“Two Degrees off Center” is a monthly blog by Rich Keys about the personal struggles, issues, and topics that speak to the LDS/LGBT experience. Sometimes it will be serious, sometimes humorous, but will always approach things from a slightly different perspective.
by Rich Keys
(Full disclosure: I grew up allergic to cat hair, so I’m sure there’s a built-in bias in the following article. My apologies to cat lovers everywhere.)
Our world has never been more stressed than it is today. Every day brings a new crisis, whether in politics, or natural disasters, or our personal lives. We wonder how to endure it all. One way seems to be with a pet dog. Adopting a dog from the local shelter is more popular than ever before. The right dog can bring peace and calm and stability into the lives of most people, offering unconditional love in the worst of circumstances.
On a larger scale, more and more service and governmental agencies have seen this too, and are using trained dogs to bring peace to our lives in more creative ways. First, they made the rounds at children’s hospitals helping the young patients endure their latest round of chemo. Then they were found at airports making the three-hour ordeal a little less stressful. Then to schools to help students who survived the latest mass shooting. Then to the aftermath of floods, wildfires, and other disasters to calm victims with a wagging tail and someone to love.
Employers have noticed, too, and many have started Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Some have even allowed them on site on a regular basis, causing morale to go up, stress to go down, and work productivity to improve. I was at my desk one day when the power suddenly went out at all our desks. We looked around and finally realized a dog lying under his master’s desk had rolled over and accidentally pulled out the main power cord. No one got mad or stressed out at him. We loved him too much to do that.
We love dogs like they’re family. Go down the pet aisle in any supermarket, and you’ll find we worry more about what our dog eats than what we do. When you’re separated from Fido during a flood or a wildfire, you won’t stop worrying until you’re together again and you know he’s alright. When a dog gets trapped in the abandoned well, the world stops what they’re doing and watches as first responders work 24/7 to get him out. Even a runaway in the neighborhood creates posters on every power pole, in every store window, and on Nextdoor.
But what if that image was shattered and your life was never the same again? What if you walked in on your dog one day and caught him licking himself…down…there? Of if you looked in your back yard and saw him with the neighbor’s dog…sniffing each other? Or even worse, if the other dog was some stray, running around in the neighborhood with no tag to identify him, and your dog was having…anonymous sniffing with dogs he didn’t even know? Would you go into denial? Or take him to a trainer specializing in conversion therapy for dogs? Would you sit down with him and have “the talk,” ground him for a month, and bring more female dogs around the house and hope for the best?
So if you or someone you know ever finds themselves in that situation, I offer this original poem in the hope it will help this world and the people in it to take a few deep breaths, let go of the fear and stress from their minds and bodies, and get back to the truth that is the love of a dog and why we call him Man’s Best Friend. Maybe an old dog really can teach us new tricks, and we as humans can all learn to get along with each other a little better too.
If Your Dog Were Gay
If your dog were gay, would he still wag his tail when you got home from work?
Would he still jump up and down and dance around when he saw you?
Would he still get excited when he saw you getting his dinner ready, or when you’d throw out the warm, day-old water and replace it with the cool, fresh stuff?
Would he still jump into your car to go somewhere?
Would he still enjoy a walk in the neighborhood with you, not only for the exercise, but just to hang out together?
Would he still enjoy feeling your comfort, warmth, and security?
If your dog were gay, would you still greet him and give him a hug when you got home?
Would you still appreciate him for wanting to be around you, even when you were in a grumpy mood?
Would you keep him?
Would you still protect his sensitive ears from fireworks on the Fourth?
Would you still let your kids play with him?
Would you still let him out at night to take care of business, or let him stay inside on a cold night?
Would you hold and comfort him if he were shivering from fear?
Would you still love him if he came in and jumped on your bed in the morning and woke you up just because he was so happy to see you?
Would you appreciate his undying love and loyalty for you regardless of the circumstances?
If your dog were gay, would you still love him?
If you were gay, would he still love you?
If we were all dogs, would this really be an issue?
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out all posts in the Two Degrees off Center blog series.