This is a response to the reading for today, which, obviously, I did not do:
It makes sense that if animals talk, we have to listen.
I know this short-haired miniature dachshund named Henry. He has the most soulful, expressive eyes of any animal – or even human – that I’ve ever seen. He looks at me, and my heart melts, and I want to help lessen whatever burdens of the world he’s carrying on his wiener-dog back that isn’t higher than eight inches from the ground. Those dogs seriously need a pair of legs to support the middle of their torsos.
Every time I look at Henry, he seems to want to tell me a story. He knows that I will listen, but he also knows how easily distracted I am. And I can sense the stories he wants to tell are in the form of fables, and they may even have a little bit of biographical intent. Henry knows the ways of the human species, their linear ways of thinking, their superior attitudes, and their utter denseness of judgment in everyday life.
He needs me to hear about the time he talked with the German shepherd neighbor and got his leash caught on her collar. And he’d end his anecdote with, “Now don’t get yourself in trouble with those bigger than you.” Or, there was the time I was dogsitting him, and it was cold outside, but it I had to take him out for a walk. We spent less than two minutes outside; he walked only a tiny stretch of his usual route before turning back toward the apartment. My winter coat kept me comfortable, but when we got back inside, Henry looked at me with doleful eyes, which would have said, if I were worthy to understand his speech, “Don’t ever go out into the cold without your knitted wool sweater.” He’s full of pithy maxims, that one.
I know why he’s so pensive. He and his owner watch a lot of melancholy, British cinema. Furthermore, he’s little. Even though that makes for scrappiness, he has a completely different perspective on the world than the average-sized. I can relate, as I’m not very tall, and my literal and figurative viewpoints of life are not the same as those who are taller.
Animals, so much closer to nature than civilized humans, can get to the heart of problems more quickly; they haven’t lost their instinct. Their solutions are simple, and they make sense. While life does get complicated sometimes, I tend to overlook the most direct approach to resolving conflict or navigating life in general. I’m so fortunate to have a friend like Henry to remind me to broaden my perspective and take deep breaths and learn to let go of what’s less important.
I wonder if Aesop had a short-haired, miniature dachshund.