When I was a kid I wanted a dog more than anything in the world. My parents tried a couple of times, but they didn’t know anything about dogs and twice adopted beagles… Then they gave up.
When I was in high school, I found a big red puppy and brought him home. That didn’t go well. He was great to go hiking with in the hills, but he wanted more than that — and deserved more than that, but I didn’t know how to train him. He was adopted by a farmer and went to live on a “farm.” We all know that can mean anything. Then my boyfriend brought me a puppy (I think he was a corgi) for Valentine’s day and I managed to train him. He fit in well, but soon I went away to school, dad went away to the nursing home, my brother went away to godnose where in downtown Colorado Springs and mom was home alone with the dog. The dog went nuts. Mom found a home for him. A real home this time.
20 years later I brought home my first real dog. Since then I’ve had nearly 20 dogs. At least that childhood dream came true.
I was out with Bear this evening. Usually Dusty T. Dog, Bear and I take our walks in the evening in summer, but sometimes Dusty doesn’t go. Tonight, being the 4th of July, I have drugged my poor hysterical boy, and by the time it was time for us to head out, he was too sleepy. Bear and I went alone.
When I’m out with Bear I don’t even want to come home. I could go forever and ever with her. She’s one of the dogs in my life who is not “just” a dog but a companion, an accomplice, a friend. There have been four others. I have loved and appreciated all my dogs — and they’ve been very different creatures from each other — but these five dogs have something unfathomable and precious, and all were — are — fun to be around. I have no idea what creates that bond between human and dog. I think it’s like people. We don’t like everybody the same way.
None of these dogs “Lassie” or “Rin-tin-tin.” None of the five have been especially “trained” or did any tricks. Instead, they’ve been somehow wise and slightly wild, or, rather, independent. I never thought any of them were trying to please me, though Bear is unhappy if she knows she’s made me unhappy.
Maybe when I was a kid, I already sensed the greatness of dogs and how happy I would be living with them. I don’t know. But it was always there.