finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Sunday, September 6, 2015

These Eyes

I seem to have Mexico-adopted a dog while I am down here. This guy:

Or maybe rather---he adopted me.

I was sitting on a bench eating my second taco al pastor, my personal favorite down here in Mexico, when this dog approached me with these eyes. He was begging yes, but not so much begging as, I don't know...asking? He looked at me as if to say: I'm really hungry and I need you. Can you feed me? You are my last hope. Now I assure you I am not crazy. I know dogs don't talk, let alone think like that...probably. But I swear: he kindly asked me for any food I could spare.

Well, now you remember, I really like tacos al pastor and I only had two, and one was already gone ...and well, I was hungry. But this dog! So I gave him a priceless piece of pork. It was then I saw his body: emaciated, shrunken. He looked at me again. I gave him more. Then he lay/lie/laid down and not the good lay-down --- the "I might be dying" lay-down, which I don't think I have ever seen before. But in this moment, this is what I knew to be true.

I went inside and got him some water and placed it front of his limp body. Then I went and bought him his own taco. Beef this time, no tortilla. The taco place thought I was nuts. "No tortilla, por favor. Su para un perro." He scarfed it up. I got him to drink the water. He eventually drank the whole thing. He was clearly dehydrated. I bought him more food and refilled the water container. He started to perk up. I pet him, encouraged him to drink more water. He looked at me again with those eyes...and I started to cry. I can't tell you why I cried, but I did. Maybe he was fine. Maybe I exaggerated. But something in his eyes. I saw him, desperate: this soul, this life. And I cried. I sat with him a while, just being with him and after a while he eventually he got up and trotted off. I maybe saved his life. I maybe didn't. But I stepped up.

There's been so much in the news lately [thankfully] about the dire refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. Devastating photos and stories. Lives. People. Dev. a. stat. ing. And I hear politicians and random small people spouting on about walls and aliens and illegals and jobs and thieves and not enough and go home and we can only take 57 and not our problem. And then I look at a photo, at a person's eyes, like this brave man and I see him. I see another soul, another life. And I cry.

This photo in particular made me weep. This man. Clutching his children.

We are all the same. There really are no borders or countries or lines. They are created. False. Arbitrary. We are all people and some of us need help right now. Some of us need a damn taco. Or a hand stepping out of a boat, or a safer way of getting to safety.

I traveled to Syria 6 years ago, before everything turned so, so south. And I often wonder how and where those people are I met. Are they still alive? Did someone help them? And the other millions I didn't meet, who can't protect their children or save them from sure death? I mean, these people would rather risk likely death on a rickety, overpopulated boat in the middle of the ocean than risk certain death where they live. Think about that choice. I met with refugees in Syria. I heard their stories and their choices. Do you honestly think we should send them back? These desperate, delirious people? I wouldn't. I couldn't even send back the dog.

So every day, he comes back, looking for more food and I feed him. Four days later, he's starting to look a little better, maybe. He still looks at me with those eyes and I can't turn away. How can any of us?

It's time we stepped up.


  1. Kim, your essay is so touching and heartfelt. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Thanks so much Samantha! Appreciate you commenting. Hope you are well.

  3. This is just beautiful, Kim. Thank you...

    1. Thanks a lot Deb. Its gratifying to see countries in the EU doing just that---stepping up. Finally. I think about all our Iraqi refugee friends, as well as the Syrians in such an *amazingly* hard spot and having no welcome. It warms my heart to see some of the welcomes Syrians are now receiving in certain countries. It is about time and I hope this wakes us up.

  4. Your enormous heart is the thing I love most about you, friend. Thank you for feeding the stray dog. Thank you for caring. Thank you for not being silent. xo