Has there ever been a girl child who did not believe, should she encounter a unicorn, it would love her? It would lay its sweet head in her lap, and she would pet it softly, and they would recognize the goodness in each other.
Or was that just me?
Now that I’m middle aged and married, no unicorn would be interested in me, but some part of me still has that longing for affirmation from animals.
Am I crazy?
I love seeing animals in the wild, but I’m always half afraid they’ll approach me. If I am photo-stalking a moose, I want the moose to pretend I’m not there. If I see a coyote, I don’t want it to cross the street to say hello.
Eye contact, just for a moment, would be nice, though. That would be all the affirmation I need. Eye contact could say, “I see that you are not someone who would sneak up on me to do me harm or be a general nuisance. You’re okay.”
I’m 45 years old. I know this is ridiculous. I can’t stop myself.
When I go to the zoo, I feel like my eight year old self, secretly hoping the animals will acknowledge me in some way. Eye contact, a yowl or trumpeting, or a nice pose for my camera. I want some undefined special moment between myself and an animal locked in a pen.
I should never have watched Born Free. Or Hatari (that lady had random baby elephants following her around! Who wouldn’t want that?)
There is only one remedy for this: a dog. Dogs want to give us affirmation. With my little Trixie, I get more than eye contact. I get, “You are the best person ever; nobody matters but you! And please, please, please, let me sit the closest to you; I love you so much.” She’s crazier than I am, wanting all my children, and our other dog, to acknowledge that she is my favorite. I think she has a crush on my husband, too.
It’s so unmerited, all the love she gives me. And, honestly, that is what I love about her. I love my family, but who else can I make so easily happy? Who else would tell me I am wonderful for only a scoop of dry cereal and the honor of sitting beside me on the sofa? Who else would jump into my arms to greet me after being locked in the laundry room for hours while I’m out?
She’s better than an elephant, or a cheetah, or even a unicorn.