An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
– Martin Buber
At any given point in the day I can look in the eyes of an animal and see a language like no other. There’s Rocky with drooping almost pathetic eyes that you could get lost in. Tucker’s amber eyes portray a wide eyed innocence you might not expect from a dog so large. For our Sophie there is often hesitancy while with Merlin, a mischievous hint of something other. Regardless, each one conveys a unique history and personality. But common to them all is the unconditional nature of their love.
I remember coming home one day, my husband away for the evening. It had been a particularly rough day at work. I was bone tired. All I wanted to do was vegetate on the couch. After feeding the dogs, who demanded their meal the minute I walked into the kitchen, I started making dinner for myself, which I quickly burned because I got caught up in laundry and forgot to turn on the timer. The doorbell rang and to answer it was to greet a young man trying to sell me magazines. I politely said no and closed the door. If that wasn’t enough, the dogs decided to play, a loud boisterous kind that made it impossible to listen to TV or speak on the phone.
I wanted to scream. I could start work on the budget I needed done for work or I could put on a pair of jeans and t-shirt and walk up the stairs to the garden. I chose the latter. Forget multi-tasking. I wanted time out.
The dogs followed, every last one. I went to the second landing, a favorite spot to watch the sky as it turns pink at sunset. I was lost in thought. I felt a wet thump and looked down to see Rocky resting his chin upon my knee. Sophie plopped herself down at my foot and looked up. Tucker landed comfortably in front of me, like a lion king surveying his land. Merlin placed his paws on the chair arm and leaned into me, making sure I didn’t forget him above all else.
I felt a lot of things all at once. How Tucker always makes me feel safe. How Rocky’s soulful eyes remind me that work can wait; he wants a pet. There’s Sophie’s movement between hesitancy to accept love and her desire to have it fully, an observation that reminds me a little of myself. Merlin, well, his unabashed claim for attention just plain makes me laugh. I guess if we don’t claim our piece of the action, who will right?
It didn’t take long in that collection of successive moments to realize that the rough day could step aside. I sat back, took a deep breath and watched the remainder of the sunset surrounded by animals who were quite satisfied to stick by me until it was time for all of us to come down from the hill. Not a bad life.