Monday, August 20, 2012


"It's not about what you wear, it is about what is in the heart." Terry Hershey

And perhaps it is through the eyes that we can see into the heart...where love dwells. 

I received a post, a blog, entitled "What is love?"  The person posting lets his readers know that the definitions found in the dictionary leave something missing ~ "a tender passion for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection and more."  But none of the definitions really meet the criteria I was searching for either.  Until I read further in his post.

"Love is trust, love is pure openness, love is knowing that you offer yourself without any barriers...a total surrender of love." Alexandra Horowitz writes in her book, Inside of a Dog, of the way dogs look at us. Somewhat interested I continued to read.  She talks of a seemingly small difference between wolves and dogs and its remarkable consequences.  "The difference is this: dog look at our eyes."

"Dogs make eye contact with us for information."  They watch our every move and sense our emotions.  Wolves avoid eye contact. In both species eye contact can be a threat.  To stare is to assert authority.

Alexandra continued with, "Dogs look too....they seem to be predisposed to inspect our faces for information, for reassurance, for guidance.  Not only is this pleasing to us...there is a certain satisfaction in gazing deep into a dog's eyes gazing back at yours."

But think of the human species. We pass strangers on the street, in the supermarket, at restaurants and the first thing we do is immediately break eye contact. Interesting! Try it. Try holding eye contact with a complete stranger. It is unnerving! Uncomfortable.
I relate this to the wounded warriors I work with daily with my TADSAW AMBASSADOR THERAPY DOG, Kelsie.  They look at her and no one else in the room.  They find peace there. Solace. No judgment. No questions to answer. 

Yesterday a wounded warrior who had lost both legs and use of one arm told of a question someone asked him.  "So were you injured?" I can't tell you his response, but I feel certain you can guess.  Dogs don't ask such questions.  Perhaps the old adage is correct, "One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of is tongue."

There is a calmness a refreshing peacefulness found in my dog's eyes.  You want to gaze back and stay there for a while just looking at this creature who loves you more than she/he loves herself.  Where else can that be found?  A pure love, a love lacking jealousy, a love that is simple and clean and untarnished and not an exhausting burden.
I ask how often you actually look into the eyes of someone you love, a person, a wife, a husband, or anyone for that matter, and actually look at them with the same kind of love with which you look at your dog.
For me this answers one of the questions I have had regarding the depth of the affection between wounded warrior and dog.  It is easy, it is clean, it is non threatening, it is not asking for anything, it is non judgmental it is love in its purest form, it is about what is in the heart. It is what they need.

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