What dogs are for….
My husband and I have been having a discussion about whether or not to get another dog. Okay, it’s a disagreement. He says no, while I say yes. We have been having this argument for about 24 years now, through various dogs.
So, last week, he said to me, “Explain to me why you want another dog.” I hemmed and hawed and threw out some inarticulate dribble about ‘feelings’ and ‘joy’ and ‘can’t really explain’. Not an effective answer. Very unsatisfying for both of us. So, the next day, I sat at my computer and composed this note to him.
You asked me why I want another dog. That is a valid question that prompted me to put into words, what our past, present and future dogs mean to me.
I love them for their unique personalities, quirks and qualities. Like people, they each bring something to my life. They force us to realize that all creatures have a perspective and have needs and desires. I love that.
Skelo was loyal and responsible and completely committed to you. He was the grown-up dog, who kept the other dogs in line. He tolerated very little nonsense from the others.
Kodiak was a clown, with a sensitive side. He loved people and beer and crashing the neighbors’ poker parties. He accepted the younger, more obnoxious dogs with a sense of humor and tolerance.
Feta was a rock star; she had to be the center of attention and had to win every competition. She could be hard-assed and aggressive, but was nurturing and sweet if you were sick or helpless. I still miss her smart-assiness every day.
Samson was…Samson. Dopey and distracted but very loving and sweet.
Chili was complex and smart as a whip; she was moody and beautiful. She was my soulmate, who gazed into my eyes and trusted me implicitly. She had a dry, but well-developed sense of humor and she liked to watch dog shows with me on TV. I looked forward to waking up and seeing her sweet face, every single day of her life.
Junior is sweet and forgiving, with the soul of a poet. You can see in his eyes that he just wants to be loved and praised. He is a lover, not a fighter and he loves you the most. And he can run in the tightest, fastest circles that I’ve ever seen.
All of them have brought such joy and love and humor into our lives. Just like people. Their spirits are as important to me as the human spirits in my life. Maybe more so.
They love us fully and boundlessly. They don’t expect perfection or make me feel guilty or judge me for my screw ups or lack of grace. They don’t care if my radio ratings are good or bad and they don’t hold grudges. They are far nobler than many humans I’ve known.
They eat with gusto and allow me to put coats and life vests on them. They sing along with your saxophone and dig big holes in the yard. They charm our visitors and share our love of beets, sweet potatoes, popcorn and sports. They accept our quirks.
We are a family and since neither one of us have a huge tribe of human friends in our lives, I feel like our dogs are my tribe. I need them in order to survive and to thrive. I realize that you may not see it the way that I do, but a life without dogs is just too hard for me and I’m grateful that you allow them into our lives.
Our new puppy is another spirit that will touch us in her way. Sweetness, light, humor and playfulness emanate from her. She will fit in nicely and maybe even kill a mouse or two. She will bring love to our little family…and she will come when we call her. I guarantee it….
So, there it is. Thank you for your patience with me. You too, are full of light, humor and forgiveness; those qualities are of the highest value in our tribe.