Once you have a Dog, you have a Dog for Life

I love dogs. There is no other living being, in my opinion, who is more loyal, sweet and kind, than a dog. There is a reason why dogs are considered man’s (or woman’s) best friend. I have never had my own, but I have been around this most wonderful animal all my life. I have observed that once you have a dog, you have one for life.

While I love dogs, I will very publicly state it here that I don’t want my own right now. It is a tremendous commitment, of time and money. A pet deserves to be cared for in a very particular way, from an early morning walk to visits to the vet, and I am just not up for that now. No doubt I always have time for cuddles and play, but that’s the easy part. My life and my family are hectic enough right now. I just don’t want to take on the ownership of a pet.

Owning a pet is not for everyone. For those who choose to have a dog (or maybe any other animal), the connection is for life. It always troubles me that dogs have a relatively short lifespan (compared to a human’s at least). But during life, and for years after its death, an owner’s love and devotion to his or her dog remains.

When I was a child, I begged my parents to get me a dog. With three kids and a busy household, my parents’ joking responded, “If you want a dog, then one of the three of you (children) has to go.” My brother and I quickly pointed at my sister. We still didn’t get a dog. I yearned for one, as did my siblings (not my father). Shortly after we had all moved out, of course, my parents got a dog.

Oscar was the closest thing I ever had to my own dog. He had many sleepovers at my house and I happily cared for him all the time. But he belonged to my mother and of course his loyalty was to her. As is the case with my mother-in-law’s dog, Mu Shu (and Soho before) and my sister’s bedroom slipper on acid, Herzl.

These dogs belong to them, but more importantly, they belong to their dogs. And that includes during the pet’s life and after. The connection and the memories last a lifetime.

As soon as you get a dog, you become what I call a dog person. If canines seemingly urinate at every fire hydrant, then dog people stop to look and admire at every corner when a dog passes by. My mother can’t help herself and has to engage in a conversation with every person walking by with his or her dog. No matter how big or small, old or young, friendly or cranky the dog is, my mother has to share a story about Oscar.

My sister is constantly on the hunt for her – or my mother’s – next pet. They follow an endless list of dogs on Instagram and Facebook and send me photos, links and stories that I just have to read. They seek out breeders who may be a good fit and tell me all the time about the perfect one for my home.

I don’t blame them. They are dog people. I am not. I love this adorable animal, but I don’t follow their every move on Instagram (okay I do follow Clark Kent Superdog, but he is special) and stop innocent people on the side of the road who are out in the cold hoping their dog will just pee so they can run back inside.

Dog people won’t change, and that’s okay. They amuse me. I am amused that my mother leapt out of the car on Saturday in the Home Depot parking lot and accosted some poor woman who was just trying to get her Morkie (Matlese Yorkie mix) to quickly do his business in a small patch of grass. The woman smiled and was friendly, but her yappy and hyperactive animal friend beside her had no patience.

So, maybe one day I will be a dog person. But for now, I will just give a little chuckle when I watch them interact and share their unending love of their true best friend.

**Just a note that in the feature photo for this story that’s then three-month-old Matthew with, from l-r: Mu Shu, Herzl and Oscar.

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