I received an email the other day from a close friend. She got a dog. The boys love him. She loves him. He is housebroken and can sit and shake on command. She sent me a picture and he’s huge. I immediately wanted to email her to say how happy I am that she is safe now. She’s a single mother and the thought of that huge dog in her house just made me feel like she is so much safer.
I didn’t write back immediately because I was busy at work and I’m so glad it intervened. After thinking, I realized that it might not be such a good idea to suggest that she was unsafe before. It’s actually a little disrespectful. She’s an adult. She’s tough enough to handle anything that could come her way and how dare I say that she couldn’t make it without a dog. I’m glad that I didn’t get the chance to dash off a response.
Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word ‘safe’ that I wasn’t previously aware of. Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001), Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”
The truth of the matter, though, is that I feel safer with a dog in the house. My dog’s name is Sid. He’s not huge, but he’s a mean sucker when a stranger is in the house. I didn’t realize how much safety I feel comes from having him in the home. I was alone in the house for about fifteen minutes last week. Mike had taken Sid with him to the corner convenience store and it was just me and the cats in the house.
Before they left, the screen door was all that stopped the world from crashing in on us, but it was ok because Sid and Mike were there. After they left, I locked that door up tight. I had been dancing and singing to my older Halloween mix CDs, but all that changed when they left.
Looking at it logically, I am insane. This should be written down in the Book of Life against me. She is insane because she thinks that a 50-pound dog can save her from anything. The truth is, I am never safe. None of us are. The only thing that keeps me safe is that the Victim-to-Psychopath ratio is skewed. If someone really wanted to harm me, there is nothing out there that could stop them. It is only an illusion of safety that keeps any of us from hiding in the mountains with shotguns.
There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else. James Thurber (1894 – 1961), New Yorker, Feb. 4, 1939, “The Fairly Intelligent Fly”
Yet, there is something so secure about a dog. We rescued him from a shelter and took him into our house. In return, he is nice to the cats, barks at other dogs, and protects me from the bad guys (whether they be the movers or the mailman). He is an entirely different species, yet he is willing to stand beside me against the evil. That’s what we’re all looking for: someone to stand with us against the evil.