PETA Article by Deborah Rosenberg
A few months ago, I went shopping with a friend of mine. It was hot and muggy outside, a typical summer Miami heat wave. There was a lot of traffic that day and it took us longer than expected to arrive to the store. By the time we got there, we were hungry and cranky. It was a Saturday and we would have been much happier at the beach.
When we arrived to the store it was closed! There was a paper clock sign on the door with a note saying “be back in fifteen-minutes.” Are you kidding me? I didn’t even know those signs still existed in major cities like Miami. We waited outside in the heat and no one showed. After a while, we called the number on the note. A guy answered and impatiently said he would be there in 10 minutes. After what seemed an eternity, he shows up with definite “attitude.” It was clearly established by all that no one was in the best of moods.
We finally got into the store and Ricky, the sales guy and I, seemed to be in a battle as to which one of us was going to be more impatient with one another. At one point, I bluntly stated “Ricky, it seems you don’t appreciate us being here and I don’t appreciate it. We could have gone to any other store in town, and yet we are here…blah, blah, blah.” I was acting like a jerk and he as well, was not helping the situation.
After a few minutes, he looked at me and grumbled something about his dog. I stopped in my tracks and said “what about your dog?” He answered, “Do you mind if I go and get my dog. She’s in the car with the AC on, but it would be better for her if I could bring her to the back office. I had to step out to get her some food and thats why I was late.” It was if someone punched me in the stomach. All that angry, ridiculous energy simply left the room. I told him to feel free to bring the dog into the showroom, not to leave her alone in the back office. I began to tell him about my love of animals.
A minute later entered the most beautiful Pitbull-mix named Nala. Ricky proceeded to tell me how she was neglected by a neighbor. He rescued her and was madly in love with her. I spent the rest of my time on the showroom floor with Nala. She was as sweet as one could be and frankly, I didn’t give a darn about shopping. Nala and I were the best of girlfriends and we had a lot of cuddling to do. Nala had me at “woof woof.”
After about an hour of discussing our mutual love for animals, Ricky and I apologized to on another for acting the way we did and gave one another a big hug.
Since then, a few months have passed and Ricky and I have become friends. He is a very special person and I have learned much about him. He is a honest, hardworking young man who cares for his mom and loves his dog.
Sadly, a few months ago Nala became very ill and had to be put down. Ricky and I spoke a lot during this time. He wanted her last days to be pain free and happy. He fed Nala her favorite meal before she was put down. It was, as anyone who has had to put a dog down, a sad and painful decision. Ricky was devastated over her loss.
Recently I called him to talk about a rescue brought in to a shelter that needs a loving owner like Ricky. It looks like he’s going to adopt her. He’s ready for another dog.
If it wasn’t for Nala, Ricky and I would never have become friends. Nala’s presence forced us to “pause” and push the “noise” aside. She gave us the opportunity to see that we not only had a lot in common – our love of animals, but that we found a new friend in one another.
My friend who I was shopping with, you ask? Yes, he placed a big order with Ricky. He said that watching the entire interaction from beginning to end between Ricky and I was one of the funniest things he’d ever witnessed. We went from wanting to strangle one another to hugging and exchanging phone numbers.
The moral of this story – animals teach us to never judge a book by its cover. They bring us together and bring out the best in us. They remind us in their gentle, innocent way, to be kind to one another and most importantly, to love.