Why You Should Be a Dog Person
Our family dog died the day before my 13th birthday. I was devasted.
After a childhood of happy friendship with a chocolate lab and a golden retriever, my high school, college, and early married days felt like a drought without a canine companion. I looked longingly at other people walking their dogs in downtown Chicago. They always looked cheerful. They never looked lonely.
At times, I begged Curtis to let us get a dog, even though our apartment had a strict no-pet policy. My tactics, not always fair, were certainly persistent.
“Please, please, let me get a dog so I can have a walking buddy?”
“If I get a dog, I’ll always have a friend.” Ouch. Sorry, Curtis.
“Maybe we can keep it hidden?” In our one-bedroom apartment on the 8th floor of an apartment building with a doorman? Right.
Wise and law-abiding, Curtis stood firm and our time in Chicago ended with no dog. Probably for the best.
But when we moved to Michigan, it wasn’t long before the conversation repeated itself — and when Christmas was right around the corner, I started thinking about a puppy.
Until Sunday came.
That’s right, we named our dog Sunday. Friends found her on the side of the road in an early December snowstorm. They planned to bring her to the pound, since she was obviously stray. A black lab hound mixture, her black and gray coat covered a gaunt frame, and her tail curled into the perfect quirky loop.
As soon as I saw her hound dog eyes and drooping ears, I loved her. We coaxed her into our car with donuts, went to the store to buy dog food, brought her home, and named her Sunday.
Finally, the 11-year dogless drought was over.
Soon, Sunday was a permanent fixture in our house, spending the winter evenings sprawled out next to us as we read or watched a movie on the couch. I brought her on daily walks, and she fulfilled my dream of having a constant walking buddy. And when summer swung around, we discovered another fun characteristic: when it’s hot, Sunday loves swimming.
Sure, there are the less glamorous parts of dog ownership. She sheds a lot, practically eats us out of house and home, and passes gas that could clear an arena. Sometimes, she disobeys or misbehaves, and curls her tail between her legs because she knows she’s been a disappointment.
But she’s my dog, so none of that matters for long.
She follows me around when I do chores, and sits and watches as I cook, clean, write, garden, you name it. If I’m excited about something, she jumps around with me. When I’m sad, she comes over and tries to sit in my lap — and if there’s not comfort in 80 pounds of warm fur, floppy ears, and awkward paws, there’s not comfort anywhere.
Yes. She’s a friend.
But, she’s more than a friend. She’s company and protection when I’m in our country house alone. She’s a walking and a napping buddy. She’s entertainment as she sleep-runs and sleep-barks.
And no matter how I’m feeling or what I say, whether I’m miserable or angry or delighted, she always treats me like I’m the Number One human in the world. No judgment, no duplicitous behavior, no politics. Just straight adoration.
Of course, her opinion of me doesn’t make me perfect — but it always makes me feel a little better, and strive to be a little better.
And that’s why you should be a dog person.