Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Dog Tales

Growing up, our family never owned a dog. But thanks to sister 4 who was the Pied Piper of the neighborhood dogs we always seemed to have a pup or two around. From the St. Bernard that held court from our back stoop, to the springer spaniel that would run away from home just to visit sister 4, there was always a canine friend to pet or play with. Pepsi, Penelope, Kingsly, Brandy (all three), Prinz & Greta (dachshunds, naturally), and a whole host of nameless mutts that moved in and out of our lives. Each with a story. Each with a unique personality that endeared them forever in our hearts.

At the dog show this week-end, the dog stories were as varied as the visitors who came to our booth. But the expressions they wore were the same. When they mentioned their dogs, their faces softened, a smile would spread, but the look in their eyes - the look would reveal if the dog was living or dead.

Interestingly, the "how can you give up your dog?" question always asked of Helping Paws volunteers at other demos or shows was mostly absent this week-end. Instead, many of the visitors looked as if they wanted to give us a hug and many of them thanked me for training Belle to be a service dog. I don't know why the question wasn't asked. I choose to think that the visitors somehow understood that the love of a dog is something that must be shared. Male or female, young or old, physically challenged or not, each of us is richer, more whole, more human when we are loved by a dog.

No comments: