I have a dog. He’s a beautiful five-year-old German Shepherd named Kaiser. He’s such a stud. Everyone stops when he walks by and looks at him when I take him out on his walks. He’s not the usual black and brown Rin Tin Tin – he’s a little more black.
But he has these deep brown soulful eyes that just stare at me.
In the morning when my husband gets up for work and I walk him to the door and kiss him goodbye, I’ll lay back down for an hour or so. When I do, I pat the side of the bed where my husband lay and Kaiser leaps up and immediately settles down for me to pet him.
He wants to be wherever I am. If I am working on the computer writing a blog, a story, or poem, he’s right here. If I am in the living room watching a movie with John, he’s in my lap.
I could pet this dog for hours and he’d let me.
I always thought pet people were ridiculous. Thousands of dollars to treat cancer in their animal. Find the perfect food. The perfect Vet. Have them groomed and walked… I would always say, “Those people are crazy.”
Until I got a dog of my own. And now, No. They’re not so crazy after all. Why?
Because a dog loves you NO MATTER WHAT.
I remember coming out as gay in my twenties. I remember the static I took from some of my family. People I had been cool with suddenly weren’t cool with me, especially some of the people I’d gone to church with. Even my brother was quick to tell my mother once when she was angry with him, “How can I embarrass the family, you have a gay son.”
Now, mind you this was after I had joined the army after 9/11, deployed to Kuwait in support of O.I.F (Operation Iraq Freedom) and was there for a year, honorably discharged, got a associates degree and was working on a bachelor’s. But that didn’t matter. I could have caught Osama Bin Laden, Hussein, killed Uday and Qusay myself and made it home in time to save the stock market from crashing in ’08, so, yeah none of the aforementioned stuff really mattered to them.
I was gay.
I remember when we were in church when I was a kid. I wasn’t a fan of preaching, I really took to music. And my mother, her friend, and I would sing gospel songs in church. I figured if I had to be here, I might as well do something I enjoy doing and it was good fun.
After I’d come out my mother was practicing a song one day , I heard her, came downstairs to help out and we had a good time. Felt like old times. And then she looked at me and said, “Too bad you’re gay. You could come to church and sing this with me tonight.”
It felt like she had kicked my soul in the crotch. I was very very hurt. I soon left Michigan, and my family, behind me.
One day, years later, I was feeling pretty down on myself. I can’t exactly remember why. But I was feeling like maybe them whatadipshit evangelicals were right. Maybe I was damned. Maybe I had made a choice, and somewhere along the line had condemned my soul to eternal hell and torment. Because, you know, Fundamentalism wasn’t bad enough.
But then I looked over at my dog who was lying on the bed next to me and I came out to him. I said, “Kaiser. I’m gay.”
And in disgust, he got up and barked at me. When I tried to approach he bared his teeth and snarled. It got so bad I had to give him away. He wanted nothing to do with me.
You know I’m kidding. You know what he did? After my husband and I told we were gay and that he had two daddies, he yawned. Put his head down on my lap and looked up at me with those soulful brown eyes.
I knew three things at once, I had just experienced Agape love (Godly love) for the first time, I would never again feel bad about being gay, and I wasn’t as good a person as those mentioned before me. I was better and always had been.
Some shit’s just beneath you.
I want to be the man my dog thinks I am.
I’ll write more when I can.