Dogs are man’s best friend. We hear this saying time and time again and very few people would disagree. Dogs of all shapes and sizes share our homes and are much loved family members. They are our best friends. Once we’ve had a dog in our life, it is very hard to imagine life without them.
There are of course just as many people in the world who think that cats should stand on the podium as the number one pet. My own family is divided on this point and we have had both cats and dogs. However, in this post I really want to talk about dogs. They are my personal favourite.
We miss our furry friends
At the moment Greg and I are dog-less. Our last two dogs passed away three years ago. They are both buried under the Jacaranda tree outside our bedroom on our Australian property. Every morning as we look out the floor-to-ceiling windows we are reminded of them. And of how much we miss them.
We miss being woken up in the mornings by wet noses pushing in under the doona, telling us it is time to get up, time for breakfast. We miss wagging tails meeting us at the gate when we come home from work. We even miss the muddy paw prints on recently cleaned floors. Or being soaked to the skin as they happily shook the water off their long coats after a bath.
Dogs were my favourite animals from a very early age
As a child, I always wanted a dog. I think I asked my parents for a dog as soon as I could say the word. Unfortunately my parents, and especially my mother, did not share my passion for animals. So there was zero possibility of a furry friend ever crossing our threshold and sharing our lives.
Instead, I had to be satisfied with walking other peoples dogs. I planned on how I would have my very own dog one day when I was old enough to leave home. That promise to myself was fulfilled very early on.
I was given my first dog as a birthday present, a beautiful three months old Afghan pup. Until that day (when I found my surprise present whimpering in the bathroom) I had always planned on owning a German Shepherd. Whatever possessed my husband to buy an Afghan hound I will never know, but I have now owned five of them.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of dog you own – pure bread or mongrel, big or small, long or short haired – they are all characters in their own right with the ability to enrich our lives. They stay by our sides no matter what and all they ask in return is to be part of the pack. It doesn’t matter that they are last in line, they are happy to follow the leader.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Greg and I will be returning to Papua New Guinea very soon, we would already have a couple of furry friends around. Due to security issues, walking a dog in Port Moresby is out of the question. So having the company of a four-legged friend (or two) will have to wait until we are back in Australia on a permanent basis.
There are too many dogs in animal shelters
The reason I’m talking about dogs are the numerous posts on Facebook from various animal shelters trying to find forever homes for their dogs. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who mistreat or abandon their pets. What’s wrong with people?
A dog (or any pet for that matter) is not a disposable item. To be purchased as this years fashion must-have only to be discarded when the fad passes. Or when they are getting older and maybe need visits to the vet more often. Even moving home is sometimes given as a poor excuse for leaving a dog behind. I know circumstances can change but, as far as I’m concerned, very few genuine reasons exists for leaving a member of your family behind. Very few!
I didn’t start to write this post to vent my anger with people who mistreat or abandon their pets. But I do want to highlight the wonderful work animal shelters do and the endless task they have trying to find homes for all the dogs they take in. Most shelters are staffed by volunteers and often they get no or very little help from governments or local authorities.
Pure bred dogs Vs the “bitser”
I have always owned Afghan dogs, pure bread and purchased from reputable kennels. Both Greg and I love their temperament and the sheer beauty of this ancient breed . We would happily have another two. But when next we buy our dogs, we will have a look at the local shelters. We might not find Afghans but we are sure to find the perfect companions to suit us and our life style.
I know we will definitely buy two dogs when the time comes. This way they will have a friend to keep them company when we are out of the house. But they don’t have to be of the same breed or even pure bred, “bitsers” are just as good. Mixed-breed dogs wag their tails equally as good as pure bred dogs and they give the same love and companion ship.
I have always felt a bit sorry for people who don’t like animals, be it dogs or any other kind. They miss out on so much. Animals have the wonderful ability to be funny without knowing it, they can have us doubling over with laughter just by being themselves. By doing what comes natural to them.
If we are sad or upset, a friendly lick seems to say “Cheer up, you’re not alone”. Happiness is being greeted by a dog dancing round our feet, wanting to be part of the merriment. And it is almost impossible to be upset when your dog looks at you with that “Who, me???” look. All the while you survey they carnage done to your newly purchased shoes.
Dogs also have an uncanny ability to hone in on our emotions. Sometimes they even feel things before we ourselves do. They detect seizures, they are our eyes and ears, our protectors and on farms they are our work mates. But most of all, they are our loyal friends and companions. Come what may.
Dogs give us so much more than they take. All they ask in return is to be included in the pack, your pack. Treat them well and they will be beside you for as long as they live.
So if you are looking for a dog, please have a look at your local shelter. There are so many dogs looking for their forever homes. No matter what breed, age or size you are looking for, there is bound to be one that steals your heart.