by Tammy Surline
An article appeared in the latest issue of DogFancy entitled “Do Dogs Love?” What a ridiculous question! This was about as ground-breaking as if they’d asked if the Pope believed in Jesus. Of course dogs love. The very idea someone would have to ponder that question had me worked into such a lather I just had to jot down my own thoughts on the subject. Unfortunately, I have not been able to time this with any pertinent events, such as National Dog Day, which is August 26th, or National Adopt-a-Dog month, which is October. Even National Hairball Awareness Day isn’t until the last Friday in April, but I guess that applies more to cats anyway.
What is my proof, you ask? Over the years, many dogs have touched my life in a myriad of ways. In childhood, Tinker taught me the responsibility of pet ownership. She also taught me a thing or two about growing up. Then there was Pepper, a smart black poodle who wouldn’t leave my side every time I returned from college. If only the dorms had allowed dogs. Then came Fancy, my beloved cocker spaniel of 16 years. She and I were bachelorettes together after I first moved out of my parents’ house (at least for 3 years before we married her father). She and I were inseparable. I even attempted to smuggle her into the movie theater the day we met. Fancy was insistent on seeing Pure Country starring country crooner George Strait. A huge Strait fan, she was curious as to his acting abilities. I just wanted some popcorn and a warm place to cuddle with my newfound friend. So I purchased a hideous purple and black plaid satchel to put her in and from then on she was my favorite movie critic, though she quickly grew out of the satchel.
Fancy helped us welcome Dottie, a little poodle-pomeranian, who came to us after my mother-in-law passed away. She was our Goddog. Now if you want the purest example of how a dog is capable of love, it was Dottie. She became my little fashionista. Everytime I changed clothes, Dottie changed clothes. She was so small she always needed a sweater or something on, so why not? She had sweaters, coats, pajamas and even her own union suit. She literally sought out an outfit when she was cold, which was often. The first night she was with us, we found Fancy with her ‘arm’ wrapped around Dottie as they slept. They were comforting each other by ‘doggie spooning’.
After Fancy passed, Dottie had big paws to fill and she knew it. She was the dog of the house now. When my grandfather entered the old folks home I took her with me to visit. The old folks just loved her. The minute we hit the door she would start “talking” to them all. She had a sweet little yeowl that seemed to bring those old people out of their doldrums. On Halloween, I found a little doctor’s costume for her and we set off for our visit. She made her rounds like always. By this time, Dottie was quite old, almost seventeen. She was a little trouper though. Even as my grandpa continued to fail, he would look up and take Dottie from me and put her on his lap. He passed away in the spring and Dottie wasn’t long to follow. She stuck around just long enough to make his stay at the home a little more bearable for all concerned.
Now I have two more little love monsters, Misty & Ginger. My husband and I went to pick up what we thought would be our next cocker spaniel, but two came bounding into the yard and we knew things might be a little different than we expected. Misty headed straight for Pat and we’ve come to learn why. She has a quiet, even temper and seems to go about her life in as easy going a manner as he does. Ginger came bounding towards me and nearly knocked me over. She slathered me with kisses and “hugs” and promptly put my keys in her mouth and took off with them. That pretty much settled the matter, we couldn’t leave without her or her sister!
Dogs most definitely can feel love and help us to love more unconditionally. If you don’t have any canine love stories of your own, there are many to be enjoyed at the library. I’m declaring this Rock Springs Library Inspirational Canine Love Stories Month. Well, that’s a little long-winded, but check out some of these titles and many more.
A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog, by Dean Koontz
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan
A Dog Named Boo : How One Dog and One woman Rescued Each Other- and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way, by Lisa J. Edwards
The Dog, by Kerstin Ekman
Through A Dog’s eyes [sound recording (CD book)], by Jennifer Arnold