Bridging the Divided

The Gratitude Of Dogs…..

“Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?” – Saint Basil

Gratitude for humans requires a conscious effort, not so with dogs. It makes me question whether or not the human-animal is truly a superior species. We are conditioned to always want more and better, hardly taking time to enjoy what we already have in front of us. 

Dogs are grateful for the smallest of favors. Sometimes when our dogs come in from doing their ‘business’ I give them each a treat. It matters not if I give them treats every time or hit and miss, their gratitude is the same. Each sits at attention, expectantly awaiting the delicious morsel. Dogs enjoy what is in front of them, not looking ahead to the next treat.

Cats, on the other hand, well cats expect treats. We have a cat who loudly and insistently demands treats whenever I step foot into the kitchen. Sophie is a force to be reckoned with, there is no option to ignore her demands. The difference between the canine and feline species in terms of gratitude is pretty clear. Dogs embody the spirit of gratitude, cats believe they are owed. 

Practicing gratitude has become a popular buzz-phrase in the past several years. There are books, movies, even days dedicated to practicing gratitude. We remind children over and over from the time they are toddlers to ‘say thank you’ when offering a cookie or toy, don’t we? The lesson in that is humans do not naturally gravitate toward gratitude. And yet, the supposed lesser creature we know as the dog and to whom God gave Adam dominion, expresses gratitude with no prompting needed. If we aspired to be more like our dogs our world would change for the better…..

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