[I’m a pet sitter in Salt Lake City, and Kora is a malamute/chow/samoyed I’m tending].
The pic is of Kora and I the other night, taking our moment to just “be” because Kora is new to pet sitting, was slightly anxious at first and in the week I’ve sat her, i’ve learned that after our walks, she likes to just vibe with her neighborhood. And the effort means I go over the time I’m being paid for and even though these people have told me to charge them for this, I never would, for to my mind, I never want to live a life wherein an act of kindness was somehow required to be compensated externally and when my heart says that something is the right thing to do, I want to listen to that, and make space for Kora, enjoying her company for the sake of no other reason except that I want her to know that she’s valued.
And it’s going really good. She’s even adjusted to my newest theatrics in which I walk into homes saying “where’s my squad?” as if we’re a couple of sorority sisters about to get down on a Friday night, responding to it with some spastic tail wagging/rolling over/eyes closed in bliss kind of thing, and we’ve also managed to sneak in some pretty powerful therapy sessions, going in deep to talk about why she’s now being sat in her home along with her Literally-Useless-Family’s-Cats (her words) rather than going to doggie day care with her sister like she used to. But clearly it’s a work in progress because Kora still thinks it’s an insult that she got kicked out of day care for attacking that other dog when really, how else was that other dog ever going to find out how much Kora hated it and wanted it dead? What else was she supposed to do exactly?
Anyways, we were just chilling when I snapped this–getting a status report on the ‘hood–and in the late evening Friday night “bustle”, saw only a single human being. It was an older man coming out of the home of a neighbor and, as he descended his neighbor’s front steps, a very aged and dusty black cat appeared from next to the same steps and fell in behind him–she/he obviously had been waiting for the man–and as they both crossed the narrow street heading diagonally towards their more northward home, he started repeatedly calling “meow meow” as they walked, and while Kora and I sat there, a much younger all-black cat emerged from some bushes in response to his call and–trotting to join the man and the older black cat–they all collected on the porch of their home and trickled into the house together.
And in terms of being compensated externally, no amount of knowing could’ve helped me predict this occurrence, and I think that sometimes it’s in the void of “not knowing” that Zen can be reached, for it transforms “expecting” into “experiencing” and it’s soothing to mind to slow down and be with the quiet ways of the world and soothing to heart to sit with a dog on a porch watching a man calling his cats back home.