I was struck the other day how much we could all learn from my dog Max and my cat Jasmine. Even though the age-long view of the world is that cats and dogs can’t get along, I can say with certainty that they can, and Max and Jasmine are living proof!
My husband Bill and I adopted Max from a shelter when he was 12 weeks old. What a life-changing experience! He taught us a lot about patience and unequivocal love. I thought at the time that it was a lot like an experience I had as a teenager. My aunt and uncle had a Colombian exchange student living with them, who couldn’t speak English very well. She and I became fast friends, and the language difficulties didn’t create a barrier — on the contrary, they allowed us to enjoy each other’s company for who we were. Of course, each of us helped the other learn the other’s language in time. Living with Max was and still is a lot like that exchange student — we’re both teaching each other how to communicate with each other.
When Jasmine first came to live with us, she was a bit timid about this large, happy dog following her around the house. To get them used to each other, and Max used to the idea that she really could eat by herself without his help, I would have them sit side by side and give them both a treat. At first I did it at the same time, and then as time went on, I would give Jas a treat first (to teach Max patience and that since Jazzy was smaller, she would be fed first). Worked like a charm!
It was also wonderful to watch Max teach Jasmine the “house rules”, and gently chastise her if she did something on the “no-no” list. We are blessed with very intelligent animals, and they learn very quickly.
Our beautiful animals have a wonderful sense of humor, and make us laugh all the time. What a blessing they have been to us.
If only we could get rid of our own prejudices and the ugly thoughts that the world wants us to have for people that “aren’t like us”, maybe the world might just be a kinder and gentle place to live.
Below is some short video clips of Max and Jasmine playing in the snow. I apologize for the bad camera work, but I didn’t want to take my good video camera out in the cold and snow, so I used a terrible hand-held one.