Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dog love.


"If you are a dog lover, a true dog lover, and not just one who sees them as pets or animals, but are instead one who sees them as one's dear companions, and more than companions -- sees them as perhaps being but a step or two down the species ladder from humankind, not sharing human exceptionalism but not an abyss below it, either -- you watch them different from the way other people watch them, with a respect for their born dignity, with a recognition of their capacity to know joy and suffer melancholy, with the certainty that they suspect the tyranny of time even if they don't fully understand the cruelty of it, that they are not, as self-blinded experts contend, unaware of their own mortality.
If you watch them with this heightened perception, from this more generous perspective, as Amy had long watched them, you see a remarkable complexity in each dog's personality, and individualism uncannily human in its refinement, though with none of the worst human faults. You see an intelligence and a fundamental ability to reason that sometimes can take your breath away.
And on occasion, when you're not being in the least sentimental, when you're in too skeptical a mood to ascribe to dogs any human qualities they do not posses, you will nevertheless perceive in them that singular yearning that is common to every human heart, even to those who claim to live a faithless existence. For dogs see mystery in the world, in us and in themselves and in all things, and are at key moments particularly alert to it, and more than usually curious."
-- The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

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