Monday, July 25, 2011


We recently attended an open house hosted by a local veterinarian.  It was one of those 90-degree days, so they had a tent set up for the four dogs that were up for adoption.  Those poor dogs, on leashes, were waiting for someone to want them.  They didn't belong to anyone.  They didn't belong.

Me and My Daddy are buddies!
When we got home that day, the first thing I did was have a heart-to-heart and face-to-face chat with the fuzzy one.  I made it perfectly clear to her that she is one of the luckiest pooches in the world, because she belongs to us.  She belongs.

I'm not able to wrap my mind around what it has to feel like to not belong.  I've always belonged to a family or to my spouse.  I belong in our home.  That's no small potatoes. 

When we have dear friends, when we have dear neighbors, and when we are involved in life's social networks, our sense of belonging is satisfied.  Anytime someone recognizes us, we feel accepted.  Actually, it feels wonderful when someone greets us and/or teases us.  There's one guy in one of our local grocery stores that banters back and forth with me every single time I go in for groceries.  What he throws my way, I throw back his way, plus a little more. 

Rural life has benefits, one of which is the close social circle that then sprawls out into separate areas, like church, schools, towns, counties, states, and you get what I'm saying.  They all provide us places to belong.  Only one time in my life did I feel a sense of "not belonging," and that was on my trip to Italy in 1996.  While I was there, it hit me like a rock that I didn't belong to Italy.  If I got hurt there, would my U.S. insurance pay for the Italian hospital bill?  A lot of thoughts like that frightened me, because I didn't belong to any of their systems.  My one consolation was that the U.S. embassy was real close to my hotel, and I knew that would be my only safety net. When a person is away from our own shores, there's a scary sense of not belonging. 

So, let's make it a point to always kiss each other good night.  And, that goes for our pet-children, too.  All of us, no matter our pedigree, need to know that we belong.

Oh, by the way, I would have adopted all four dogs that day, but could you imagine what the fuzzy one would have had to say about that?