Dogs, cats and other creatures inspired fear in this writer for the longest time. It was a genuine problem for people like me to visit a friend who had a dog or a cat, until I met Sheba & Raven.
One night, a good friend and I went to his cousin’s place, which was also home to two mid-sized dogs. I politely asked our host if the dogs could stay in a different room as we hung out in the living room. He was nice enough to oblige. Over the course of the night, Sheba and Raven made it back to the living room. I was the first to notice.
They were quiet dogs, very calm. Sheba was the mother. She had beautiful light brown or beige colored fur (hard to describe). Raven was mostly black with patches of white and had a bit of a wolf-look to her. I couldn’t tell you what kind of dogs they were, but they were not small. When they approached me, I didn’t feel fear. I decided to pet them. They were the friendliest dogs I had ever met.
After that night, I ended up missing the dogs. I returned to that apartment many times to hang out with my friend and his cousin, but I always loved to see the two dogs. It would even be a thrill to help walk them sometimes. They opened me to a life where I could be friendly to animals.
Sheba and Raven’s owner and myself didn’t always get along and eventually we stopped hanging out. Since these are supposed to be stories about ‘encounters with humans’ and not ‘encounters with animals’, I’ll tell you three words that he said to me that I’ll never forget.
I asked him:
“As a high school teacher, if you had one lesson to teach, what would it be?”
He replied: “Pick your battles.”
I’ve always ‘picked my battles’ since then.
Raven ended up outliving her mother. Years have passed. I still remember Sheba and Raven, two remarkable non-humans. Cats are ok.