By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
This month we have the confluence of two events – Dash’s 5th birthday and Thanksgiving. Since so many of our readers are animal lovers I am dedicating this week’s blog to dogs – something for which we can truly be grateful.
“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” Roger A. Caras
I lost my last dog in 1983 and longed for one every day after that. I desperately wanted to replace her, but my husband kept pointing out that with our work and travel schedules it just wasn’t fair to the dog. Frankly, I think he just didn’t want to pick up dog poop, but I had to admit he was right – we were too busy. Still, life felt empty without a dog. Finally, in 2012 we dog-sat for our kids while they were on vacation and, to his credit, my husband saw how much I loved having a dog by my side. He told me to start looking for a puppy. Much research later, I was referred to Kelly Collins of Spice Rack Cavaliers. When we went to interview her (and her, us!) I was a bit nervous about how my husband would react but my worry was misplaced. Within minutes, seven Cavaliers jumped on his lap and he was immediately reduced to baby-talk and dog hugs. We were lucky enough to get a dog from an upcoming litter and in February 2013 Dash the Wonder Dog entered our lives.
“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an empty space we don’t even know we have.” Thom Jones
People ask why I refer to Dash as “The Wonder Dog”. It’s simply this – he has changed our lives for the better since the day he joined our home. My husband who really didn’t want a dog? Now he won’t leave Dash alone for more than three hours. He and Dash conspired not only to have Dash sleep in our bed but to have his own pillow. I have seen the most wonderful side of my husband in his caring for our sweet little pup. For me, nothing soothes a bad day or a friend’s slight like walking into the house and being greeted by Dash’s wagging tail. Even if I’ve just gone to the post box, he runs around as if I’ve been gone for weeks. And it’s not just us that he helps. Each Saturday I am his Uber driver that takes him to work at a local elder care center. It’s safe to say that just a lick on the nose or a gentle stroking of his soft fur provides comfort like nothing else could. If that doesn’t qualify as a Wonder Dog, I don’t know what does.
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” Andy Rooney
Our friends now joke that they have a high bar to meet in order to get us to go out to dinner – is it a more attractive offer than staying home with Dash? That is a slight exaggeration, but only by a bit. I will say that Dash has had a way of helping us prioritize our time. Before we had him, we pretty much accepted every request for dinner or party invitation. Now, we really do wrestle with whether we would rather spend our time with the people involved or Dash. NOTHING is better than Dash curled up next to me, sometimes resting his chin on my leg, but I do realize that we could easily become hermits if we stay home with him every night. Still…the sight of him waiting for us at the door whenever we go out breaks my heart. And there’s not many people at a cocktail party who will do that!
“So this is where we part, My Friend, and you’ll run on, around the bend…And as you journey to your final rest, take with you this…I loved you best.” Jim Willis
It is so heartbreaking to lose a dog. We have lost two in our family this year. Good dogs, who brought so much joy and love. Unfortunately, that is the deal we enter into when we get a dog – we know from the outset that they don’t live nearly long enough. Still, the joy of having one outweighs the grief. Or as someone said, owning a dog will bring you many happy days and one horrible one. Which is why, every day, I try to appreciate Dash and all that he brings to us. He gets lots of belly rubs, blueberries and all the toys he can rip through in 10 minutes. Spoiled? You bet! But it’s not like he’s going to grow up to become an axe murderer. He never asks for money, the car keys or breaks his curfew so I figure there’s no harm. Plus, that’s part of the joy of owning a dog – especially a Wonder Dog.
This being Thanksgiving week we would like to wish you and yours – and your dogs – a very happy Thanksgiving. And while we have a great family that gets along, I leave you with this final quote in case you are dreading your Drunk Uncle over the holiday:
“Dogs are God’s way of apologizing for your family.” Anonymous