I’m sure you’ve heard the story about the boy who was raised with wolves. Well, I was raised with pugs. Yes. My father was a pug lover and never lived a day of his adult life without one. Pugsy was the first, although I was too young to remember him. Sam was next – as in Samatha – and what I remember about her was that she was old and cranky, my least favorite of all of our family dogs. But the best thing about Sam is that she was impregnated by a collie mix who jumped over a fence into our backyard with the result being, Skeezie (named for the comic strip character Skeezix), the first dog officially acknowledged as mine. But the purpose of this article isn’t to give you a detailed history of my family pets (although I’ve listed them all at the end of this post as a sort of memoriam). This article is about why having a dog has filled up my life and made me a better person.
I’ve always had a dog and always will. They bring me happiness that can’t be described on paper. Us humans can learn so much from them. I tell my husband that I wished he could wag his tail like my dog when I got home from work each day. My dog acts as if I’ve been gone a month! And every day, that small action melts my heart.
Having a dog has taught me responsibility. I remember taking the plunge 6 months after getting married at age 22. We picked out a Bernese Mountain dog and named him Burkie (after my father-in-law). He was excellent practice before having our first daughter a year later.
Having a dog has filled my life with laughter and funny stories to tell. There is usually at least one chuckle a day as the parent of a dog and at a minimum a half dozen good smiles. And every dog has its own distinct personality. I had a dog who loved to chew on wood. He did a number on the back legs of a rocking chair and the corner of a coffee table. Another dog had a thing for technology – he chewed on some computer cords and a surge protector! Maybe he didn't like all the time I spent on the computer!!! And we had one that liked girl’s underwear. In fact, we found a pair in the back yard one day after he pooped!!! And I won’t even tell you what the vet found in an x-ray when that dog clearly had eaten something he shouldn’t have… But I will say it was one of the five most embarrassing moments of my life. (If you are overly curious, I’ll give you a hint: he got it out of the bathroom trash can.)
Having a dog has made me more compassionate. There is something about a dog that makes me want to give back to it. Perhaps it’s their innocence I sense and their desire to please. Whatever it is, not once have I ever walked by a dog and not petted and squeaky-talked to it. They all deserve our attention and respect.
Having a dog has allowed me to introduce dog love to others. When I started dating my husband a few years ago my children were grown and living on their own, but I was still a package deal - I came with my long-haired Chihuahua. And to be honest a Chihuahua would not be my rugby-playing husband’s first choice for a dog. It was almost a deal breaker because my husband didn’t get the dog love thing. He had never owned one & had never had that bond with a pet and definitely didn’t ever stop and pet one on the street. Unfortunately my dog was a bit leery of him because he sensed the void. And everyone knows a Chihuahua is pretty picky about who he lets into his life! Well, over time, I’m thankful to say, the bond has formed and my husband is now a victim of the love of a dog. He totally gets it and is a huge sap when it comes to “our” Chihauhua.
If you are a dog owner, go and give yours a big hug and a kiss for me. Then look him in the eye and tell him how much he means to you. If you aren’t a dog owner, you should consider becoming one. Having a dog will enrich your life in ways you never thought possible. Ask my husband. :)
(This post was written as a tribute to “Annie” who passed away last Saturday. She was the beloved pet of my son-in-law’s family.)
The dogs in my life (in chronological order)
Dobby (named for the house elf in Harry Potter for all you non HP fans...)