for a walk, a ride, a visit, and are willing to give all that up in a flash if what we decide that we want is to sit in front of the television.
I can tell my dogs anything. They listen and they don’t criticize, or tell me that I could have done that better. I can cry, and they don’t tell me to get a grip, they simply lick my tears. When I am depressed, they clown, and their persistence pays off - eventually they do make me laugh. They are never indifferent when I come home – it may have been no more than going to the neighbor’s for five minutes, but they are thrilled to see me come back.
I talk to Habibi and he always listens. He usually has very intelligent and considered responses, and if he doesn’t, he has the sense to keep quiet. But ignoring him is not an option – he is there, he is my companion in everything, and a wet nose or insistent paw are always there to remind me I am not alone.
The question is never “Why a dog?”, it is “Why on earth not a dog?!!”