A few years ago, I had an interaction with a stranger and it’s always stayed with me, so today I’d like to share it.
I use to live in Twin Falls, ID, which, as you might guess by its name, is famous for its twin waterfalls. My family was visiting and we were all at the falls, but my dog refused to go down the metal stairs to the platform that gives the best photo opportunity, so I waited for my family near the top of the stairs. I noticed a man staring at my dog very intently (this was not uncommon; there are few greyhounds in Idaho, it seems) so I asked him if he’d like to pet her. The gentleman didn’t speak or even nod, but he came over and reached out to touch her. Instead of patting her head, or petting her back, he reached under her and put his hand beneath her chest. My dog didn’t seem concerned, so I didn’t say anything, I just told him my dog’s name and that she was a retired racer from Caliente, Mexico, just kind of chatting and being friendly. He didn’t really acknowledge me at all, just kept his hand on her chest.
After a while, the gentleman’s group noticed he was no longer with them and someone came to get him. His companion thanked me for letting him pet my dog and then explained “He likes to feel dogs’ heartbeats.”
This very simple notion just about left me stunned and I think about it still today. How often do we, as humans, look at each other and see only what is different? Whether that’s gender or race, height or weight, education or experience, I feel like most of us see what is different first. Yet this amazing human looked at a dog and saw only what was the same.
We all have a heartbeat.
We are all the same.