Dogs enhance and enrich our lives in so many ways. For instance, their capacity for teaching us a great deal about life and how to live it. This is especially true if we simply observe their behavior and follow their lead. Unconditional love, complete forgiveness, the art of absolutely living in the moment are just three of the things at which dogs are masters of teaching by example. And, ultimately, our dogs teach us how to say goodbye and how to let go at the end of their all too short lives.

But, one of the things for which I don’t believe dogs get nearly enough credit, is their amazing capacity for bringing people together. Dog lovers come in every flavor under the sun. People of all ages, from all sorts of lifestyles, walks of life, political and religious beliefs, and so on are dog lovers. Making dogs an extremely solid common denominator on which a great many people can come together, despite who they may be or what they might believe.

People who love dogs are people who love dogs. Plain and simple. If we meet someone at a dog park, and our dog begins to play with their dog, and we strike up a conversation, we usually do so predicated on the assumption that each is a dog owner, and quite likely a dog lover. And, having our dogs hit it off, immediately and quite naturally breaks the ice for us, so conversation comes even more easily.

I take my dog and his buddy, our neighbor’s dog, to the dog park daily, and usually find myself engaged in conversation with other dog owners. And, it may very well be that some of the people I see there and chat with on a regular basis, have political views, spiritual beliefs or philosophies about life which are completely opposite of my own. At a dog park, these topics are generally not relevant to the conversation in relation to the setting. But, beyond that, because of not only the connection between our dogs, but also because of the fact that we share the common ground of being dog lovers, or at the very least responsible and caring dog owners, the divide which would surely lie between us if we were in a different setting, say at a cocktail party or other social gathering, and somehow politics came into the conversation, simply doesn’t exist.  

Even Adolf Hitler loved dogs. I dare say that had you or I been alive during his lifetime, and just happened to bump into him and his dog at a park, without knowing who he was or anything about him, we might’ve very well found him to be a pleasant fellow - just a fellow dog lover with whom we struck up conversation. Being a dog lover, in that instance, would very likely have been the only thing we possibly could’ve had in common, but that alone can certainly be enough to, if not permanently, at least temporarily build bridges between people which would otherwise be beyond impossible to even conceive.

When it comes right down to it, dogs have the capacity and the power to bring people together in a way which no other single thing on earth could possibly do. If we could only find a way to incorporate them into situations where great polarities exist, such as within Congress or during peace talks between warring nations, I believe we would be able to find more common ground than ever, and, as a result, the world would be a much better place.