I just happened to step out onto the front yard of a friend’s house when a woman was walking with her dog down the road.

The owner spoke. The dog stopped in its tracks with its front legs spread apart and stared at me. I smiled and greeted the woman. Evidently, this exchange of greetings made the dog feel that I was okay.

The dog (not known whether the dog was male or female) started running around in wide circles from the road into the yard, circles that got closer and closer to me. 

Its owner, still standing in the road, yelled that the dog was showing off for me. 

I smiled even more. 

I actually thought the dog was going to run into me, but after a few circles, it stopped in front of me. 

I reached down and rubbed its head and back. Its owner said something about the dog liking that.

At some point, the owner called the dog, and after making it sit down on the curb to wait for cars to pass, the woman and her dog continued on their walk.

What a pleasant diversion the woman’s dog had given me, a sunbeam, a temporary reprieve from the harrowing deluge of mass murders, destructive fires, floods, earthquakes, and actions of demonic/sadistic leaders.

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”  (St. Francis of Assissi, 1181/1182-1226; born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher)

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” — St. Francis of Assissi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi, born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Gujarat, India; 1869-1948; an Indian activist

“Four legs good, two legs bad.” — “Animal Farm” by Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950, better known by his pen name George Orwell; English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic