One of the few first comments Arabs say in Europe is “man, people here love their dogs”.
Well this Arab every day now says “maan I love my dog”.
I always believed dogs are engineered to be friendly and adorable. But all that theoritical knowledge comes nowhere near what it really feels like once you develop this friendship.
This little nugget taught me more about me and my simple humanity more than anything in life so far.
There is nothing like fully unconditional love. The conditionality widely varies of course, your mother will have very few conditions to love you, your father a bit more, your brothers even more, and so the number of conditions increases as you widen the distance of the relationship. But even with that, sadly, some parents are still willing to disown their children over politics or religion. Friends lose friends over anything. It seemed to me that love requires a certain amount of agreement and sameness, at least on the basics of life.
But with dogs, you realize a certain capacity for love you didn’t know you had. I love my dog beyond all these dimensions. It’s not that I love him unconditionally, it’s that this whole concept disappears, and you love your dog using different instruments in your brain. He can bark at random times, be annoying, be tiresome, cost you a ton of money, but you suddenly find it in you to always forgive. Always understand. Always take care. Always smile. And always find the patience.
You find that being smart isn’t always a condition for love, being from the same religion or lack of, culture, or even entire species. You suddenly understand little girls and their love for their stuffed animals. I always find it amusing that Kajtek is the closest Polish creature in my life.
You find that love is much more about you than the other. Much more about forgiveness than agreement. You find yourself investing in a contract that has 50 pages against you and none otherwise; but you sign it again and again before every walk and every meal you give your dog.
I hear spiritual people say “love is the answer” which without fail triggers the nonsense senses. I fully understand what they mean, but always ask “in what world that works?!”
In this world. In this world it totally and easily does.
I take myself much less seriously now. This issue is one of the very issues where my so-called high and low selves are demonstrably merged into one thing that loves Kajtek.
If you can, get yourself a dog.