I’ve been lucky enough to have had the company of a few dogs over the years. Each and every one of them has enriched my life in some way and taught me a thing or two about loyalty and love. Whoever said that dogs have neither feelings nor souls has never owned a dog and therefore does not matter, in my opinion.
My first foray into dog companionship kicked off when my grandmother came to live with us when I was seven. She brought along her little terrier and I got to pretend that I finally had a dog for the next eight years. That little dog put up with dress ups, my questionable dog grooming skills, posing for ‘portraits’, sharing her mat and was my first port of call when life sucked and I needed a unbiased ear. I was hooked on the dog-bug for the rest of my life.
After I left home I decided on a larger ‘real-dog’ travelling companion. I purchased a beautiful black German Shepherd pup and she became my copilot for my many adventures as I navigated up and down the coast working and generally having a good time. Company aside, as she grew she was a marvellous deterrent for any would-be lotharios that were inclined to think that I was up for it. I have one spectacular memory of her sitting on top of some unlucky sod after she ran him down because he swiped my ice cream cone. To this day I am still not sure if she was after the ice cream or the thief.
I was companion to a beautiful silky terrier a few years later. She became the perfect match to my grandmother when I had to move and I couldn’t take her with me. She was as silly as a wheel but she suited my grandmother perfectly and I got to see her on weekends. So began my love for the smaller lap dog when I met my future husband and talked him into purchasing my next dog.
Jackson came into my life just before serious illness struck me down. He was a white ball of fluff that my husband took one look at and asked where the batteries went. He was the perfect foil of patience, loyalty and love that would get me through the tough times ahead. He was a gentlemanly dog, preferring to mind his manners at dinner time and always ask for permission before he did something. Aside from his one grand adventure when he disappeared for hours only to be found curled up under the recliner chair bay sleeping and oblivious to the mayhem that surrounded him – he never put a paw wrong. He was the light in my life when I needed it most and a joy to be around. The day I lost him I lost a part of myself that I still haven’t found.
Jackson’s offspring, Dylan, was a completely different fluff ball. He was brash at mealtimes and would barge in to get his share before somebody else got it. He thought he was a giant but was scared of the budgie. He loved to sleep on anything soft that was higher than the floor. He loved attention and would sulk when anybody else got it. He would show off to get an extra treat. We lost him to cancer a few years ago after many operations and no hope. I still grieve for my funny little soul who snored in his sleep.
These days I am entertained by my two Bichons, Angus and Ruby. I love them dearly and I laugh often at their funny little ways and different personalities. Angus is fearless and will bark at anything that moves until he gets outside his home turf. He owns the world and has a strut to prove it. His retrieval skills are unmatched and he can play until my arm has gone numb. He is king of his domain, a bright little button in my life that simply must have his head elevated when he sleeps. He has taken to carrying his own mini-pillow around with him for portable comfort whenever the mood suits. Ruby is my lovely little fluffy girlie girl. She knows her place in the household which is mostly wherever the food is at. She will hear the fridge open from out in the front yard. She will be at my side in moments when she hears the crackle of paper – just in case. She is affectionate and soulful. She loves nothing more than to lie on her back in my lap for a belly rub and will drop to the floor flat on her back at the hint of a possible spare hand doing nothing.
There is no question that my dogs have been spoilt. I am probably over the top and am considered a little eccentric by some when it comes to my furry companions. I would much rather be this way and experience all that a dog has to give and lose them one day than never to have had the opportunity to experience it at all. Dogs enrich my life, they lighten my heart and they offer solace when I am feeling sad. They are my constant companions, loyal to a fault and dependent on me to live their lives in the best way they can. I can offer them a good home and a good life. At the end of the day and of my life if this has been my only purpose then it will have been a magnificent calling.