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Jan 14 / Laurie Northrup

What we bark about when we bark about love

I had a dream recently about animals. That isn’t unusual. This dream was based on the legend that animals can talk, once a year, at midnight on Christmas. The variation on this that my subconscious created was that for one minute, once a year or once a lifetime (it wasn’t clear), we and our pets could sit together, communicate in the same language, and understand each other.

What would we say? Would it be expressions of love? Requests to please not claw the furniture? Demands for better food?

In the dream, I was using my minute to say my last goodbye to Maggie. “I hope we see each other again, but I know We probably won’t.” I told her, stroking her head as she twitched her tail stump a bit, too weak to do anything else. All she could do was rest and love.

This is what I said in real life, too. And she may have licked my nose and gazed at me adoringly.

In the dream, when I explained how she was the best friend I had ever had and that Zoe was not her replacement, she understood every word I was saying. In real life, to Maggie it was all white noise in a soft voice while that girl who visited every once in a while stroked her fur. She died the next day, after I left.

I have shared my life with animals, wondering whether they understand me beyond words, or whether we’ve managed to communicate at all.

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  1. irisira / Jan 14 2013

    I think perhaps it is somewhere in between. Max always seemed to understand that when I brought someone new home to meet him (2 or 4 legged), it was someone who was important to me. It was clear he liked some more than others, but he warmed to them nonetheless because, in his mind, they belonged to me and therefore they belonged to him.

    When I said goodbye to him 2 weeks ago, he could barely move off the floor and was unable to wag his tail, but he was happy to see me. I cuddled him, I told him I loved him, I kissed his head. I know he knew Finnegan was merely an addition to the family, not a replacement, and he treated him as such.

    Even if he didn’t know all that, I know he knew that we loved him.

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