Saturday, February 21, 2004

The Human Touch

Kelly walked in through
the front gate with a shoebox. I didn’t wonder what was

“Where did you find them?” I

“I got a call. They were spotted in a
field up there,” she replied, pointing up the hillside.
“There were four but when I got there I could find only
three,” she continued, opening the cardboard box
revealing its contents.

“They may be 2 weeks old,
not more. We’ll have to bottle feed.”

“Why not,"
I teased, "I’ve gotten so used to 2 a.m. feedings that
when we don’t have pups I wake up anyway, heat a bottle,
and drink it myself.”

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Kelly smiled and so began another adventure
in nurturing. That was three months ago. Since then,
their eyes have opened to a world different than they
would have found on the streets, if they had ever opened
their eyes at all. Each morning we put them in bed with
us, hold them, kiss them, and let them kiss us back.
Then, they take their morning nap and go outside into
the garden and play until they tire and collapse in the
grass for lazy sun naps. It is a good life so they say.
And, I believe them.

I’ve often heard that humans
who are held and touched as babies are better adjusted
as adults than those who are left in cribs and nurseries
and daycare centers where there are often too many
children for too few caretakers. I know it is true with
animals. In the last year, Kelly and her "Save A Mexican
Mutt" passion has had more than fifty puppies and dogs
come to us, stay awhile, and then go on to their forever
homes. Some arrive after months on the street or being
caged in shelters and come to us distrustful and afraid.
After experiencing the human touch, most of them come

Yet, those who come off the streets and
out of institutions are never quite the same as Luna,
Zoe, and Zachary, or our other "cardboard box litters."
These three have known nothing except a loving human
touch and they have a special affinity for we humans,
bond tighter, are more protective, and like their human
counterparts may grow up to be better adjusted. We like
to think so.

Luna, Zoe, and Zachary are ready for
forever homes now. I feel like I’ve missed a good deal
of their formative months away handling cases and giving
talks in Denver, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas. That left
the laboring oar to Kelly and I can see she has rowed
the boat well.

Which brings me to the point . . .
If you, or someone you know wants a special companion,
take a look at Luna (solid white) and Zachary. (Zoe is
not pictured but is a spitting image of her brother.) As
I look at them sleeping now, I am reminded how important
credible connections are in our lives and how much
happier we all might be if we could bond to other humans
as easily as we have bonded to these puppies. But it is
understandable. Most of us didn't experience the loving
human touch as much or as often as these pups have.


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