There I was looking at the blinking cursor on the computer screen. Many are curious as to how I face the various faces of mortality on a regular basis and not get affected in my personal life and philosophy. The truth is I am extremely affected by my service to the dead and the constant reminder that I am just renting time on the globe. I do see life differently than most and I also have my own personal coping mechanisms.
I turned towards the familiar clicking sound on the floor as my dog walked over and looked as studiously at his empty water dish as I did the computer. Occasionally he would look at me and then back his dish. It is a known dog theory that if you look at anything long enough you will get what you want.
With a sigh of exasperation, I went over to his dish, filled it, and replaced it on the stand. My dog’s name is Sherlock. He is a golden doodle although I am not sure he is not a spirit from another realm, placed here by a universal intelligence to keep me sane, allowing me to decompress after another day of death and destruction.
I actually got him with the possibility of being a working cadaver dog but shortly realized it would destroy his gregarious personality. It was soon obvious that he was far more suited as a comfort dog. So many times I would be explaining to families how their loved one died as they were petting or hugging Sherlock. It was as though he knew they need a little therapy and love.
He has turned out to be my constant companion to whom I can relieve my tension and even tell him how interesting or tragic a day had been. It has always been curious to me how dogs have this intimate, familial relationship to man. The science part of me says, “Well of course, they have two sphincters in their rectum so they can be house trained.” That may be one factor but I prefer to think the great reason is a psychological connection. Dogs have a unique capacity of being able to love unconditionally.
He has become so much a part of my life. It reminds me of a poem, Dharma, by Billy Collins, one of America’s greatest poet laureates:
The way the dog trots out the front door