Why Can't the World be More Like My Dog?
On a purely objective level, I know that my dog Ghostface Killah is not perfect. My wife reminds me of this on a regular basis. Ghostie has a high-pitched yelp of a bark that’s incredibly annoying. He's also hypersensitive to the nearby presence of other dogs, or cats (good lord does he ever lose it when he sees a cat) and, well, pretty much everything else. Alas, we live downstairs from a professional dog-walker (with a cat) so he unleashes that nails-on-chalkboard bark on a regular basis.
Ghostface is very aggressive where food is concerned. If you’re eating something that he feels he should be eating instead, he will get in your face and angrily demand that this food, often beef of some sort, be transferred immediately from its wrongful owner (you) to its rightful owner (him).
He’s a very demanding dog. It’s not enough to be petted: no, one must pet him constantly, with even pressure, or he’’ll growl a little to let you know that while, yes, you’re lavishing love and attention on him, you’re not doing so as aggressively or as consistently as he’d like.
Despite these less than admirable qualities, I genuinely think my dog is perfect. It would not be possible to love Ghostface any more than I do. Five years into our relationship, I still can’t get over how adorable and sweet and wonderful he is and how much I adore him.
On a soul-deep level, I feel like we just get each other. We click. I never feel self-conscious around Ghostie. I feel accepted. I feel at peace. I feel comforted. When Ghostface is sitting in my lap, which is much of the time, all feels right in the world.
In her book about her tumultuous relationship with rap superstar Li’l Wayne, hip hop super-groupie Karrine “Superhead” Steffans writes about how being in a one-sided, masochistic, emotionally abusive relationship with a man who has treated her with shocking, brutal callousness taught her the meaning of true love.
It taught her that true love is not only unconditional, but calls upon you to love someone specifically because of their faults, not despite them. Within the context of the book, her words come off as the troubling, masochistic self-delusion of someone trying to convince themselves to remain in a toxic relationship indefinitely.
Within the context of my relationship with Ghostface, however, her words make more sense. My love for Ghostface is complete and unconditional. I don’t, ultimately love him despite his ferociously human need for attention and approval and validation: I love him because of those qualities, in no small part because I see so much of myself reflected in them.
I wish I was at ease with other people the way I am with Ghostface. Being with him frees me from self-consciousness, from crippling self-awareness, from worrying that I’ll say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing, or be too awkward or too damn me. I feel like I am my best, truest self when I’m with Ghostface or my three-year-old son Declan.
Then again, if my relationship with the rest of the world was as wonderful as my relationship with Ghostface, then I wouldn’t value that sacred, sacred bond anywhere near as much as I do. My relationship with Ghostface is utterly unique, and that’s a big part of what makes it so special.
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