I’ve been following the news about the Oklahoma tornado(es) with a fairly level head. Please don’t think that I don’t care about it. I do. It’s just hard to relate to events like this sometimes. The whole situation is terrible and I feel sympathetic to everything those people down there have to deal with, especially with the children who were killed. But empathy? I never felt any true empathy until I saw the above picture.
I’m a single man. I don’t own a home or have any children. But I have a dog, sweet little Oliver, who I love more than anything. He is the closest thing to a child I have. If anything ever happened to him, I would be devastated. Seeing that poor animal above lying amongst all the devastation with a nurse comforting it… I’m not the person to cry, I’ve been called a robot before, but the second I saw this photo, I was kicked right in the feelings.
That poor dog has no idea why any of this is happening. Everything he knew was literally picked up and thrown around without cause. Dogs are wonderful simple things. They have some complex emotions, no doubt, but they are largely selfless animals whose world completely revolves around their master. Every time I come home, Oliver has a meltdown, whether I was gone for five minutes or five days. He is so happy to see me, he doesn’t even know what to do with his body. Have I ever felt happiness that simple and pure? I’m not sure.
That is why this photograph affected me so profoundly. It’s the piece of wood the dog’s been placed on so that it’s not in the mud. It’s the look of sadness and worry on the nurse’s face. It’s the dog’s eyes being closed with effort. The way her hands are placed so gently on him. It’s the collar showing that this dog was part of a family. Its entire life was centered around other people, and here in the midst of all this chaos and destruction, a person is making it feel loved and comfortable. It’s the most terribly human thing I’ve seen in a really long time, and it is about a dog.