On therapy dogs and the value of good silence.

I have been unable to do any sort of work for the past five hours. It is the feeling of being scared, but I am not sure scared of what, because there will not be any scary things for the next two weeks. So I was talking to myself and reading the Chinese books that I recently borrowed and thinking “why am I scared now?” Discounting the three-minute elevator pitch on Friday. What are the things that I am scared of? Things that increase my heartbeat and make me sweat and my nerves are extra sensitive, and everything loud feels like a tractor rolling by. So close and so intensely intrusive. I couldn’t figure out why until a while ago, I was thinking about the topic for the elevator pitch, and therapy dogs, and I miss the feel of fur under my palm.

I want a therapy dog. A dog of calm and placid temperament, a dog I can take for long walks and feel its heart beating through its coat of fur and muscles. And fat, I would like a slightly fattish dog. A dog I can rent whenever I feel sad and down, which is proportional to the number of to-dos on my list. So that I can be next to a living being and be alive and well, while not having to open my mouth, because that takes energy and I have no energy after a long day at school. I don’t want to pretend that I am interested in whatever the other person is saying. It is a sort of warm and personable silence filled with love and loyalty.

To me, there is that pressure to be a normal and functioning human being all the time. In front of people: friends, family members, co-workers, school mates. Sometimes I feel that there is a glass wall between me and other people. It is so hard to really reach out and try and understand someone else, it takes a lot of effort to sustain a relationship. Constantly knocking my knuckles against that glass and mouthing words, “can you hug me”, “go away”, “I don’t understand what you mean”. And you don’t want to spoil any part of it by being sad and angst-y or scared for no reason at all. Can you imagine what the conversation might be like? “Why are you sad?” “I don’t know.” “Huh.” “I said, I don’t know.””….” With a therapy dog, there would then be no pressure to be a normal human, a Jessica of dignified calmness. I can be a mad witch with no eyebrows. “I am scared.” (dog places paw on my hand) “I need love.” (dog switches left paw for right paw) “Help.” (dog breathes deeply)

It is not the same as not valuing relationships. I do enjoy relationships, even when I am not on the same wavelength as the other person. It is then an exciting challenge to see if one day, we will finally be on the same frequency. It is just a trade-off between my personal, very comfortable bed, and going out and having that little panicky feeling when the crowds converge on me at the MRT station, and then finally giving up and escaping on an Uber ride that is 20$ because of the peak-hour surcharge. So much for Uber pool, it is usually only 5$ cheaper max.