Another great lesson from dogs.
Humans understand, if we stop and think about it, that the most powerful force in the world is …. love!
As the American psychiatrist, David Viscott put it, “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”
That’s one reason why dogs are so special to humans. Dogs naturally and easily demonstrate unconditional love which is the highest form of love. Even dogs that have been terribly treated in previous times, if given sufficient space and patience, will let their instinct to love come to the fore.
We have 13 dogs here at home and one of them, Loopy, is a great example of that. Loopy was a Mexican rescue dog that took weeks and weeks before she would even allow one of us to touch her. Food had to be left at a distance. It took nearly a year before I could cuddle her and even longer before we trusted each other sufficient for me to put my face up against the side of her jaw.
Compare that to my German Shepherd, Pharaoh, whom I bought out from England in 2008, who has been loved by me since he was 6 weeks old. He and I trust each other so deeply that we can get up to all sorts of fun things.
For example, a few years ago I was at the private airstrip where I used to keep my Piper Super Cub. It’s a large grass airstrip and while I was pottering around the aircraft, Pharaoh was enjoying the wide open spaces and all the great smells. The plan was to go off for a short flight on this wonderful spring day.
I walked back to the hangar to fetch something just prior to putting Pharaoh in the car for 30 minutes while I did my flight.
Pharaoh, as is his way, must have worked out that he was due to be shut in the car because as I came out of the hangar, Pharaoh was running towards the open cockpit and with one bound had jumped up into the rear passenger seat. Miraculously, as he leapt up, he had placed his feet on the hard wooden edge to the fuselage and not punched a hole through the fabric!
I turned back and grabbed his body harness from the car, walked up to the Super Cub and proceeded to strap him tightly into the rear seat.
There was no way that it would have been safe to fly with him but I was interested to see how he would react to me taxiing around the grass airfield. That’s when his trust towards me paid off.
I started the engine – no reaction at all. Even to the powerful draft coming off the propeller through the open door.
Then I taxied slowly – again no reaction at all. Unless one can count what looked suspiciously like a grin on a dog’s face!
Then I taxied quickly – same result.
Then I lined up at the start of the runway, closed the door, put on full power and let the aircraft accelerate until we just lifted clear of the grass. Almost immediately I closed the throttle, we touched down and slowed to a walking pace and we returned to the hangar. There was no question of us flying even though it looked like it would have been a non-event!
That was one of the many highlights of being Pharaoh’s friend, companion and protector – just as he is towards me. That sort of closeness would have been impossible without huge trust from Pharaoh that I would never do anything to hurt him.
So the moral of this message? That is, that when we love everyone and everything around us, it is reflected back to us – every moment of the day. This allows us to live in a world of mutual trust and reap the rewards of closeness.
We feel the sun from both sides!
By Paul Handover