Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dog or Baby… Which Way Do I Go?

I love dogs.

I also love babies.

When I see a dog or a baby, my face lights up brighter than Times Square at night. I am filled with delight, marveling at these tiny creatures. Yes, I know… dogs and babies are different creatures. One is the human kind and one is… well, the furry kind. (NOTE: I’m not completely convinced that dogs aren’t human in their own ways.)

Throughout my life, friends have had to tolerate my compulsion to stop and say hello to every dog or baby I meet in every random place imaginable. Conversations get interrupted; schedules get delayed in my fervor to snuggle up to both of these small wonders. But it wasn’t until my latter years that a friend actually asked me what I would do when faced with the ultimate dilemma… running into a baby AND dog simultaneously. Which one would I go to first? Ummm… I hadn’t thought of that.

It’s almost impossible to say. Babies and dogs both love me. Seriously, they do! When babies see me, it’s like they know I’m a friend. Maybe it’s because being all of five feet tall (on a good day), I’m closer to their size than most adults they encounter. Or maybe it’s because I’m willing to play peek-a-boo with them in the middle of a crowded bathroom or sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, complete with hand movements, in a busy restaurant. I don’t care about looking foolish, and neither do they, and possibly there’s a camaraderie in that. Dunno. But babies truly dig me. They often pull away from their parents so I can scoop them up in my arms. Oops – sorry to all you moms and dads out there. I do not want to run away with your child, I promise. I have enough trouble taking care of myself!

Dogs equally love me. It’s like I speak their language. I can be walking down the street, see a dog, and all I have to say is “Hello, Boo!” and the dog instantly snaps his/her head toward me. Dogs always know I’m talking to them. It’s the most uncanny thing. Years ago, I was running around the Lake in Central Park, and I saw a woman walking a black Lab. Labs are one of my favorite dogs, so it was excruciatingly difficult for me to keep running, but I resisted the urge to stop and simply stated my traditional Hello-Boo-Dog-Greeting and kept going. As I circled back around the Lake, I saw the owner trying to drag the black Lab away. The dog was not budging. No matter what the owner did, the dog would not move. To my surprise, the owner looked in my direction and called out, “I’m really sorry, but my dog won’t leave until you come over and say hello to him.” (You can’t make this stuff up. At least I can’t.) My animal magnetism was so strong, that the dog refused to leave the Lake until he got a piece of me. Remember my post the other week where my friend Drew told me to take the time to stop and smell the flowers? This was one of those times. I don’t remember the dog’s name, but I will never forget that moment. It was beautiful. And simple. And full of love.

And that’s what dogs and babies are to me. Sure, both need me to pick up their poop, clean and feed them, but the love they give me in return is just enormous. Besides love, we are a source of comfort to one another. Dogs and babies let me be the person I am. I don’t need to dress up or put on airs. In fact, such behavior turns them off. Babies and dogs can smell dishonesty like a stinky bathroom. And they don’t like it… anymore than I do.

Over the weekend, I walked a dog I hadn’t seen in a while, and when I came into the apartment, the dog in question (an adorable Cocker Spaniel named Lady) came barreling from the back room to shower me with love. It was amazing. However, there was a new addition to the household—a baby girl named Liliane. I walked in the nursery to meet the baby for the first time and fell instantly in love. She was gurgling and smiling and a bundle of cuteness. I immediately knew we were buddies. Well, Lady was not having it. She started climbing my leg and scratching to get my attention. Since I speak dog, I knew what she was telling me: “Not you too, Dina! You belong to ME!” I felt so conflicted. Lady was my longtime love and Liliane was my new romance. It was bittersweet. Loving these two wonderful beings but knowing one of them was not happy about my love for the other one.

Which leads me back to the question… which way do I go first? Dog or baby? Let’s imagine … I am walking down the street and I see someone with a dog and someone else with a baby. WHAT DO I DO??? Should I run away and ignore them both? How do I choose??? All I can do is hope I am never faced with this situation, but IF I am, I will probably stop dead in my tracks and yell at them both: “I’m sorry, but this human refuses to leave until you come over and say hello to me.” Think it might land me in jail, you say? I don’t know about that. After all, it worked for the black Lab, didn’t it?

No comments:

Post a Comment