Old Dogs

Hiding pain

Here’s the thing all dog owners know: When your dog no longer wants to take walks, something’s wrong. Really, seriously wrong.

All animals hide pain as long as they can, instinctively, because to do otherwise is to expose weakness, which could lead to attack.

Weakness revealed is a threat to survival in nature.

I think it’s easy to forget we humans are animals too.

And while we no longer hide physical weakness in our “civilized” surroundings, many of the faces you encounter today mask emotional pain that is just as existential.

Broken hearts, unhealed.

Guilt and regret over words spoken in anger and pain, or words left unsaid, love and forgiveness unspoken, until it’s too late.

Grief so deep, it seems bottomless.

A sense of worthlessness impossible for most of us to imagine, psychic wounds inflicted so early and so often, the scars cannot be erased.

So, today, try to look behind the mask on the faces that cross your path.

Try to recognize pain disguised as anger, or aloofness, or simple rudeness.

Try to treat them with the same tenderness you would extend to your dog.

Be human. Be kind.

For our journey is long and often hard, and none of us want to take it alone.