I can often take for granted the fact that I am privileged enough to live and work with so many dogs. I see it in moments – what it is to be as lucky as I am. I remember a day when I was working at a boarding kennel a decade or so ago and a woman came in asking for directions. She was dressed all in black – black pants, black shirt and a black sweater tied around her shoulders. From her streaked features, it was evident that she had been crying recently. She seemed flushed and almost exasperated, at the same time appearing momentarily off in another world, or for perhaps longer. My boss and I were talking to a new client who had just brought her Scottish terrier, Molly Ann, into the office to visit. The mysterious woman in black came through the doorway with a crumpled piece of paper, asking how to get to some town some miles away. She had just gotten off of the highway assured that her internet directions had led her astray, coming to find out that she had gotten off an exit too soon. As she is receiving this information from my boss she looks down at the dog and myself both sitting on the floor and with her still misty eyes and her far off expression she says softly, “I wish my dogs were here, we left them at home.” Smiling, she seemed to have gotten a momentary glimpse of calm from this short moment within our walls. I don’t think that it was exactly that she wished that her dogs were here, but instead that she herself belonged here with us in this serene atmosphere instead of her present turmoil. Due mainly to the fact that I was not involved in the immediate interaction, I sat and observed the whole situation, knowing that my boss was not detracting as much from the moment as I was. I felt like a fly on the wall in one of those instances that transcends all life and even, in this case, death and is able to lift the human spirit above the immediate circumstances and bring it to some other realm of comfort. A few short breaths in a strange place that you didn’t mean to come to somehow changes your whole day. This is the beauty of dogs.
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