I'm sure you've read the articles. Pets help children physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
It all rings true to me. But I'm most fascinated in what my dog is non-verbally teaching my son.
Follow me, I will show you how to expend your energy. It doesn't matter how we look. We will be so engrossed in the moment that we will become unaware of our appearances.
I am an animal, and I know how to be joyously reckless. Watch me fly.
Now you try.
Sometimes we'll run along together, perfectly in sync with each other's pace.
Sometimes we will be going different ways, and maybe we won't understand each other much on those days.
But we will find common ground, and we will reconnect.
I can sense your mood, thoughts, and impending movements. Sit with me awhile and see if you can do the same. We are not so different.
It's really okay to fall down. I do it all the time. But as a dog I never bemoan the fact that it happened. I jump up so quickly that it might never have been.
That's it. Back up you go.
Now keep playing. Always keep playing with me.
I will let you catch me sometimes
But if you want my ball, you will have to work hard for it. Dropping it at your feet would teach you nothing of hard work.
Run with me until it's too dark to see, until we both collapse in the scratchy grass.
Dogs know nothing of favorite movies or video games.
They know that birds are fun to chase, and that people need a lot of kisses.
All they need is a ball and an open backyard.
And always they remind us to be gentle and humane, playful and happy, serene and absorbing,
forgiving and open.
These are the things I want my son to know, too.