Puppies for World Peace – a Proposal

"Stella" courtesy of The Animal Orphanage of Voorhees in Voorhees, NJ

This is a rewrite of a blog I wrote about 3 years ago.  I just felt it was timely again.

Recently, my husband and I took the step of ditching our regular TV provider.  We now get our boob tube entertainment via the internet – and quite frankly, this has been working out really well for us.  However, it means that if I want to keep up on news and headlines, I have to search them out.  My daily foray onto the news sites returned the following:

  • ISIS: Why we enslave women
  • Vietnam vet’s leg stolen at NFL game
  • Ranger disrespected by flight crew
  • Brawl erupts after NASCAR race
  • And on…and on… and on…

It’s enough to make you want to jump out the window (which given that I am on the first floor probably won’t solve anything.) But yesterday, I think I may have discovered the solution to all the world’s problems.  Okay – that’s a gross exaggeration, but I may have hit on a thought that could help a little… Puppies!  Yes, I said puppies!

My friend and I meet at a local coffee shop on Sundays whenever we can.  We sit, eat delicious quiche, and catch up on whatever comes to mind.   At yesterday’s java joint, I had the opportunity to watch a fascinating thing happen.  I brought our new puppy Stella with me, and as we sat and drank our coffee, the most interesting phenomena began to occur.  Each person that walked by stopped to play with Stella.  They stopped in groups, singles, and couples; they were young and old; black and white; tall and short; high-heeled and sneakered.

Stella helping build peaceful relations.

Fostering world peace at the coffee shop with friend Amanda

They were all unknown to each other, drawn by this little black and white fur ball of bouncing energy.  At one point, there were at least three different groups of strangers, all playing together on the sidewalk in front of the café.  And as they played, they began to interact with each other.  One woman bought a cup of coffee for an older gentleman; someone else took the time to pledge money for an Aids walk; a young couple helped an elderly lady cross the road – and the catalyst to all of these acts of kindness was a silly little puppy.


Stella advising her new dad.

So, is my answer to world peace a puppy?  Well, sort of.  Okay, not really.  But if you stop and think about it for a minute, you might start to see some sense in what I am saying.  After all, I’m positive that the diversity among the individuals playing together on that sidewalk also represented an enormous diversity in belief systems.  None of that mattered for the few precious minutes of happy puppy playtime.  People that might otherwise never interact smiled, talked, and enjoyed a few moments together.  And their actions reflected the small transformation a puppy had on their worlds.

Can we change the world with puppies?  Well, no.  But we can take that small lesson and realize that, for a few minutes, the world became just a little bit better – that adversity and differences among individuals can, in fact, be set aside for a brief moment.  And, if you can set your differences aside for one moment, who’s to say you can’t do it for two, or three, or four or…  Moreover, just maybe, those who stopped to play with that puppy, took the feeling with them and made someone else’s day a little bit better as well.

So to the world leaders out there reading this blog (because I’m sure some of them do,) at your next meeting, take a puppy with you.  It just might make a difference.

Image of Stella with her head cocked slightly to one side.

Stella – ever inquisitive. The new ambassador for world peace.

Freedom on my 50th Birthday: a definition

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thomas Jefferson

Let us find a way to make this true for all people – regardless of ability, color, education, religion, gender, marital status, language, country of origin, financial status, social standing (or sitting), political preferences, family history, and any other word or phrase we as a society use to separate ourselves from each other.

I am the epitome of the great American mutt – the result of the once great concept of the Melting Pot. This is me on my 50th birthday – it is not me of yesterday and won’t be me of tomorrow. This is me of today.

Ability: I am able-bodied but make choices that may one day rob me of that. I am not better or worse than others – just different (sorta like everyone else.) I do have to stop standing on things that are not meant to be ladders, or this may change sooner than I think.

Color:  I am technically white but appear mostly pink and blotchy red. What color are you? I think under our skin we may be the same -indistinguishable from each other. I keep this in mind (but occasionally picturing everyone without skin makes me a little queasy.)

Education: I am highly educated but occasionally (maybe frequently) stupid.  Some of our leaders are highly stupid and occasionally educated.  I am working to help change that.

Religion: I was, but now I’m not – we must each be free to believe in what brings us peace and let others do the same. I suggest we try to be good people.  I think that might work.

Gender: Is unique to the individual and should remain that way. I am a woman who likes the manly type of things.  I can plumb, use power-tools, bar-b-que, swing a hammer, and MacGyver the hell out of most things.  I don’t wear make-up. I am not you, and you are not me.  Let us admire each other’s definition.

Marital Status: Yes – for all.  I believe you fall in love with a soul.  The soul I love is male – just kinda worked out that way. Who you love won’t ever change that for me.  What I want is for you to have this same deep bond – if you want it. Makes no difference to me who it is.

Language: My language is filled with curse words from all over the world – now including ASL. I am open to learning the curse words from your mother tongue – will you share?  Speak what lets you convey the important things in your life. Work to communicate with everyone. Understand that language and communication are not the same things.

Country of Origin: America. Did you think I meant my ancestors?  What does that have to do with me? They gave me the pink with red blotchy skin that burns at the thought of the sun. They gave me stories.  But I am an American.

Financial Status: Sometimes I have money – more times I don’t.  I give away when I can. I have no status.  I’m okay with that.

Social Standing (or Sitting): I am a total social misfit that really doesn’t give a flying f*ck. (At least I pretend that’s true.) Underneath I am scared and shy and afraid and clumsy – and I’m hoping you’ll like me and I try not to care.

Political Preferences: I prefer politicians that do not exude ignorance, bigotry, self-centered idolatry, sexism, sadism, racism, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, hatred,  misogyny….. I didn’t say democrat or republican.  Right not my preferences are not being met – wanna help me change that?

Family History: I am not born into my family but was lucky enough to be picked by them. I am celebrated, cared-for, tolerated, teased, rebuked, praised, scolded, and welcomed.  You know, the good stuff about family.

Right now, I am this.  Tomorrow I will be something else.  We each carry with us the sum of our experiences – good and bad – that blend to make us who we are.  Each adventure changes the picture and redraws the landscape where we live.  It’s kinda exciting.  I wonder who I will be next? I just hope I like her.

Me at 50