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One Touch

I am not a dog person.

At least, that’s how I would have defined myself a few years ago. I’ve been owned and operated by cats all my life, so I was most familiar with the way they connect to the human experience, and, dogs, well, I just didn’t get them.

And then I became a member of a dog rescue organization, by proxy. That is, I live with a foster for the group, and so, by default, that makes me a foster, too.

But really, I suppose, at this point I’m not that much just doing it vicariously anymore… after all, I’m the one who is the lightest sleeper, so I’m the one who knows when they need to go out and gets up to take them; I’m the one who’s either around or more accessible when there are messes to be cleaned up, so I’m the one who gets that joy; and I’m the one they always seem to attach themselves to, and follow around like a… well, like a puppy dog, come to think of it (something about the natural softness in demeanor of that extra X chromosome, I guess). I’m also the chump who lets them stay one more day when we’re going out of town so they won’t have to be put up in a boarding kennel any more than is absolutely necessary… so, yeah, I guess I’m just a sucker after all.

The group we work with has a motto:

“Saving one dog won’t change the world, but the world WILL change for that ONE dog!”

I’m sure that’s true for a lot of the canine charges we put through the system. We take them from abusive settings, abandonment, or extreme neglect, we give them attention, shelter, a positive environment, and we find a loving family to share a new life together with them.

Yeah, we’ve changed a lot of lives.

Especially when it comes to one particular dog… this fuzzy, frisky, doltish monster of beast I know as “Wookie.”

In February of 2008, someone pulled up to an intersection in Uptown, opened their minivan door, pushed her out, and drove away. She was just 14 weeks old.

Then she landed in our home, and the next day found herself permanently indebted to me. It only took 24 hours. I remember a moment after she’d been with us just overnight…

I was sitting on the couch, and she’d planted herself at my feet… I was minding my own business, and hadn’t realized she was there… I went to get up and nearly stepped on her… she looked up at me, her head tilted backwards toward me… I smiled at her…

The look in her eyes at that moment told me there was nothing more in the world I could have done for her to make her more fulfilled than just to smile at her, and let her know that I was happy in her presence. That simple gesture was everything in the world for her, and all she needed to know that life was good. And that was all I needed, too… I was hooked.

From that moment on, she was MY dog.

And now, I can’t imagine my life without her.


One touch. One life to another, one change at a time. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.


And it’s probably a good thing, too, since that’s about all we can usually handle, really, most of the time. We’re not superhuman, we’re not preternatural, we’re not godlike in our powers to interact with the masses… at least, not most of us, anyway.

Most of us don’t have the ability to move mountains or millions with a word, a thought, or a touch.

Throughout the centuries and across cultures we’ve passed down stories about those who have performed such miraculous feats as they’ve been idolized into mythical beings, religious leaders, or fictional superheroes. The ability to touch a life, to impact the world, becomes almost supernatural, metaphysical, even mystical.


I used to be religious, once…

…but, not to worry… I got over it.

I would have called myself a recovering fundamentalist, but, that can’t be accurate… I don’t think that level of indoctrination is something you ever really get over. It propagates something permanent inside you, like a tumor that attaches itself to some subdural section of your psyche, that you never really can quite remove all of completely.

There was a time, too, when I was unnerved by this condition, but somewhere along the way I’ve also come to a more tolerant acceptance that maybe that’s okay…


Maybe there needs to be some semblance of a relationship with some sort of sacrosanctimonious foundation to give us a basis for understanding of concepts that are greater, higher, more powerful than we otherwise could have imagined. We start out with something from our culture, something that we know, that is familiar to us, and that can be drawn upon, and we develop our deeper sense of recognition as we grow.

What we choose to accept outside our own existence evolves over time as we journey through life. We reach the conclusions we are led to along the roads we travel, that we connect with most intuitively, that make the most sense to us, and that help to keep us moving forward.

But, whether you believe in, worship, follow or just have a healthy respect for Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Lao-Tse, Confucius, The Kami, The Jinas, Abraham - Isaac - & - Jacob, Joseph Smith or The Pope, you should acknowledge in each of them a founder of faith, a pioneer of principals, a creator of a creed.

And you can argue until the cows (or the elephants) come home over the purpose behind religions, in all their diverse variations… the truth is, it’s such a quintessentially personal commitment, it means something different to everyone, even within the ranks of whichever affiliation you may be aligned to. 

"So oft in theologic wars, the disputants... rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean..."

But, it cannot be argued that among them all, there is the recurring theme…

To impact lives. To bring about change. To make a difference. To affect humanity.

In another era, we thought that what the world needs now is love… that all you need is love. That is certainly as true now as it was then – as undeniable today as it will be tomorrow.

For myself, I can't say with unquestionable certainly what spiritual communion I hold truest, but, I do know a few things I believe in irrefutably, and one thing I'm sure of, is that if I have anything resembling a religion at all, it would include the conviction that love is the most powerful force in all the universe.

But, by what vehicle to we possess the capacity to bring about the delivery of enlightenment into each and every life?

The prophets, the healers, the teachers, the seers… as long as time has existed, they’ve labored to answer this driving question.

I don't always trust that I can believe in them, but I do believe in you, and I believe in me.

So maybe the answer isn’t found in them at all… maybe it’s just in the heart of who we are.

You might could say I'm a humanist... I might be even inclined to entertain the notion of an acquiescence toward a devotion to complete solipsism, if it weren't for one factor that makes me know there's so more out there than just the energy of light...

Maybe, our entire experience of living in this plane is all about…

One touch.


One life to another,

hand to hand,

heart to heart,

affecting change,

encouraging growth.

Working miracles every day.

Impacting lives.

Making a difference, one life at a time...

with just one touch.

When Love IS the answer, anything is possible...

with just one touch.



LJ Idol | Season 6Week 7 - Topic: ONE TOUCH
This post has been brought to you through an association with the online writing community forum, LJ Idol.
If you have enjoyed this entry, please feel free to speak your piece, share the love, and pass it on...
                                                                                                                                       
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Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for appreciating both aspects of this thought... I wasn't sure everyone would get how they flowed together. For me, it was sort of stream of consciousness, thinking, if we're willing to so drastically alter the life of an animal, how much more meaning is there for us to make positive changes in the lives of our fellow man? I'm very glad to know it worked for you, and thanks for reading!
shadowwolf13
Dec. 12th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
I really like this ... maybe it's the dog lover within, but it's well done. :)
karmasoup
Dec. 12th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed, and thanks so much!
mstrobel
Dec. 12th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
That is SUCH a wonderful motto. All of my dogs have been rescue dogs as well and I do love knowing that I have made a difference.

I would be such a bad animal foster mom though because I'd never be able to give them up!
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
It's easy for us to give them up because we know we're passing them on to better lives, and that to keep them would be selfish, because it would prevent them from having that better life, and prevent us from continuing to make our home available to the next poor creature that needed it. In the two years we've been fostering, we've rehomed probably somewhere in the neighborhood of more than 4 dozen dogs, roughly guestimating. There was only ever one that it broke my heart to give up, but, even so, she did go on to a family that could give her more than we could... they had three kids to play with her! Besides that, between three humans, three cats, 2 birds, and collectively over 225 pounds of dog, our plate is pretty well full enough already! ;)
mstrobel
Dec. 13th, 2009 09:57 am (UTC)
Aw but see even reading that ... I still couldn't! I get too attached too easily XD and even if someone else has three kids to play with the dog and a bigger yard and a lifetime supply of free kibble I'd still think, but -I- want to keep her too LOL
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
It was a tough one for us, actually. Everyone loved her, both dogs loved her and played with her equally (which is sort of a rarity... usually the puppy loves every dog, and the older matriarch just tolerates them), even the bird loved her, and all three of us were crazy about her equally, which is also a rarity. Often, one of us might become attached, but the others don't feel the same way.

The first home she was being considered for would have been very hard to give her up to. They were a couple with one other dog with a much bigger yard for her to run in, but the man wasn't sure about her breed, so I was glad he wouldn't take her. I would have felt awful about losing her to them. I told Homebuddy, I don't want to give this dog that I love up just because someone else is more well off than us and can afford a larger plot of land. They don't have two dogs, a child, and a bird for her to love and play with, plus two adults who adore her and would dedicate themselves to her well being.

But, when the family that did take her came to our house, and she went nuts for all three kids (she LOVES kids), and how ecstatic they were about her, I could see that this was best situation, because she would be happier there.

And, for us, it's always all about what's in the best interest of the pet. That was the situation that was going to give her the richest, most fulfilled life, and, because we loved her, it was easy to to make sure that she would have it.

Thankfully, it's only been that difficult one time in all the years we've been fostering, and, even then, we were pleased with the outcome.
mstrobel
Dec. 18th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Oh whoa that would have been even harder!

Hehe I still don't think I could do it. Seeing a dog I'd tsken care of having more fun with that other family would break my heart XD I know it's that whole "if you love someone set them free" thing isn't it?!
karmasoup
Dec. 18th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Yes, that thing... it's the mark of true love to be willing to provide the circumstances for another's happiness, even if it's not you that creates that happiness for them.
mstrobel
Dec. 18th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
I think I wrote an essay on that once :) I didn't think of fostering animals as examples back then -- I think what makes it especially difficult is that a few years down the track you can't ask a dog, do you remember me? XD
karmasoup
Dec. 18th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
That actually wouldn't be necessary for us, but, the wonderful thing about dogs is, they would! We have on occasion arranged with people who've adopted the pets our dogs loved to meet them for play dates at local dog parks. The dogs miss them, too!
mstrobel
Dec. 18th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
Awww :) I'm so glad to hear that! I never knew if animals remembered people after a long time or not.
hightekvagabond
Dec. 12th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
With one Touch, with One Soul, you will know Synchronicity

I think Sting Shares your views... how does that make you feel? :)
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
I imagine there are a lot of folks within the ranks of mankind worldwide who share similar ideologies, so it's no huge surprise that Sting is among them, considering he at least thinks of himself as progressive anyway... I suppose maybe I should write a song and make a million dollars, eh? ;)
rejeneration
Dec. 12th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
I love the rhythm of this piece. It flows like art. Bravo!
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
*blushes* I consider that a great compliment coming from you... thank you very much!
sherriola
Dec. 12th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you for helping to rescue dogs! As a lifelong dog lover, it means so much to know that people are out there saving them.
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
Oh, it's a major production! The majority of the dogs come in from Ohio, which has one of the nations highest and fastest kill rate, and, being a poverty stricken region, very few dogs there are chipped, so, if you lose your family pet, and it's picked up by the pound, you only have 72 hours to locate and claim your canine loved one before it's put down. We have associate connections in various vet hospitals around the states who triage the easiest cases for rehoming, and then a caravan, a sort of canine underground railroad, shuttles them in stages through Chicago, Milwaukee, and various other cities along the way, making pickups and dropoffs as appropriate where prearranged. And, from the dogs and us, you're welcome. :*
hug_machine
Dec. 13th, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
D'awwh, what an adorable beastie.

Animals can totally teach us so, so, so much.
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, in so many ways! Thanks for reading! ;)
onda_bianca
Dec. 13th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'm a huge dog person and greatly enjoyed this entry. I LOVE the motto. :)
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you liked it, and thanks for reading! The woman who runs the organization is a 65 year old grandmother with her own business in home care for elderly invalids. She's a real spitfire!
cacophonesque
Dec. 13th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
To make a difference and touch lives! Yes!

Love is the most powerful force in the universe.
karmasoup
Dec. 13th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you got this... it really means a lot to me. Thanks so much for reading!
jenandbronze
Dec. 13th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Beautiful! Before I got my first guide dog, I was not a dog lover; but a cat lover, and using a guide dog changed all of that even though I my first was the dog from Hell, but my curernt one has the most amazing affection and relationship we could have as a teram. I loved reading your entry ... and the words conveyed were strong.
karmasoup
Dec. 14th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
The entry you wrote in week 4 about Nixon not trusting a situation really spoke to the symbiotic relationship between the two of you, and I was so glad you had him, and that you trusted him so implicitly, and that he knew his job so well.

I've really come to learn a lot about dogs over the years of living with Homebuddy. The working breeds are really amazing, and it's astounding how well they not only understand, but relish their place. They were born to serve you, they know it, and they achieve the ultimate satisfaction from fulfilling that sense of purpose.

I first understood this best from Homebuddy's Sharpei, who claimed me as her pet. Sharpeis are bred for protection. Their sole mission in life is to be the bodyguard for miniature "charges" children of the house. When I met Berkeley, she understood her job in life was to sleep with Chiclet at night and keep her safe. I think I'll never love another dog quite like I loved her, but, thankfully, the heart has an infinite capacity to love, and I will love Wookie, not like her, but differently, and with just as much joy in my heart to have her in my life.

I'm glad you found strength here, too, and thanks for reading!
baxaphobia
Dec. 14th, 2009 10:01 am (UTC)
Wonderful entry! I think all we can do is live our lives and connect with the people who enter our small sphere. Not all of us are meant to do the grand gesture that will be immortalized. But a whole lot of small gestures have just as much impact.

I'm a huge dog person, even before I started working a guide dog. I can't imagine my life without dogs!
karmasoup
Dec. 14th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
That's actually exactly what I was saying... with dogs or with people, with love, little by little, we can change the world. Thanks for reading - I'm glad you enjoyed it, but, more importantly, I'm glad you get it!
walkertxkitty
Dec. 14th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
All of my dogs and cats are rescues. Daisy, a Dalmatian/pit bull cross, was the last one. I fished her out of the swamp the day of a Christmas party after someone tied her in a plastic bag and threw her in it. It was too cold to leave her in the drop-off at our shelter so she stayed...and I never took her back.

Now, she's going to be my next service dog and this little gal changed everything for me. She's loyal, loving, and just about everything I could want.
karmasoup
Dec. 15th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Wow, that makes me so angry. That's much worse than abandonment... I'm so glad you were there for her. I'm glad things are working out so well for you, too. Thanks for reading.
drjeff
Dec. 15th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
Voted. And, jeez, I thought I had added you back weeks ago. Sorry. :)
karmasoup
Dec. 15th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
Hehehe... I've done that a few times myself, have been making comments on someone's LJ I showed on my spreadsheet as a friend, and then looked up and happened to notice the title bar read "You are viewing __________'s journal - Add them as a friend?" Crap. At least people around here seem to be pretty good about not acting publicly like they feel slighted, so, that's a good thing, anyway. I added a lot of people to my list whose writing drew me in, but, some of the friendships I'm developing continue to grow stronger as the weeks go on, and I'm very rewarded by that. Thanks for being one of them.
drjeff
Dec. 16th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
You are absolutely welcome.
joeymichaels
Dec. 15th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC)
I’ve been owned and operated by cats all my life

Yes. Yes, that line speaks directly to me. I am going to quote this extensively this month.
karmasoup
Dec. 15th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Hehehe... glad I could be of service... you are welcome to it!
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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