When we moved to Greensboro, NC fifteen years ago I made two good friends both whom happened to be childless dog lovers who paid more attention to their dogs than some people do their children. Without knowing it, they got me thinking about people whose pets seemingly substitute for children. I tried to understand, but couldn’t. Moreover, I didn’t think I’d ever understand how anyone could care so deeply for an animal.
Now, after three years of life with Marleyboy, I’m starting to understand. As a fellow cyclist said a while ago, “Someday I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am.” Most every time I walk in the door, he’s overjoyed to see me, especially if I’m sweaty. His friends never call, he protects us from the evil monsters (or squirrels and birds) lurking in the woods behind our house, and he spares me the cool, often wet slog to retrieve the morning paper. I could go on and on, but the point is, I’ve become one of those “dog people” that used to leave me scratching my head.
This conversion makes me wonder what other changes might occur through still unforeseen life experiences. For example, mountain climbing is fairly popular in the Pacific Northwest, yet despite liking the outdoors and being athletic, I have zero interest in it. But what I’ve learned is I should word that differently. At present, I’m uninterested in mountain climbing. Put differently, there’s a chance I could give it a try, be surprised by how much I like it, and become a mountain climber.
It seems to me if we’re open to new experiences we’re bound to change which is preferable to prematurely ruling out certain thought processes and activities.