Narrow Paths, Wide Hearts


The path may be narrow, but our heart can be wide. Rain forces pedestrians to take the 5 foot way skimming the shophouses at East Coast Road.

As I was waiting for the rain to stop, a man was trying to restrain their dog from entering the Harvest Bowl Salad cafe where his wife had gone to buy their takeaway dinners.

Their dog, being larger than the usual street dogs, was a challenge to contain. And the rain had forced passers by directly onto the path of the duo. Most people looked at man with dog kindly, but a few gave disapproving looks as if to say, “Dunno how to control your dog, why take him out?”

I would learn later that this was the first time the nervous dog had been in a rainy and crowded setting.

The man appeared apologetic for blocking the path. He was also looking increasingly stressed by the constant stream of people brushing past them.

“What a lovely dog you have!” I called out to the man. It was an attempt to break the spell of unease. It worked. He smiled. The dog also stopped rearing up & charging at the cafe entrance.

Then I suggested that he led his dog away from the cafe and to my side to limit the canine’s range of vision & thus reduce his fixation on the other human caregiver. (Thank you NatGeo & Caesar Milan)

So under the drumming rain in the sheltered walkway, we chatted about animal rescue work. The dog whose head reached my waist, started sniffing the air and looking at the passing street cars like a curious child.

The man & his wife had been feeding stray dogs in forested areas. It was where they found their dog and his litter mates.

Finally the man’s wife appeared with their long awaited dinner. Their dog pranced in delirious joy to see that his family was complete again!

Before we parted, the wife who preferred the company of animals to humans, asked me gently if I had an umbrella and how I was going to get home.

Looking back, wherever there is kindness, we’re home. So that come rain or shine, separation or union, we will always belong. And even if the path is narrow, our heart can be wide. 🙏

Pilgrims circumabulate the Boudha Stupa alongside dogs who have made the UNESCO World Heritage site home.

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