Can Pets Teach Us to Be More Open-Minded?

Thurber in his favorite chair at 10 weeks of age

Coffee. I needed coffee. And sleep. And food.

That’s the experience I had when I first picked up my Lab puppy, Thurber, in February, 2021. This is the piece I wrote four days after I brought the 8-week old puppy home!

Late February, 2021

I spend every waking moment since happily tending to the little guy’s considerable needs.

Before I got him, I was cocksure I’d mastered the proper training techniques to bend my little guy’s will to mine.

“No dog of mine is going Number One in my house,” I boasted to anyone who would listen.

“No dog of mine is going to lack discipline,” I protested.

“No dog of mine will sit on my furniture!” I said, arrogantly.

How are things working out?

I have my carpet cleaner on speed dial. Discipline is overrated, as it intrudes on fun. And right now my bundle of joy is sitting on my beloved leather recliner, staring at me with black, doughy eyes that transform me into a pat of butter in a frying skillet.

It’s obvious the training strategy isn’t going well — though he’s teaching me as fast as he can.

His Massive Joy Makes Me Laugh Out Loud

His endless cuteness, hilarity and affection are melting my heart and making me laugh out loud all day long.

He never stops reminding me that the world is a place of constant wonder — and that there’s a lot to experience if you keep your eyes as wide open as his.

He’s just experienced snow and he can’t dance in enough of it.

He plays with a chunk of frozen dirt with the same intensity that he does a store-bought toy.

I’ve fallen so hard and fast for my little guy he’s already changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate.

I’m so focused on his health and happiness I’ve barely slept or eaten for four days.

Reduced Political Bickering Thanks to Him

I’ve spent so little time on the internet and social media, I barely know what’s going on in the world.

But being offline has actually been an unexpected blessing. I’ve wasted no time engaging in fruitless debates with strangers about politics.

And because I’ve basically stopped watching cable news, I’ve been spared the divisive news and opinions that never stop coming out of Washington, D.C.

For the sake of America, I wish everyone would invite a puppy into his or her home. Reason magazine can help me explain why.

Antidote to Increasing Anger: Our Pets

According to Reason, politics is seeping into every aspect of our daily life and ruining everything.

“Americans are choosing jobs, brands and friends for partisan reasons,” the libertarian magazine reports.

This is because Americans are becoming way too serious — way too lost in the narrowness of their limited, subjective, partisan points of view.

“Agree with my opinion on all cultural and political matters, or I won’t be your friend,” think many.

“I’ll report you to the HR department for offending my sensitivity,” think others.

“I will boycott your product or service unless you think like I do!” more people are thinking.

That’s because, tragically, we live an era of opinion trumping fact.

To everyone’s detriment, including our own, we try to impose our will and our political values on others and we shun those who refuse to submit.

Our Pets Open Our Hearts

But we have it all backwards. An open heart and open eyes are what we need.
Laughter and affection, not stridency and anger, are what will bring us together and help us realize we are not so divided, after all.

Just become the parent of an eight-week-old puppy — just be inspired by his wonderful view of the world that each of us once had — and we’ll all be better off.

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