Updated: Sep 29, 2021
We’re all stray dogs in one way or another, the boy thought rubbing the creature behind its ear, and we all need the community to feel a little less this way…
The morning was already here, but the dancing continued. Only a few ‘party animals’ remained. Elton John’s ‘Still standing’ would fit perfectly to this situation, the boy considered while waving side to side with a plastic cup full of liquor in his hand. They have been up and running, partying and learning, talking and drinking for the past four days. Most of the time was spent actively, which demanded sleep deprivation on a professional level. Tens of participants from all over Europe met in this Serbian city to celebrate their diverse backgrounds, discuss urgent world-focused topics, and become better people for the better future of their universe. Is there another universe the boy hesitated for a moment, while bringing back the memories of the days passed, maybe…
As a first-time participant of such an event, the boy felt the need to experience it fully and wanted to have a conversation with as many people as possible, gaining knowledge of their cultures, backgrounds, and traditions. It was a part of his passion. As they walked towards the bridge to witness the sunrise over the horizon, they spotted a stray dog walking towards them. There was plenty of them in Serbia, as the boy quickly learned. Those beautiful animals of all breed strolled the streets of the city minding their own business, but unlike cats, which can do so with a passion for self-reliance, those dogs felt upset for the necessity of living alone. The mere recognition of such phenomenon gave the boy chills and provoked his heart’s quiet cry. He loved animals, especially dogs, and could not imagine the extreme circumstances that led those creatures to live a solemn life away from the comfort of their master’s home. How could one leave a dog like that alone, he pondered. The dog approached the group, waded its tail for a moment, and decided to join their drunken stumble towards the bridge. The few participants welcomed the animal with smiles and continued their adventure. Soon after, the second stray dog emerged and reacting to the group’s great energy also became a part of the stroll. The boy noticed that neither of the animals was scared or even apprehensive about the people they encountered. It was as if their longing for community completely conquered the fear of suffering. Love and the need for it overcome fear anytime, he noted.
The group arrived at the bridge, gazed at the sunny sky, and drank the leftover alcohol. ‘Bobby’ and ‘Ash’ – the two dogs that joined their stroll and were named so respectively, lied down on the pavement next to their companions and observed the event with curiosity. The boy leaned against the bridge’s barrier and thought about the troubling reality he perceived. How can there be so many stray dogs here, he pondered, how can there be no one willing to take them in…? His thinking brought the forehead to frown, leaving marks of upset across his face. He looked at the others, those beautiful people that came from many corners of their world to participate in an international event of acceptance and understanding, and thought of the things that unified and divided them all. We are all of the same earth, yet we speak different languages, have unique traditions, and follow our own paths… We are all alone, yet a part of a whole. We are the same in our differences… He looked at the dog once more, crouched down, and petted the lovable animal. One could tell just how much it meant for the animal. Leaning its head on the boy’s lap the dog closed its eyes and enjoyed this unique moment of love granted from another being. Is there anyone more lonely than a stray dog, the boy felt concerned.
He thought of the fact that his reason for participation in this event was due to the fact he initially left his own home as well. He embarked on the mission to study, live, and experience a different life, away from what was familiar in his upbringing. He thought of the fact, that for the most part, this was the case for all of his friends he met here. They were all international students who felt the need to explore and meet what was not known to them before. They were all adventurous. What made them all similar was the openness for the new and relaxed approach to the future, which created with each step, was paved with situations unlike any lived before. It was an exciting way of life, but it was also a difficult one. He thought of the dogs, the stray dogs that wandered the streets of a city they didn’t even choose for themselves; of a city which accepted their presence but offered nothing to make their life better unless they asked for. It was within the dog’s ability and power to find food and shelter because no one was coming to help them otherwise. The boy felt a pinch of pain striking a chord in his heart. He thought of the need for community and social acceptance, which participated in the life of every living being ever. This need to feel safe and appreciated, loved and cared for, understood and alive. This need to not be alone. We are like these stray dogs strolling the city’s streets… We walk alone first, we walk with others when we can, and we look for love wherever that love is due… We are individually different but essentially the same. We’re all stray dogs in one way or another, the boy thought rubbing the creature behind its ear, and we all need the community to a feel little less this way. Our place is where we feel safe, loved, and empowered.
Anything else is just the city noise…
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