I'm a lesbian who lives in a big, crumbling house with too many cats. I'm impatient with my neighbor who plays the drums late at night, and I like a cup of good tea. I'm chubby and I have short hair. I'm vegan and eat lentils.
But don't go overboard just yet: I don't wear cat sweatshirts, and I don't rave about my cats unless I've already sensed that the person I'm talking with has a deep adoration for animals, too.
When I do meet those people, my heart fluffs up like that spray foam stuff for filling cracks. I still wear the tag of my "firstborn daughter," a cat, of course, five years after her death. When I struck up a conversation with a business guy on the subway who had a dog collar and tags on his briefcase, I knew immediately that he was on the same wavelength as I. He said that when the guys teased him about carrying the collar around, his eyes still welled up. He couldn't care less that the troglodytes at work didn't understand how little Monica, the beagle, had changed his life.
Today, in the car next to me at a stoplight, was a dog wearing sunglasses. Though I'm somewhat familiar with this sight from beer ads and bad animated movies, I knew in my gut that this wasn't a joke on the poor dog. The dog had some pretty creative homemade headgear holding the glasses in place, and looked completely comfortable and happy in them. The driver didn't look like somebody looking for a cheap laugh. And I spotted a little ooze coming from one of the dog's eyes. I think this dog, taken at face value, probably makes a lot of people laugh. But she wasn't a movie one-liner, she was a being with a health problem (I think!), and someone caring for her.
I didn't get to meet the dog or chat with their person (car culture being as it is), but my heart did the spray foam thing a bit. Because so few animals in our world are the recipients of good solid t.l.c., it's great to get a glimpse of it now and then.