Living with anyone, especially yourself, can be irritating. You have grand illusions about being saintly, or at least perfect, but reality doesn’t seem to work like that.
So you need a sense of humor, especially if you’re living with me. I’m lucky that my two Cavaliers, Murphy and Alki, and Grace the Cat know how to laugh.
I love my kids, my beautiful multi-species family. They are living reminders of what it takes to live the human-animal bond. They love me, or do a really good job of faking it. I appreciate that. Makes me feel good. Illusions and all that. (I mean, really, can all your foibles be loved all the time?)
Sometimes my kids irritate me. They’re not perfect and that can make me impatient. Or at least exasperated. When their bad habits annoy me, they simply annoy me, even though I stop to think that my bad habits annoy them.
Take my Cavalier boy, Alki. He’s slowed down a bit, but he still has a lot of energy—to chase and eat a stick, track gull poop right off the seawall, eat whatever he can as quickly as he can, roll in muck, bark at anything he feels like … and gulp water just before bedtime.
One night I stomped into the kitchen, yelling at him to quit drinking. He finally stopped.
I was annoyed, since this happens almost every night. They need water, but he can overdo it and barf it (I know, I know, don’t preach about this), and it’s just not thinking. (I know he can think, he proves it all day long. He’s also really good at just doing whatever he wants because he doesn’t think hard enough, one of his bad habits.)
So, I was yelling at him to stop. I grumbled, “You just can’t help yourself, can you? You do everything in excess.”
Alki paused to consider that as he walked away from the water bowl. “Well,” he said deliberately. “I don’t get enough to eat.”
I had to laugh. When you can talk with animals and other beings like I can, you’re privileged to hear exactly what they think, and follow the reasoning process. Alki heard me complain about his tendency to do things in excess, and he went right to the heart of the matter: his favorite thing is to eat, and he doesn’t get to eat in excess. Plus he was being cheerful and logical even while being scolded.
How many of us are like that with the humans in our lives? Or our animals?
I had to stop and marvel at the mind in this dog body. The magnificent dog who chose to be part of my family. Even with my faults. Who is more patient with me than I am with him, and is thus a living example of light and love.
Nope, my multi-species family isn’t perfect. Neither am I. The human-animal bond stretches to accommodate that, if we let it. If we listen, we can hear our family, whatever the species, remind us of that. It makes life worth it. And fun.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz