by Dave McKague
My Dog Teaches … Love
Some wag may say that the ability to enjoy simple, mindless activities while not talking is why a dog is considered to be a man’s best friend, and not a woman’s. However, women who have become extremely devoted to their dogs may disagree and contend that this relationship with our pets is formed on a much deeper level than this.
Kidding aside, people do become emotionally attached to their animals in ways that, for those who have never had pets, may be hard to comprehend. I certainly did not anticipate how close Hunny and I would become when she entered my life. I cannot explain why it happened – but I will try (without even touching upon all the cute expressions and lovable antics that help to define her personality and make her so endearing).
It started with that look in Hunny’s eyes. That look of eagerness and excitement reminding us that life is wonderful and joyful and fun. That the sadness of yesterday has no place in today, which we can create to our own liking. And that all the happiness we find comes from within.
Like the joy we see on our children’s faces as they discover a slithery worm or a colorful rock, Hunny reminds me that we can find pleasure in simple things. Frolicking in the lake on a hot summer’s day. Pulling a big tree branch out of the woods to have a new toy to play with. Jumping and rolling in the deep snow in January. And, of course, endlessly playing fetch with the ball.
I cannot help but be uplifted in my own mood as I watch Hunny and her joy for life. It appears that this is the role she has adopted for herself – to raise the spirits of the people around her. And she fulfills this function splendidly.
She wants to be by my side as much as possible, and because I spend a lot of time traveling in my car visiting customers or working from my home office, we are together most of the day. If I am gone, even for a few minutes, the enthusiasm with which I am greeted would melt any heart.
Because Hunny has such a desire to please, she seems to know instinctively what she can and cannot do. She will chew on plastic bottles from the recycling bin but will not chew anything of value. If I am preparing food in the kitchen I am fair game for scraps, but as soon as I sit down to eat Hunny will leave the room and not beg further. I can leave meat and other foodstuffs unattended and know that she will not touch them without my permission. And if she is about to do something she shouldn’t, a quick "No" is enough to restrain her.
On the extremely rare occasion that I have to scold her for some indiscretion, she makes a comical sight sheepishly and remorsefully slinking along the ground at the slightest harsh word. Afterwards, she looks for the first opportunity to get back into my good graces; when she is comfortable that all is forgiven, she washes my face with her kisses.
When playtime is finished, Hunny settles down into an affectionate companionship, as if to let me know that she is always my friend. She likes to lie beside me when I am working in my office. When she isn’t alertly watching the world go by as we drive in the car, she lies across the passenger seat with her chin on my lap. At night, she snuggles up to me in bed, usually with her head resting on an arm or a leg. With affection so strong from my dog, it would be impossible for me not to return it in kind. I love to see the contentment in her face as I stroke her, often the last thing we are aware of before we both fall asleep.
Yes, I admit that I do love my dog. I know I am biased, but she is close to being the perfect dog and the perfect companion. Oh, did I mention that the Ontario government has, in its misguided and ill-informed efforts, banned Hunny and other dogs like her? You see, she happens to be an American Staffordshire Terrier – classified by our lawmakers as a "pit bull".
Previous "Petitorial" articles by David McKague:
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