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.

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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.

Maybe this year I will finally cross something off my bucket list – getting arrested for civil disobedience.

 

 

I cried last night as I often do in the face of great emotion.  I am a crier and always have been.  It is only when I am really angry that the tears pass and I become coldly focused, intensely rational, and very scary .  This morning I am not crying. But it is not because I passed through the emotion to anger, but because I realize we have been given an opportunity.  It’s true!  Let me show you what I mean,

Jump in the Wayback Machine with me to yesterday. As many of you are, I am watching the returns.  I had a strange feeling of unreality – not unlike the feeling I had when I first heard that the towers had fallen.  I keep thinking “This can’t really be happening! I don’t live in a country of racist, bigoted, homophobic people!”  And you know what, we don’t.  I refuse to believe that the majority of people in America share the same beliefs as Donald Trump.

But he got elected!” you say.  True, but we have a flawed electoral system.

But he’s now the president!” someone wails.  False, not yet he isn’t.

But the world is over as we know it!” True. But it always is.

Every day, the world is over as we know it.  Yesterday is gone and there isn’t a Wayback Machine to give you a do-over.  In fact, we shouldn’t ever get a do-over.  Because it is only in the face of adversity that we find something to fight for – something worth our time and effort, our sweat and tears, our pain and suffering.  The greater the adversity, the greater the opportunity to make a difference.

My friends are black and white, yellow and red, blue and green. They are straight, gay, bi, transgender, transsexual, married, divorced, separated, and single.  My friends have 2 legs, 1 leg, no legs, and wheels. They speak, and sign, and stutter, and slur. They speak English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and Gibberish.  They are Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, and Atheist. And we all live on the Island of Misfit Toys together. It’s warm and happy here.  We are accepted, admired, and encouraged for our diversities.

But now the country has said they don’t like our being different.  They want us to be the same.  They want to keep out the elements that make us different – the very elements that blend us into a unique and beautiful country. Well, maybe we should say thank you!  Thank you for the opportunity to show the world that we are not what our political outcome suggests. But see, here’s the thing – this is no different than it was yesterday or the day before or last year or years ago.  It is only that it has been said out loud, at the top of people’s lungs. The fractured country that we live in has been brought out into the open. And in doing so, we have been given an opportunity to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  The first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem.  It seems to me that the county stood up last night and said, “Hi, My name is The United States of America and I have a problem.

The road to recovery requires getting help.  Get involved in an organization that shares your beliefs.  Find a way to start making a change.  Look for an opportunity that might have previously been hidden. Go find something that makes you feel empowered. Trump may have been elected, but he has a long road ahead to prove he can make good on any of his campaign threats. You and I, however, have a golden opportunity to affect true change. Find a local organization and ask how you can get involved.  For me, I might just cross off a bucket list item – getting arrested for civil disobedience.  Does anyone care to join me?

kitten-stressed

Some Colorado organizations that are working for positive change (look for something similar where you live):

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC)

The Gill Foundation

Indivisible Colorado

Black Denver

Colorado Muslim Society 

Please post in comments any of the organizations that you know are working for positive change.  Let’s spread the word and share the resources.