A Man's Best Friend
I recently found a book that I gave Kate for Christmas in 2008. It is a small picture book with every kind of dog breed, including my favorite: mutts. Below each picture is a quotes from the likes of Bronte, Faulkner, even Roosevelt. Dogs had great meaning to these people. They were love notes of sorts, acting as accolades to their four legged honorees who had helped them through many hard times. The accidents and other bad things the pups did weren’t mentioned because these animals weren’t just pets - they were family. It has been this way for many centuries and will continue to be so for hundreds of years to come.
My family has four dogs and two cats. I tend to prefer felines, but I can’t resist a smile when a pooch jumps into my lap and just washes me with kisses and love that is easily seen in their eyes. They just make everything a little bit better.
But they sure are a lot of work, aren’t they? Our first dog, Giant, (who is 14 and still going strong) is an Airedale mix. She was the first dog I had ever seen get car sick. She not only lost her bowels, but it seemed she had no intention of stopping. Of course, this was on the freeway no more than ten miles away from home. Even just driving to the vet is an iffy excursion. But man does Kate love that dog! Unfortunately, Giant’s hips are going out, but when she looks at you, it is almost like she is shouting “I love you!” That is a true gift.
Since, we have added two Fox Terriers who have both started to look rather barrel-like in their physique. They will not be entrants into any dog show and they are not very smart. But they do have this little thing they do - whenever a siren is close, they both tilt their heads back and howell like a wolves. It would probably be annoying if they didn’t look so cute when they did so.
And finally, we have Romeo. I got him for Kate during a very sad time in her life. He is close to perfect, that is, except for his barking disorder. Once he starts, it is hard to get him to stop. We have bought treats from this trainer that we were supposed to give him when he barked. Then there were the treats we had to give him when he didn’t bark. No wonder he hasn’t figured it out yet. He is 8 now, and I long ago stopped hoping he would change. Would I ever get rid of him? Not a chance in the world.
It is amazing that we have learned to cohabitate with different species. We not only live with them, we alter our lives for them. We spend a lot of money to keep them vaccinated, groomed, and even buy them little outfits.
One day, Giant will need to be put to sleep. I cannot make myself go in there when it happens, Kate does that. She even sat with our hairless Guinea pig when she died of scurvy. Yes, you read that right. The day Giant passes is closer than any of us like to think about. I have already picked the perfect place for her ashes to be buried. She will be the dog we never ever forget. We will tell our grandkids about her, and we won’t be ashamed for them to see the tears in our eyes when we think of her.
Maybe you can’t teach a dog new tricks, but we sure do enjoy them regardless. We love how they look at us when we come home after a hard day. How they know just when to lay down next to us, giving a lick here and there. One day Giant, and soon after the others, will go on ahead of us. And if we are lucky, and I mean super lucky, when our time comes, that same loving face will greet us at the gates of heaven. Their eyes will shout “I love you!” And us? We will say it back to them in kind, because we all know, dogs are a man’s best friend.
2008: it was a great Christmas! Do any of you have dogs or other pets that are special? Have a great weekend! We’ll talk again on Monday, I’ll bring the coffee.