Owner like dog like owner. One of the more positive aspects of living in LA is the dog culture. Dogs are everywhere! And I don’t just mean street dogs or dogs tied up to chains in suburban front yards. I’m talking about allowed-to-sleep-on-the-bed, groomed, and kissed-all-over furry canines.
I feel like my life finally began in LA when I made the radical choice of getting a puppy (radical because I was single at the time, and have since lived in 7 homes in less than the 1.5 years of my little ones life). All of sudden I was welcomed into a warm and decidedly dog hair ridden community which, as I’ve since learnt, is pretty well the best that LA has to offer.
With a dog the world opens up to you. Social guards dissipate and the love flows freely. I get better customer service in clothing stores just by having my furry friend in tow. And at cafes or when strolling down the street, my dog is the ultimate ice-breaker. She provides cute guys with the opportunity to talk to me by offering them a point of focus and (if he’s lucky) a cuddle. I’ve met many great people of all ages and nationalities who are at first drawn to the effervescent purity of my dog, and are then lead to some kind of (often) interesting conversation with me. In fact, that’s what it is—engaging with dogs, and all animals for that matter, is like a spiritual communion. Their purity, their innocence, unconditional love, and perfect lack of self consciousness is a divinity that is almost arresting to us “mind” driven humans. And so like little beacons of light, completely unaware of themselves, these sacred creatures draw us to them, and then consequently to each other.
And so the love flows.
I’ve observed typically cold or withdrawn people suddenly blossom like flowers in fast forward mode at first contact with my dog. In some cases, I’ve had to peel my eyes away from what appears to be a brand new smile spread across their face. In A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle explains how even the coldest person will express a glimmer of warmth when in contact with a flower, a precious stone, a baby, or a bird. I would extend this notion to dogs.
I take my dog everywhere. She’s spent weeks with me in movie set trailers, is often my handbag on a first date, she dutifully attends work meetings, comes clothes, furniture, and flee market shopping, and has been the headliner at many a hipster party. But needless to say, she’s still a dog, and so despite our company or modest surroundings, as if on cue, she’ll casually crouch into “that squatting position” and take a dump, or indiscreetly lick her genitals for 30 minutes, or greet another dog by sniffing its bum. FOR ALL TO SEE. Yes, prospective employer, romantic suitor an’ all! On paper this sounds horribly embarrassing, but in truth it isn’t. Again, its the whole beacon of light, ice-breaker thing. No one can judge a dog for being what it is. Quite the contrary—such doggy displays of animalness more often than not fast tracks my relationship with whoever that person is to an unpretentious place of good humor and ease. Perhaps to reminds us that we’re all animals too.
I’m guessing that by now I may be sounding a little dog crazy. Well I am. And in a beautiful way dogs are also crazy about us. I can’t think of another friend or family member who will forgive my bad moods, dance around me with joy when i come home, incessantly lick my feet, and follow me everywhere like my loyal shadow. I used to be annoyed when she would lay down on my yoga mat when I was stretching or trying to meditate. Now, I just embrace it—every moment with her is a moment closer to perfection.