Should We Treat The People We Love Like Dogs?
In a society that seems to have given up on long term relationship, we've lost our desire to make things last. Most of us consider our current love to be Mr or Mrs right now versus Mr or Mrs right, and dispose of the relationship at the first signs of irritation.
Our patience has been groomed out of us by a culture that promises someone new just around the next corner. We bail on our jobs in search of something better, break our relationships in hopes of someone easier, and seek out instant gratification in our free time– yet there's still one area of life in which we're loyal, and that loyalty is to our pets.
My own best friend can drive me bonkers talking in circles around me, but when my dog goes ape sh*t crazy at the front window when a poodle walks by, I find myself unfazed.
My ex would leave me livid showing up the door 30 minutes late for dinner, yet my cat could throw up repeatedly and I’d patiently clean it up without so much as a word.
I see these patterns everywhere. We lose patience with their children and co-workers, yet calmly accept the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic behavior or our pets.
So where’s the disconnect? Do we love our pets more than the people in our life?
Of course not.
I’m convinced the incredible love we feel for our dogs, cats, horses, and in fact all of our pets, comes from the knowing that we won't have them in our lives forever. It’s a very limited time our paths are actually joined together – if we're lucky a dog can live to be 14, a cat maybe 20, and because of this, every single day, every moment, is a gift.
They eat our shoes, mess up our homes and monopolize our time when we're pulled in other directions, yet we love them anyways and instantly forgive them despite their many imperfections.
So why are there different rules between species?
There’s no doubt our pets love us unconditionally, while family and friends often play human games with love. Humans seem to love us when we're good and in turn, we love them when we deem their treatment of us kind or their behavior worthy of our attention.
But our pets? We forgive immediately, give affection endlessly, and grant loyalty regardless of their behavior on a daily basis. We love them regardless.
Humans? We love them when they make us happy and when they don't we start to make a case against them.
Is it because we know our time is so limited with our pets?
We don't worry that we'll have to put up with our pets behavior for the rest of our life because we know our time with them is precious and limited. With humans, we assume they're going to be around for a long while; but can we be so sure?
What if today, we decided to love the people in our lives the way we love our pets? What if we remembered that one day, they too will no longer be here with us?
Perhaps we could keep in mind that everything driving us nuts about them will one day be a distant memory. One day we might find ourselves actually longing to hear them talk circles around us one last time, or experience opening the door to their tardy face just one more time, no matter how late they arrive.
Yes, I'm pretty sure that’s the way to do it.
Listen to your parent’s lecture as if it's the last one you'll ever hear from them in this lifetime, clean up your partner’s dishes as though it’s the last dish they will eat from, and when family arguments ensue, remember that one day believe it or not, you will miss the sound of their voices.
The secret to love? Let’s treat them all like dogs.