How many of us can trace back to a pivotal point in their childhood when they realized they were different? Or maybe you felt that everyone else was crazy wrong and you were the sane one? I can clearly remember two situations which have stuck with me throughout life, and reaffirm my belief that I was born an animal lover. (And being raised in a family wild about dogs of course didn’t hurt.)
I was probably six or seven, the age of my boys now, sitting at the dinner table talking about fire safety. I had pasted little safety tips over outlets and switches throughout the house, much to the chagrin of my parents, to show what we were learning in school. My ever-rational father was asking what I would do if there was a fire. I said I would run downstairs, get Tammy (our boxer featured in the lovely early 1970s family portrait), and run outside. “No, you don’t get Tammy, you run outside.” I was dumbfounded.
Leave my dog? are you kidding me? my best friend in the whole world? “No, daddy, I will not leave this house without Tammy!”
“Yes you will, that is not safe! She’s just a dog, you run out of the house first!” This conversation went nowhere except with me wondering why we should leave a dog in a burning house…I can see me having the same discussion with my boys soon, although I will try to be a little more sympathetic and explain that we will TRY to rescue our dogs as we all run out safely together. Yes, I know that sounds unrealistic but if we’re making a plan, I’ll try to make an ideal plan which we of course can amend at the last minute…
Flash forward a few years to my Catholic upbringing in CCD class (aka Sunday school). We were talking about what heaven looks like and I raised my hand and talked about all the animals, especially dogs, that we’d see. My teacher was not happy with me. “No, dogs don’t go to heaven.”
My heart stopped. “What? Why not?”
My teacher emphatically told me “because dogs have no souls.”
The future attorney in me quickly countered. “But if God created us all, I don’t understand why we don’t all go to heaven. MY dog has a soul.” I had to blink back tears. But I was also pissed off at my teacher.
He didn’t have a good answer, but as a ten-year-old girl I felt strongly that I was right. That he had it ALL WRONG. Why was he teaching this class anyways?
Hopefully one day I will prove him right. I just hope he was nice to all the dogs in his life, because I hear karma can be a bitch 🙂