“Rael, move over, we need to talk,” Malka exclaimed as she landed on my lap and stared up at me with her ‘this is serious’ look.
Those of you who remember Malka, our little shih-tzu-dachshund cross that joined our family some twenty months ago may be surprised by reading that Malka calls me by my first name but we long ago relaxed the rules of formality so common in many homes and now only Gimalle is required to call me “Sir.”
Back to Malka. She continued, “Rael, you know it’s the Christmas season, a time of celebration and joy for so many, a time for giving and a time for receiving but, you know, as I’ve grown almost into adulthood, and as I have come to understand the world and all of its complexities I realize that this holiday season is, for many, a time of sadness and loneliness.
“You know,” she continued (she says “you know” a lot. I have thought of trying to break her of this habit but breaking her of the peeing on the carpet habit seems to have a touch more urgency and, you know, it’s pretty cool having a talking dog), I realize there are so many puppies out there who are not as fortunate as I am, who don’t have as much as I do and who don’t have an amazing family like I do and so I have a plan.
“I have been looking at all my toys and I realized so many puppies have no toys at all so I would like you to help me find some poor puppies that have nothing so we can give them my toys to play with.
“But you know what else I’d like to do. I’d like to get to know these puppies on a personal level, spend some time with them. I want to look them in the eye and let them know that I care about them and that this is way beyond donating a few toys, it’s about reaching out to, and playing with, fellow puppies and letting them know they’re not alone, that having nothing doesn’t mean you are nothing, and that all puppies are valued equally.
“What do you think of my plan, Rael?
Oh, and by the way, you too have way to many toys that you don’t need so maybe you can think about sharing your toys with some of the many people out there who have so little and maybe, instead of just giving up a few toys, you can also give them something far more valuable – your time, friendship and genuine caring.
“You see, Rael, it’s not heroic to give something you have. It’s not magnanimous to give away a small piece of something you have a lot of. Generosity is when you give of yourself and that’s what I want us to do.
“Let’s give them our toys so they can have some fun, but let’s also really get to know them. Become mentors to them, so we can help them rise up from those positions and improve their lives to the point where they are now sharing their toys and giving of their time.
“Imagine,” she continued excitedly, “if by spending time letting these puppies know how much we cared, we were actually teaching them how to fish instead of just giving them fish, how much better their lives would be?
“And then imagine,” she looked up at me with the most serious expression I have ever seen, “as we do that, how much better our lives would be, don’t you think?
“It’s so easy to write a cheque when you have money, so easy to give away a few toys when you have lots, so easy to give away clothes you never wear and all of those things are desperately needed.
“But what’s needed even more is loving, caring contact. Knowing that there are people out there who care about you, who you can go and talk to, who will listen and who will offer comfort, friendship and guidance. That’s what every puppy and every person wants.
“So Rael, let’s give some of our toys and let’s give lots of ourselves. What do you say?”
What do you say?
Till we read again.