Our furry family members
I smiled as I read Lea Hanson’s story about getting a new puppy for her household. Puppies are wonderful, horrible things and her story pushed me down memory lane and maybe you’ll go there too. I thought of Maggie, a great Pyrenees who was a puppy when Aly was born. They were both so cute. Maggie became Aly’s companion and protector. Never aggressive, she would just place herself between Aly and anything she perceived as a potential threat.
And then we got Oly, a gentle Newfoundland. Andy played so hard with Oly. In fact, he had an era of shirts that had torn cuffs from wrestling and chasing. And the list goes on through Dale, Daisy, Betty, Frida and Charlie. You might have a similar list and it’s funny how the introduction of a puppy is different at different ages. Lea talks about this with how her 11-year-old daughter has stepped up to care for their new puppy.
So I started wondering about why we love our dogs, because, frankly, there are some times when I’m not sure why we have them around. Of course, there’s the unconditional love thing. They are always so happy to see us walk through that door. It’s clear time and time again that we are the most important thing in the world to them and not just because we feed them and walk them. They know that we’re all part of this together. And they are all in. Even Frida, a street dog who we got used, is fully part of the pack now.
So we got the unconditional love thing and the practical stuff such as they get us to go out for walks and they protect us or at least alert us when something is amiss, which turns out to be a pretty big list in our household.
But I think there is something else. I’m reminded of a bumper sticker (because that’s where you can distill wisdom down to 10 words or so) that said, Oh Lord, please make me the person that my dog thinks I am. And in some ways, I think that our dogs make us rise. Our daughter, Aly, has a lab mix who needs a special diet, I guess, so Aly cooks her food for every meal, food that looks pretty dang good. It gives me hope that when I’m older and more enfeebled that I can get a meal out of her every once in while too.
I think that when we get home and we’re greeted with the round of slobberies that we feel better and that we’re likely to be nicer to others. Dog as a pebble in the ripple effect. And I think many of us have met someone in some capacity that affected our lives, even if just for that moment, while out walking a dog. Dogs ask us to be our better selves and then accept us completely as we are.
I’m reminded of a dog meme that has a wolf thinking, Gee, that fire sure looks nice. What’s the worst that could happen? Then the caption says, 10,000 years later, and the next picture is of a pug dressed up like a sunflower.
Have a woofing great holiday and don’t forget to get Fido a bone, too
Scott loves being a parent and has been covering parenting topics for Rocky Mountain Parent for 25 years. He has written for a variety of local and national publications and taught magazine writing at CSU.