No, I’m not talking about a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou; that’s Omar Kyam. This I and Thou comes from the writings of Martin Buber, a writer and philosopher who lived from 1878 to 1965. Buber made a huge distinction between I and it encounters (that’s the way we perceive objects: a sunset, a rainbow, a painting, even a pile of garbage.) You are the “I’ and the thing you perceive is an “it.” Buber said that meetings between people are often limited to being I-it meetings because people have preconceptions, make judgments, or think only about how the other person may affect them. I-thou meetings, or relationships, on the other hand are just the opposite. There are no preconceptions, no judgements, and no desire to “use” the other person. If we bring this into the world of people and animals, admiring a beautiful Irish Setter, Samoyed, or Collie can be an I- thou experience, or an I-it experience depending on one’s capacity to suspend judgment. Insisting that one’s dog be always obedient and follow all commands without thinking, that he or she regard you as the “alpha” –these are all indicative of I-it relationships. Truly intimate adult relationships, parents and children, and between people and their best friends with 4 paws–these are all I and Thou relationships.