When walking around the neighborhood, it is possible to come across a stray dog. It is easy to know that a dog is a stray because of its demeanor: It usually looks thin with a hunched back and trots along nervously with eyes darting this way and that way. Even when on the move, it is mostly sniffing the ground for any morsels of food and if you look carefully, the snout is coated with a reddish hue from the task of digging into the soil to catch bugs burrowed in the ground. When a stray dog approaches, it will respectfully squeeze itself to the furthest corner available and as a result, usually rubs its body against the fence as it hurries past you. All the while it will attempt to look at inconspicuous as possible, lest it draws attention to itself.
If you see a stray dog in the neighborhood, you might give it a big scare by stamping your feet loudly, and it will yelp wildly and bolt like its tail is on fire. But if you see a stray dog in the neighborhood and whistle gently and rhythmically at it, it will snap from its scared trance and pay attention just for a moment. It will briefly look at you as if distracted by a distance memory of love, which it will hurriedly dismiss, and then continue on its way. If you continue whistling and start snapping your fingers in its direction, once again it will stop and this time, it will pause for a longer period. Its eyes will look at you and you will see the doubt that comes with a life of disillusionment. However that won’t take away the miserably hunched back and neither will it thaw its heart, but there will be a slight glimmer of hope. At this point if you bend down from your hip and continue to whistle and snap your finger while making assuring sounds, the dog will cautiously approach you. You can tell that the animal is torn between the desire of its heart to be loved and the fear of its body being hurt. It will decide to give love a shot, yet once again.
And so the stray dog will reach the extents of your outstretched hands and pause there. It will turn its head all the way down in submission and its tail might still be between its legs. At this point, it leaves it all up to you. What will you do? If you make a step forward and start stroking the top of its head, it will immediately warm up, and will expectantly look up into your eyes. In that single moment, it becomes transformed from a stray with all the experiences of being afraid and hungry to a cute dog that knows what it is like to have a best friend. If you squat and continue to pat its head, rub its neck and comb the fur on its back with your fingers, it will come closer and nuzzle inside your open body. And it will have a dreamy look, with eyes half closed, and you might sense a sadness like none you haven’t experienced before; one that might easily break your heart.
It makes you wonder what it might be like to find yourself in a planet of dog. With no one to take care of you, you would be forced to go into the streets looking for food. Unfortunately, each dog that you see might at best ignore you, otherwise, most would be fierce looking and outright aggressive and would chase after you. You might be tired of running every day, and want to give up, but your hunger would still force you to venture into the cruel world looking for food. When things are hard, you might even find yourself digging for bugs buried in the soil.
But then one day you come across someone who might want to be your friend. And that person would call out to you despite your tattered clothes, and caress and hug you despite all the fleas, lice and ticks that have been so prevalent that you no longer feel their bite. What if on the midst of the catastrophe of your life, someone would remind you of what it feels like to be loved and to be wanted and to be cared for? To be kind even if just for a moment?
When walking around the neighborhood, it is possible to come across a stray dog. Be kind.