of dogs and men...We're all familiar with the Truth about Cats and Dogs, and probably all have our own variations on the theme. After discovering my own "truth" on the matter, I have embarked on defining it in terms of my own life.

A bit of background first. A friend of mine believes in the evolution of the soul through many different lifetimes. The difficulty of life is directly proportional to the level of evolution your soul has achieved. She further believes that, the more difficult your life is during the current iteration, the more evolved your soul has become. In other words, the tests you are given in first grade pale in complexity with the tests you are given in tenth.

Although I myself do not espouse this belief, some of the tests I have been presented with seem pretty harsh, especially in comparison to those little quizzes some of my friends - mostly male - have been subjected to. Oh, sure, they may THINK their lives are full of challenges, but walk in my fuzzy slippers for a month or so, my friend...

Armed with all this life experience, fueled by the seemingly deeper understanding of the world of some of my more "evolved" friends, and assuming that soul evolution exists, I am suggesting the following extension of these beliefs and theories.

When a soul is born, it starts its journey as a dog, most likely a Golden Retriever, needing much human attention and love. How difficult are their tests? Their entire goal in life is to please their caregivers (or anyone else who wants to pet them), eat, sleep, and look perfectly cute. Once the soul leaves this cocoon, it travels through its evolution by being a variety of less desirable dogs, whose life is slightly less perfect each time around, giving way to more stringent tests. Once the soul reaches its life as a sick, homeless, unattractive dog, graduation day has come upon it.

Next task: a man. A slightly more evolved, weathered soul is now ready to be human, and what easier way to start itself off on this next journey than as a man. The tests, though now more difficult, are still filled with only minor challenges. They do become more and more demanding as evolution continues, until, one day, when all looks gloomy, the soul has passed its final test to graduate to the next level: a woman.

Here, the tests become more serious. The physical challenges are only the beginning. As a woman, you gain a deeper understanding of how the world functions (hence, this theory), you learn to dispense advice based on your newfound appreciation and knowledge, and you often wonder why it is SOOOO much easier to be a man. Girlfriend, you've been there, done that - you just don't remember. By the time you start wishing to be back in those simpler times, you have again passed the last challenge to move on.

The final frontier: becoming a cat. This is what you have been studying for, more and more each time a new test was given. This is your reward. You are now free to do whatever you want, without any care for anyone, especially not that caregiver human whose home you have made your own. You know more than they do anyway. You can take care of yourself, thank you very much. You know what everyone around you is thinking, you make them wonder what you're up to, and you look at everyone with disdain. After all, you've earned it. To become a cat is the ultimate in soul achievement.

Based on the difficulty of some of the tests life has thrown me, combined with some of the gifts that have been bestowed upon me, I have to believe that I am somewhere half-way between starting out at the woman stage and becoming a cat. My circle of friends consists of those just entering the man stage to those who are primed for cat-dom. Some have even jumped several evolution cycles, going directly from being a Golden Retriever to being a human male. They often go through life unscathed by the normal pressures, coming out smelling like a rose each time they have been submerged in a pile of manure. They'll get theirs. My theory is that you still need to take all the tests before you can become a cat, so start suffering...I mean, studying.


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