I always had dogs. Every 10 years or so I say a very painful goodbye. If I did not have dogs, I could never know what it is like to invest yourself emotionally in a friend with a very short life span. You expect your friends to be there for you, right?
I would not know what it is like to learn walking holding on to a great big German shepherd. His name was Efroy and only family dared to approach us. I almost can remember the feel of his rich coat and unmistakable shepherd smell. And the nose. His black wet nose that always inspected me thoroughly to ensure that his charge was all right. He was a fearsome beast and a great nanny.
At 11 I got a basset hound puppy. She was 4 weeks old, small and helpless. I learned to get up in the middle of the night for feeding and early in the morning for walks. It was a little life that I nurtured through parvo and half a dozen other illnesses.
I was there for her labor. 5 little pups that seemed to be covered in transparent film like some sort of a present. Yes, I witnessed that whole miracle of life thing.
I learned that dogs are smarter than we frequently giving them credit for. I learned that they can be co-workers in the service and search and rescue. They can lead the blind and warn about seizures. They are hunting buddies. They are also formidable bodyguards. I know of a mastiff, who ripped out intruder's throat quietly and went back to the owner's bed to watch over her. She had a gruesome surprise in the morning, but she owed her life to her dog.
I can't imagine my life without dogs. I have two now, and one is now a senior. He has gray hair and he sleeps, snoring like an old man. Sometimes he even misses things that he would never oversleep before.
I love everything about dogs. Their paws in your face , trying to push you of the bed; the way they gingerly try to lick your tears when you are upset; their unconditional joy when you come home and how they loo at you. I can never doubt their friendship. Yes, I have losses ahead of me painful and sorrowful, but I cannot imagine my life without a dog.