Compassion Without Words

A dog has the capacity to sense distress and respond with compassion, without a sound being uttered.

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Picasso stands tall. A German Shepard with a healthy dose of wolf mixed in, he measures six feet from the tip of his nose to the end of his white dusted tail. A child passing on the street one day said to her mother “Look, Mommy! A dog that turned into a horse!” Yet, it is the spectrum of expressions that he conveys in his deep brown eyes and the way he cocks his head, or folds back his ears, or tucks his tail, that sets him apart in my heart.

His usual sleeping place in my former home was in the living room where he could keep one eye open on all entries and exits, while spreading wide on the cool hardwood floor. My bedroom was down the hall.

One night, I had nightmare. Feeling terror, I pulled myself out of the dream and awoke laying on my side, shaken. I opened my eyes. There was Picasso standing at the bedside edge, his eyes looking right into mine – his paw gently placed on top of my palm, as only a dog of his stature could manage. He was quite literally holding my hand. In that instant between the dream and my awakening, he was right there at my side, picking up my dream-state distress on some dimension that is hard to fathom. A sense of peace flooded over me.

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