“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

I have had some amazing animal experiences on my walks outdoors. I don’t own a pet, so most of my experiences have been with undomesticated animals. I’ve had some pretty awesome, inspiring moments with butterflies, dragonflies, hawks, bunnies, and a squirrel family in the past.

Today, the inspiration comes from a man and his two dogs I encountered on a walk. Everything was calm, until it wasn’t. The dogs started barking ferociously and pulling their owner towards the intended target. I couldn’t see what their target was. I heard the owner call his dogs by name and he told them to “Sit!” The dogs were still pulling on their leashes and barking ferociously; a tussle ensued. Again he insisted the dogs sit down—then added, “and be calm with this kind cat!” He did not budge until both dogs were not barking and sitting facing the cat (who hovered under a car). He made them sit calmly for a little bit before he continued his walk with them.

I’ve never seen a pet owner handle the situation quite like he did, and it really touched me. I felt deep respect for him. He easily could’ve just walked on and never used it as a teaching moment. I was so inspired by this man teaching his dogs such beautiful lessons. One that I hope inspires all of us!

If a man can teach his dogs to be kind to a cat—surely as humans—we can teach ourselves to be kind to others. First, choose to sit, be calm, and reflect. Then, choose a non-violent path with others. We can even go a step further and show some kindness!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.