Hiking with my dogs on a beautiful lakeside trail a young family approaches from around a bend. The mother carries her baby in her back pack. A young boy, probably eight, is by her side. Holding her fathers hand is a little girl, maybe four years old. My three friendly dogs trail behind me sniffing tall grasses and vibrant yellow mustard flowers off the beaten trail. I smile as we get closer and the little boy gestures towards my dogs, offering a friendly greeting.
“Hi doggies! Come here doggies!” He slaps his hand on his thigh and attempts a whistle.
My dogs trot up for a friendly hello, of course.
The mother promptly says in a severely stern voice that stuns me,”You KNOW we don’t talk to dogs. They are NOT people!” She grabs his elbow and pulls him along. “Keep walking!” They pass me quickly, the little boy turns his head back, not smiling.
Whaaat? I thought. You know we don’t talk to dogs? They are not people? This feels sad to me. That little boy, along with his brother and sister are conditioned to fear dogs by his parents own set of beliefs and fears that will influence his relationship with all animals. Will he ever understand this dynamic? That his parents are teaching him to be afraid?
Animals communicate all the time. They just don’t talk. As human beings we talk too much and listen too little.
We have much to learn from our animal friends. They are essential to our environment and to our planet. They balance out this crazy world.
I wonder if we human beings will ever re-capture this seemingly lost universal language we share with all living Beings. I hope so. It will be a new world then.
One of our favorite trails along a pristine lake.