Pets Can Help Solve Our National Empathy Shortage
My Lab puppy, Thurber, makes me laugh out loud every day.
The writing life requires you to sit still for long periods of time, but those days are long gone.
As I write this column — attempt to write it, that is — my seven-and-a-half-month-old buddy keeps dropping his ball at my feet, hoping to get me to play with him.
Which makes me laugh out loud.
He usually doesn’t give up until I take him outside for a good run — or we go to the park, so he can greet strangers with enthusiastic joy.
I knew getting a dog would change my daily routine, but I had no idea how much he would change and brighten up my life.
I didn’t realize until after he arrived five and one-half months ago, but I used to go for days without laughing — certainly without laughing out loud.
Now Thurber’s antics make me laugh so hard and so often, I can only imagine how much public civility would be improved if everyone in our country could experience the daily joy he brings me.
Civility is “the foundational virtue of citizenship,” developmental psychologist Marilyn Price-Mitchell wrote a decade ago in Psychology Today.
It’s behavior “that recognizes the humanity of others, allowing us to live peacefully together in neighborhoods and communities.”