In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pride and Joy.” What’s your most prized possession?
Dusty, Mindy and Bear but are they “possessions”? It’s more like I’m possessed. 🙂 Dogs are pets for some people, children for others. For me they’re friends. When I was an avid hiker, they were the only “people” around who were ALWAYS up for a hike.
I knew when I was a very small child that I wanted to live with dogs but never got the chance until I was in my mid-thirties and found myself with a big brown and white puppy in my arms. I took her home to show my then husband who immediately named her “Truffle.” I hadn’t been on a hiking trail in years, but that Thanksgiving, having heard of a spot in San Diego where we could see changing colored leaves, we went to Mission Trails Regional Park. I immediately fell in love with it. A few days later my puppy — then about 5 months old — and I went for a hike. I wasn’t in very good physical shape and she was just a pup, but we went as far as we could. That became my life with my dogs for the next almost twenty years. We went as far as we could just about every day. The photo above is Truffle and Molly (my second dog) at a solstice circle on the top of a small mountain at Mission Trails Regional Park in 1992 or so.
Now I have three dogs (optimal number for me in my experience). Dusty has never enjoyed hiking in the way my other dogs have. It’s just not who he is. Mindy has never had the chance. Bear? Her breed is a low-energy dog and my research into giant breeds has cautioned me against really long walks until she’s full grown. Veterinary science now believes hip dysplasia in large dogs comes from allowing a pup too grow too fast (too much food) and too much hard exercises before the bones are fully grown. I don’t know — maybe in 10 years that will be discovered to be bogus advice, but I don’t want my puppy to suffer later on. We go about a mile and a quarter every day. We got there by taking two short walks a day but now we do one long one.
What do I get out of it besides the opportunity to buy dog food and constantly clean up after them? I really like dogs, all dogs. Dogs like me — and always have. I’ve never had to do anything special for them to recognize me as the “alpha” — it’s never been an issue. Somehow I’ve always had credibility to dogs. I’ve never expected dogs to be people, and I know they know I’m not a dog. I believe we have the team mentality early dogs and early hunters shared. I know when we’re hiking, to the dogs we’re hunting.
Anyway, life without dogs? It may come to that down the road, but it will be a greatly diminished life when it does.