The Unconditional Love of a Dog
West Highland Terriers and a Chihuahua
The human race is fraught with unimaginable acts of torture, violence, mass murder, and, in general, man’s inhumanity to man. Homo sapiens will kill and maim members of their own species and other species simply for pleasure and sport. I don’t understand those kinds of actions and I am glad I don’t. However, one thing I am acutely aware of is the look when a dog will peer into my very soul, serving up a potpourri of unconditional love and devotion which is unmatched by humankind. In my opinion, animals walk on two legs and not four.
I have had a passion for animals since I can remember. I have had cats, rabbits, chameleons, goldfish, tropical fish, and parakeets. However, my deepest love literally does go to the dogs. By the time I turned 12-years-old I had owned three dogs and all three were named Skippy. I have no idea where the name “Skippy” came from except perhaps it was just easy for me to say. In my opinion, there is an aura which encircles my four-legged friends, as they eagerly exhibit a loyalty which will last a lifetime. It is so sad that we mere mortal humans do not emulate the quality of trust, love, and commitment which is given so freely by Canis familiaris.
Each Skippy came from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and selecting just one dog to take home was a gut-wrenching process. We lived a couple of miles from the local dog shelter and many Saturday mornings I would ride my bicycle there to visit my friends. Walking through the SPCA filled me with a host of emotions. As polarizing as north and south magnets I was overwhelmed with feelings of extreme elation, followed by the depths of despair and sadness. For you see, even as a small child I was keenly aware of the death room that lurked in the shadows at the end of the hallway. If Beelzebub existed, then surely he thrived in the evilness locked within that space. It is as though a time machine has transported me back in time when I visualize those visits and walks at the SPCA.
It's over. Some dogs were resigned to their terminal fate as they laid listless, curled up with tail tucked under their muzzles, not even raising their heads to see their visitor. Hope had long passed for this group of dogs. Although I methodically would look into each kennel, many of these lost, forgotten and heartbroken animals refused to even make eye contact. The dog to human and soul connection had expired and life was all but over as I hurried by them.
Maybe there's hope. The next group of my canine friends still held on to a shred of anticipation that some person or family may still want them. This was a cautious group and it was evident by how close they would approach the front of the kennel. They appeared to be on the cusp of wanting a new home or just giving up. They were neither friendly nor unfriendly and seemed somewhat mildly sedated as they stood approximately three feet from the front of their runs. These are the dogs that need coaxing and kindness and lots and lots of love.
Take me...take me...I just know I'll love you. Finally, we have the guys and gals that are so full of energy, expecting a new home will be obtained at any second. The barking is deafening and could shatter glass, as tails wag with the breeze of turbine engines. Their bodies sway back and forth in sheer enjoyment at the sight of a new prospect. Eagerly their noses are pressed through the chain linked runs, with tongues licking the empty air. You can almost hear them saying, “Take me, I’ll be good. Take me, I’ll love you. Take me; we will truly be soul, mates.”
I have been owned by mongrels, an English setter, a golden retriever, West Highland white terriers and a chihuahua. Every breed has had their own characteristics, charms, and uniqueness. The mutts were always ready for action, children, and playtime. The setter and retriever wanted to fetch, play ball and swim. My Westie, Dexter (his sister Daphne died a few years ago and we still grieve over her loss) is stoic in his demeanor. If you’re looking for kisses, then count him out because they are few and far between. He is ever vigilant in protecting us from moles or chipmunks and in the 16 years we have been together, he has never done one thing wrong. Rest assured, wherever my toe is, Dexter’s body isn't far away. We are inseparable. Finally, there was Jasmine the Chihuahua. She passed away a couple of years ago and the void she left is still painful. When she first arrived it took three days of Dexter and Daphne excitedly trying to encourage Jasmine to exit her crate. First, a nose appeared and then her long skinny legs came out running. She was by far the most different of any other dogs who have owned me. Although it took some time before I warmed up to Jasmine, I must confess she was as loyal and protecting of me as any of the other guys and gals I have shared my abode with. Jasmine was the best security alarm system known to man. Having her was like having my own military fortress.
Skippy, Brandy, Daisy Mae, Daphne, Dexter, and Jasmine have all honored me. and In turn, I have loved them with everything that makes Dennis L. Page me. While friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and relatives have all disappointed and let me down, I have never had that happen with any of my dogs. If souls move on to another life when this one has ended, then, by all means, they had better include the souls of all those dogs who peered into my soul and touched me forever.
They Have All Left Me
Sadness fell upon this house with the passing of Daphne the Westie and her step-sister Jasmine the chihuahua. It is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Dexter's death. He was 16-years-old, deaf and blind. Even with his blindness, Dexter had an innate ability to know where I was because that is where he was too. During those 16-years, Dexter and I never went to bed angry at one another. I doubt there are too many humans who can make the same statement about their personal relationships. Prior to Dexter's passing, I couldn't imagine the emptiness of a house without the love and loyalty of a dog by my side. However, today I know what that feeling is.
It is now time for another dog to come and rescue me.
Written by Dennis L. Page