Divas and Dogs

Last week, two phenomena totally occupied our attention: a diva and a dog.

Susan Boyle, a 47 year old Scottish villager and a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent”, stunned the world with her musical performance.  The world reacted by viewing her video on You Tube close to 15 million times.  Bo, the Obama’s new dog, also garnered the nation’s attention, with well-known columnists all adding their opinion on the worthiness and values and importance of living with a dog.  The list of writers who felt the need to comment on Bo was astounding, as was the Op-Ed pages of the nation’s leading newspapers and websites that published their thoughts.  Why did these two events create such a  heartfelt outpouring all over the world?

The answer lies in purity of purpose.  Susan Boyle is a quiet, shy woman who has spent her life taking care of her mother.  She has never married, never even been kissed, and lives a sheltered life in a quiet Scottish village, doing charity work and performing karaoke at the local pub.  Her life seems to be stripped of the hustle and bustle of daily living as we know it.  She appears to be possessed of no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda, other than the fulfilling her mother’s and her own dream of becoming a successful singer.  That is the purity of purpose that hit us so hard in our hearts and minds.  Whether her situation was defined by geography or life choice, Ms. Boyle had this one opportunity to show the world her talent, and sure enough, that talent set the world on fire.

There have been other instances where hugely talented people have been plucked out of obscurity and soared on the wings of fame and recognition.  The Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who lived from 1887 to 1920, was one of those people.  He was from a very small town in India and by the age of 13, he had mastered, to a great degree, advanced mathematics.  Around the age of 25, he found his mentor in G. H. Hardy of Cambridge, who brought him to that university.  The body of his work was brilliant.  Unfortunately, he died an early death from tuberculosis.  His story, just like Ms. Boyle’s, was riveting.

Bo’s story is similar in that it is also based on simplicity and core values.  It is rather a unanimous consensus that a dog is one of the most soothing, unconditionally loving events that can happen to a human being.  Have a look at this week’s “The New Yorker” cover:


With the White House in the background, we are reminded it is a symbol of  everything that is frenetic and stressful.  Then in the foreground is Bo.  There is nothing else around him.  That is because he is the uncomplicated symbol of joy and friendship, plain and simple.  In our complicated lives, it is so soothing to come home to a completely accepting, loving buddy.

My oldest friend this week lost her 15 year old Labrador Retriever, Midnight.  I have never heard of a Lab living that long, so I take my hat off to my friend for caring and loving Midnight so well.  Midnight was the first of my friend’s three dogs.  My friend was always a bit cautious in life, but I noticed that after she brought Midnight into her life, she became more laid back, more accepting and her degree of rigidity thawed.  This wonderful dog just seemed to melt away life’s stresses.  It is often thought that the dog is man’s servant and the human is the dog’s master.  I beg to differ with that.  The dog is the master, and the owner is his servant.  And that is precisely what makes living with a dog so meaningful, healthful and therapeutic.  The best we can do is to give these pets the best life possible while they are here on earth with us.  Their effects on us will outlive their own lives, and their memories will always be with us.  Their main goal, besides eating, is to love us, which is so pure an objective that we respond with awe and fulfillment.  It is we humans  who are eternally grateful to them for their pure faithfulness.  Here’s to you, Midnight:

Ms. Boyle and Bo showed us, on a gut level, how rewarding — and unfortunately, often rare — it is to be of a single purpose.  Life in general does not usually allow us to be so  pure in our goals, what with constantly juggling the demands of every day life.  So when events, such as Ms. Boyle’s performance and Bo’s adoption, comes across our radar, we take a deep breath, contemplate the moment’s significance  and appreciate what really matters.  If we can use those moments to add perspective to all of our other moments, we are much better off than before.


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5 Responses to “Divas and Dogs”

  1. ERG Says:


    Lovely tribute to Midnight – thank you. And yes, she did help me unwind a little. It’s hard to be rigid when you have a very active lab puppy running around trying to eat everything that’s not nailed down! 15 years wasn’t enough, that’s for sure.

    Thanks again for thinking of us. And the rest of the article is right on.


  2. Natalie R Says:

    Wonderful post. Makes me cry as Susan Boyle did. She is uniquely pure among the human species.

    We feel the same way about our 18 year old cat, Sugar, as you and your friend thought about your dogs. Last night our cat went downstairs and went into a little basket which is unusual. My partner thought she might have died but alas to our happiness she lives on. The is the smartest, loveliest cat we have ever had and when I wake up in the a.m. she is right there at my head purring, and I call it “southpawing” me. She always uses her left paw to nudge my face waiting for me to kretzel (pet) her and then give her breakfast. In the p.m. she waits at the end of the hall for her last look at what’s out there as like a ritual before going to bed we pick her up put her near the window, open the window for her and us to just enjoy the trees rustling, the rain or even the snow and now the birdies. Cats have great night vision. She is riveted even at an age that is the human equivalent of 88. She is SHARP as she was at 5.

    We will never have another cat like her and we keep telling her every day how much we love her and how much WE need her. There is something intangible about the human/animal bond. I think it’s pure love … at least for humans as the simplicity of their existence is like Nirvana to us. I HOPE our little buddies feel the same love back to us too!

  3. Natalie R Says:

    p.s. GREAT picture in the New Yorker of Bo and the White House…..some people do WONDERFUL and BRILLIANT things as it captures Bo juxtaposed against the humongous White House PERFECTLY. A picture speaks louder MUCH louder than any amount of words ever could. It says it all.

  4. Christian Yorke Says:

    Hi Yo Mama,

    Thought I’d drop you a line from sunny England. I recently met Suzie Boyle. I have to tell you that she was yelling at a shop assistant in London. There was quite a crowd, but that didn’t stop her. Maybe that behaviour means she has star quality although quite honestly it was a horrific scene. Still, Simon Cowell will doubtless make another fortune exploiting the poor lass.



  5. yomamaforobama Says:

    Hi CY-
    Thanks for your thoughts from across the pond. Yeah, I guess everything and everyone gets corrupted. Tell me more about the specifics of that scene with Suzie.
    Best, Yo Mama

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