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, bunnies, chameleons, goldfish, tropical fish, and parakeets. Then there were 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 that perhaps it was just easy for me to say. In my opinion, there is a divine aura which encircles my four legged friends, as they eagerly exhibit a loyalty that lasts 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 is a gut-wrenching process. Walking through the SPCA filled me with a host of emotions. Just 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 last year 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 those long skinny legs of hers came out running. She was by far the most different of any other dogs who have owned me. Although it was a while 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 do move on to another life when this one has ended, then, by all means, it had better include the dogs that peered into my soul...the one we shared on this earth together.
They Have All Left Me
Sadness has fallen upon this house with the passing of Daphne the Westie and her step-sister Jasmine the chihuahua. Dexter, who was 16 years old, deaf and blind, held on until the end of September of this year. Even with his blindness, Dexter had an innate ability to know where I was because that is where he was too. 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.
Written by Dennis L. Page