Admittedly, I am a cat person. Even though I grew up with a dog companion (Pepper), whom I loved dearly, cats have been closest to me as an adult: Edward for 8 years and Lily for 22. Of course, animals of all kinds touch my heart, and this has become increasingly true as my own awareness has expanded to be able to perceive the intelligence and sensitivity of all living beings on our planet. In my garden, I have sweet and often funny exchanges with birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. A connection and communication beyond words frequently passes between us.
Since I am a gardener, I am outdoors a lot of the time in the spring, summer, and early fall. As I plant and take care of my flowers in the yard, I often see neighbors walking their dogs. All kinds of dogs: labs, Scotties, pit bulls, schnauzers, pugs, huskies, terriers. Some are intent on their “appointed rounds” through the neighborhood, sniffing every tree and bush and not that interested in the occasional human gardener. Others, however, are absolutely thrilled to encounter another human besides the one at the other end of their leash.
Two dogs in particular come to mind: a small white terrier named Honus and a large black lab named Maggie. One morning, as I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds in the front border, I heard a kind of whining panting sound immediately behind me. I turned, and there was Honus, straining to get to me, at the absolute end of his leash, as his person tried to keep him contained. He was still a bit of a puppy then, waggling all over, his eyes sparkling with excitement and the overriding desire to get close enough to greet me with licks and touches. Who could resist such intensely focused friendliness? I immediately fell in love with Honus. Every single time I’ve seen him after that initial encounter, he has behaved exactly the same: so excited to see me, this human crawling around on the ground at his level. He is always stretching to get to me before I hear him, turn around, and then reach out to pet and talk to him. It’s a huge gift that makes me happy all day.