18 February

Dogs: Our Link To Paradise

by Jon Katz
Our Link To Paradise

The great author Milan Kundera wrote that “dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

Dogs are also our link to spirituality and redemption in times of conflict and unease. They do not belong to the left or the right, they do not post cruel messages of anguish and rage on Facebook, they are not sorry for our less or theirs, they do not belittle us or one another, complain about their lives, blame us or other dogs for their troubles.

Just think about what we can learn from them – acceptance, loyalty, service to others – if only we could open our eyes and ears to them and understand them. In a sense, they are the anti-humans, they are everything we are not, and we of course, are many things they are not.

We have consciences, God help us, we can change our lives, if we don’t always do better, we can become better. I often go out into the woods or the pasture with my dogs and sit with them, and they liberate me from the many failings and agonies of being human.

There are many glorious things about being human, there are many sad and disturbing things about being human. There is nothing disturbing to me about being a dog, they are pure and free to be themselves, even when we try to cast them into versions of us.

Dogs do not speak our language, they do not have our emotions, or worry about death because they know nothing of it. They simply live their lives and when I think of them, and listen to them, I am often led to Eden, I am free of the sad traits of people.

Dogs do not make wars, or seek to conquer the world, or make billions of dollars, or watch cable news and rage on Twitter. They do not argue politics, or even grasp the idea of politics.

I love dogs, they are, in fact, a link to paradise for me I sometimes think they have come her to show us how to live on this earth. They do not have perfect lives, any more than we do, but they love every day of their lives and if we pay attention, they can help us understand how to live.

I am in awe of the good dog’s ability to do nothing it is an integral part of their lives – to simply exist and soak in the world. Think how wonderful a world it would be if human beings learned the art of doing nothing – of not ruining the earth,  harming and dominating one another, equating money with life, building things we don’t need, destroying the lives of animals,  living lives of stress and yearning.

Dogs do not ever lead substitute or hollow lives. They just live. There is a lot of paradise in that.

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