The man on the right struggles with leaving his puppy with his friend in Yerevan.

Big Love in a Small Package: Heartbreak in Yerevan


YEREVAN — It was my last day in Armenia. I had travelled there to report on the elevation of the Very Rev. Daniel Findikyan, the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), to the rank of Bishop by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

I decided to walk through the streets of Yerevan and people watch.

On a side street, I saw a young, tall man holding the leash of his dog, who was shaking uncontrollably, his eyes planted firmly on the man’s face. I approached him and asked if everything was alright. Looking sadly at the dog, he did not answer. I asked if he lived in Armenia. He said he was from Damascus, Syria, and his parents, who had fled the war in Syria, were now living in Yerevan.

He said he would be returning to Damascus, because as a goldsmith, he would receive more work and higher pay in order to support his parents. Why had he brought his dog with him if he was returning to Damascus, I asked.

Looking at the dog, he quietly answered that he would be giving up the pup to a friend because there was regular bombing in Damascus and he did not want the dog to be killed.

Soon a woman joined him. She was carrying a bag. She apparently had gone shopping and had bought clothes and food for the puppy.

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He held and kissed the trembling dog for more than five minutes, crying all the time, even though the woman assured him that she would love and care for the pup, and send him weekly e-mails with photos.

As she walked away with the dog, who continued to shake and look at him, he continued to sob, turning away so I would not see his tears. I found myself crying with him.

He refused to talk any further or give his name for safety reasons.

For some people, this small story of a small dog and his human may not seem like a tragedy, but it symbolizes the emotional devastation and separation that persists on a personal level in a world of cruelty, and never-ending warfare.

It also demonstrates the indelible love between a human being and his soulmate for whom no effort can ever be too much.

Topics: Animals
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