Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pet-Peeve Enlightenment

By Aly Lewis I can’t stand dogs in sweaters. For some reason they freak me out. I don’t know if it’s that they’re usually being lugged around in a small tote bag better fit to transport makeup, not a squirming, usually shaved or at least distressingly groomed, small canine of sorts or if the ‘live simply’ warning light in my head flashes SUPERFLUOUS, SUPERFLUOUS. I mean, they already have fur to keep them warm, why the need to highjack grandma’s knitting skills for such an unworthy, naturally fur-clad cause? But the more I inwardly cringe and wonder, “what are they thinking?,”(they being sweater-sporting pet owners) the more I realize that over-indulging a scrawny pet or two isn’t the end of the world. Maybe I’m the one with the problem. I am so quick to write others off if they don’t fit into my eclectic yet resolute definition of what it means to be cool or sensible, caring or compassionate. I complain about dogs with sweaters, but I find it difficult to even love most people with sweaters. Dressing dogs in sweaters could just be another step in the process of learning what it means to care for creation. For starters, learning to notice the living things around us, and learning to look out for others’ well being over our own—be it canine or otherwise. Certainly, giving human characteristics to an animal is kinder than dehumanizing a person. Maybe this is more of a wakeup call than a pet-peeve (pun intended). An invitation to be a little less cynical and a little more gracious. A little less tongue-in-cheek and a little more sympathetic. And maybe that’s the point. Learning to accept others despite divergences in pet-outfit-preferences. Despite differences. Giving value to creation. Giving value to other people. Loving dogs, loving people. Pending a much-needed attitude change, the next time I see a chic dog donning the season’s most fashionable, I’ll do my best to silence my inner cynic. After all, I’d like to say I’m committed to making this world a more loving, respectful, and just place. A place where dogs, children, and all members of creation are well-fed, well-clothed, and well-cared-for.

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