“No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its friends.” …ACIM
This is a short story about a cat and a dog, and how they moved from fearing one another to loving one another; from distant and separate entities to close friends. It’s fictional, but based on events that are real. At first glance it may seem to be a radical departure from the normal theme of my posts; but actually it’s not. It’s meant to point out how advanced animals are in their ability to accept differences and to love unconditionally. I sometimes think they are far more advanced in this ability – or maybe it should be called, willingness – than we humans are.
The Dog Rescuer
Imagine a little coastal village situated on a clear, deep blue sea, under a cloudless azure blue sky. As you look out over this sea you catch a glimpse of diamond-like flashes of light as the sunlight sparkles off the ripples that a light breeze has coaxed into forming on its surface. As your gaze reaches even farther across the beauty you can see an Island way off in the distance, with snow-capped mountains reaching for the sky – all aglow with reflected sunlight.
In this little village there lives a loving, kind and beautiful lady. I’m going to give this awesome soul a fictitious name; I’m going to call her Sally. She’s not what can be called a well-to-do lady, and her physical resources are limited. But her heart is full of those that aren’t; it’s filled with love and empathy for animals – and these attributes have no limits.
Part of her journey through this physical experience is based on these Divine Attributes. She has made it one of her missions in life to relieve the suffering of as many abandoned dogs as she possibly can. She rescues them off the streets, and then tries to find some dog lovers that will give them good homes. At the time this little story had its beginning, she had approximately thirty that she needed to find homes for.
Enter Jim and Jane
Jim and Jane are, like Sally, fictitious characters, but are based on real people. As the great American writer, Richard Back, once said: “If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.”
In their little village Sally and her partner operate a mom-and-pop size business catering, in part, to RVers. They sell propane and water, which are necessary components of a RV’s payload. Jim and Jane were touring the coast in their RV, and as fortune would have it, were low on both of these commodities. As they followed the main road through this little village there suddenly appeared a rustic, home-made wooden sign, which read, Propane & Water 4 Sale. Jane was sitting in the passenger seat. and didn’t need to pay as much attention to the driving as Jim did. She saw it first.
“There’s a sign ahead, on the left, offering propane and water for sale;” she said with relief in her voice. She didn’t want to run out of these commodities any more than Jim did.
“Where? ‘K, I see it now. We’ll pull in and fill ‘er up. Time for a break anyway.” There was a hint of relief in Jim’s voice also.
There was no store, simply some propane tanks and a light truck with a water tank on the back, parked in front of the house. And a pack of happy dogs, of all colours and sizes, jumping and yapping, letting the world know how grateful they were to be here. As the RV pulled to a dusty stop in the graveled parking lot the door of the house opened wide. Sally appeared in the doorway, holding a small bundle of fur with big round eyes and large ears, in her arms.
“Hello,” she smiled, “can I help you?” She walked toward the RV as she looked at the yapping dogs, and shouted a sharp and commanding, “QUIET” at the joyful pack. The yapping ceased immediately, and all the dogs laid down, panting and peering through inquisitive eyes.
“They’re really obedient,” Jim observed through the RV window. “Can we get our propane and water tanks topped up?”
Before she could reply, Jane, who is the most devoted to loving animals, interjected. “Oh what a cute little puppy. Oh he’s so adorable; what’s his name?” She was referring to the puppy Sally was still holding in her arms. She didn’t realize, as yet, that Sally was carrying the puppy for this very reason. She knew how cute he was, but she also needed to find him a home. She wanted the occupants of the RV to see him up close. By now Jane was out of the RV and hurrying around to the drivers side where Sally was standing. She wanted to brush and cuddle Sally’s puppy, and had forgotten all about the water and propane.
“You like him?” Sally was looking into Jane’s eyes, and already knew that Billy had found his new home.
“Oh yes, he’s so cute! Can I hold him?”
“Sure. His name’s Billy.” Sally handed the small bundle of fur with the large round eyes and big ears over to Jane. “You like him; you can have him. He’s looking for a good home.”
“No, no, we can’t take him. We don’t want another dog.” Jim was thinking about their last dog and companion of sixteen years, which they had lost just a few months ago. No, we don’t want another dog just yet.” He repeated his objection. But in his heart he knew that neither Billy, Sally nor Jane was listening.
It took a little more than an hour for Sally’s Partner to get their tanks topped up. During which time Jane kept carrying Billy around and talking to Sally and him. She and Billy were already forming a bond with each other. As Jim watched her he began to realize that unless Billy was a passenger in the RV when it pulled out, it was going to be a quiet drive for him.
The tanks were full and Sally expressed her thanks and appreciation to him as he paid her; then asked, “You like the puppy?” She looked at him with beautiful sad eyes.
“Well aaah… yeah, he’s cute.”
“He’d be great company on your trips, and he needs a good home. He’s had all his needles; he’s ready to leave when you are.” Her liquid brown eyes were begging him.
Jane and Billy joined them. “Oh Jim. He’s co cute; we should take him with us. Please!?” Jim glanced at her, and saw the pleading in her eyes.
He then looked at Billy, and wasn’t quite sure of what he saw in his eyes. He couldn’t tell if it was fear of leaving or fear of staying. Then again, maybe it wasn’t fear but uncertainty. He made his decision. “Well Billy, I guess you’re goin’ RVing ol’ boy.”
As the RV pulled away from the graveled parking lot it stirred up some dust. Jim glanced in the drivers side mirror. He saw Sally waving and smiling delightfully. He tooted the horn and waved as she disappeared into the dusty distance.
Billy, being the loving and accepting being he is, soon made himself at home. He quickly became a family member and a great RVing companion. Everything was going to his liking, until one day four years later, and three thousand kilometers from the little village, a bump appeared in his road.
It was a quaint and inviting little town so Jim and Jane decided to park the RV and embark on a leisurely stroll of exploration. As they made their way along the street, which was teeming with tourists looking to part with their money, Jane spied a Gift Shop that captured her interest. “Oh look Jim. Look at that sweet little Gift Shop. I think I’d like to go in and have a look around.”
Jim followed her gaze and found it. But it didn’t interest him. “You go. I’ll just mosey along, and meet you back here in, let’s say; an hour?”
“Okay.” Jane disappeared into the Gift Shop.
The hour passed quickly, and as the meeting place drew near, Jim saw Jane pacing back and forth outside the shop. That’s odd, he thought. She usually stays in a Gift Shop more than an hour. And then she recognized him and hurried to meet him. He could tell that she was impatient and excited at the same time. “Did you find something you like?” He asked.
“Oh Jim; you know how much I would like to have a cat; right? The lady that runs the Gift Shop rescues cats. She has the most adorable little kitten, and she said I could have her.”
Jim’s spirit took a nosedive. He didn’t want a cat. They had Billy, and as far as he was concerned that was enough. “We don’t want a cat right now,” he protested. But he already knew the battle was lost, and, starting today, their RVing contingent was going to include a cat.
“Come see. Oh, she’s so cute; just the kind of kitten I’ve been looking for.” Jane was on her way back into the shop. “Come see.” she called again, this time over her shoulder. Jim very reluctantly followed her into the shop. “She’s over here; outside,” she said excitedly. He looked and she was walking toward an open door that led out to a back yard.
Jim followed her out into the sunshine, and saw fifteen or twenty cats of different colours and sizes. They were in wire cages, but shaded, and looked happy and contented. There was a lot of purring and playful meowing sounds filling the airwaves. “This is her,” Jane reached into one of the cages and lifted what looked like a ball of light gray fur with dark stripes, curious eyes and a tail, into her arms. “Oh she’s so cute! Don’t you think so, Jim?”
Jim had to admit to himself that Jane was right on the cute part. “Yeah she is,” he said. Then he spoke to the kitten, “Guess you’re going RVing little kitty.” Then to Jane, “I’ll wait for you two outside.”
About an hour later Jane walked toward the RV carrying a cat carrier, which contained the kitty, and a bag, which contained some kitty food. She opened the door and placed the carrier inside on the floor before she stepped in. Billy carefully approached the carrier sniffing the air as he did so. When he put his nose up to the wire the kitten arched its back and hissed at him. He quickly jumped back a few feet and just sat there wondering what was going on.
After a half hour or so on the road, Jane said, “I think I’ll let the kitten out of the carrier and see how she does.” Jim nodded his approval. She opened the carrier door and lifted the kitten out and held her for a minute or so. Billy just kept staring at this new arrival that seemed to be taking all the attention away from him. He was looking more and more depressed as time went on.
Jane put the kitten down on the floor. She just sat there examining her new surroundings with those curious green eyes. Billy very carefully edged a bit closer sniffing the air. Then the kitten stood up, arched its back and hissed at him. He scrambled away in a hurry, ran under the table, and began the most human sounding crying ever to come from a dog. He just laid there and cried like a baby. He was certain that he was being replaced, and was about to lose his home of four years.
But after just a couple days he realized that wasn’t the case. The kitten ceased arching its back and hissing, and they began playing together. They soon looked beyond their differences, and became loving and inseparable friends.
Why I wrote this post
I keep asking myself, why am I writing this post; it seems to be such a radical departure from the theme of the others? But I’ve already answered that question in my opening paragraph. It’s meant to point out how advanced animals are in their ability to accept differences and to love unconditionally. I think we humans could learn a lot about letting go of judgement by observing our four-legged friends.
I’m going to close this post with this from A Course in Miracles: “Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.”
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