For the past couple of days, Mr. Universe and I have taken Sheba to the dog park in the neighborhood. It’s an old school with fenced in grounds…an awesome location…just a couple of blocks away.
Not only is it great exercise for Sheba but it’s been fascinating to watch her interact with other dogs. It appears that both days we arrived a little late…with the majority of dogs already there and playing. Most knew each other from prior play dates, so when Sheba rounded the corner she was greeted by smiling (panting) faces.
The dogs stood at attention…alert yet welcoming…as Sheba sauntered over. Without missing a beat, everyone begin smelling everyone else…sniffing…bumping into each other. And then just like that, they were off and running. Paling around like long lost friends.
It’s pretty cool to watch how seamlessly the pack integrates their newest member and the order that exists. You never see another dog run off from the pack because a new…cute…puppy has joined in the mix. You don’t see the pack turn their back on a new candidate nor run over to the other side of the park and huddle together…pointing…whispering.
No, you see smiles…wagging tails…slobber. You see dogs jumping on…over…around each other. Chasing each other. Bear hugging one another to the ground. You see what it’s like for a stranger to be immediately accepted…and it’s heartwarming.
It got me wondering why humans don’t interact like this. I mean, sure, some do…but for the most part, we tend to size each other up. Before we decide to welcome someone new into our group, we look for someone in our clique to vouch for them…or to understand what they bring to the table.
Does the new person have the same interests as us? What do they do? Where did they go to school? Where are they from? I used to think of these questions as small talk…as a way to get to know someone, but I’ve been in one too many situations where I’ve finally realized that it’s kinda like smelling my butt…and then judging it. It’s a way to determine if I’m worth getting to know…worth running around with…worth including in the pack.
Wonder what life would be like if we treated each other more like dogs… If we happily welcomed new members into our social circle… If we were more inclusive than exclusive… Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Here’s to running with the pack…