I just finished watching and crying over the sweetest documentary on Netflix. The name of the documentary was My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story and was about just that — the love between a dog and its human. (I hate to call us “owners” as we don’t really own a dog — we just get to love them and live in their space for a while.)
The documentary makers interviewed a lot of different celebrities about their dogs and asked them the question: “Why do people love their dogs?” And the stories proceeded from there.
I was so struck by how similar my thoughts and feelings about dogs were to these celebrities, people who live lives that are 180 degrees removed from the life that I live. Yet, dogs seem to be one of the great equalizers, across geography, ethnicity, social strata and economic demographic. Dogs are wonderful because they don’t care who their human is, what their human has succeeded or failed at that day, how much money their human makes, etc. Dogs just want to be with us. They are unconditional love in action.
|Nick, the winter before he passed|
I lost my soul mate dog, Nick, last year to prostate cancer. I miss him everyday. I miss saying good-bye to him every morning as he would follow me to the front door to watch me leave. I miss seeing him run to say “hello” to me each day as I would come home. I miss his presence.
In the documentary, Greg Louganis talks about how some of his HIV treatments made him really sick. Some days, the only reason that he got out of bed was to take care of his dog. I can totally relate. I went through a really bad depression not long after I adopted Nick from a rescue shelter. There were days where I spent the majority of the day in bed, and if it weren’t for Nick, the necessity to feed him, to let him out, to take care of him, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed at all. And Nick seemed to know when he needed to put his head in my lap, and nudge me, as if to say, “Wanna talk?” And I did. I have told several people that Nick saved my life and I wasn’t exaggerating.
In the documentary, the crushing statistic is given that 6 to 8 million dogs are in shelters around the US (the movie was released in 2010, so it’s still fairly up-to-date), and nearly 50% of those dogs will be euthanized. That was when I started to cry.
Let’s all go adopt a dog! I don’t mean that we all collectively adopt one dog and share it, that wouldn’t really help, but each household go out and adopt one dog each. And then spay or neuter it. And then experience the uncomplicated love that comes from a dog.
I have to get Matt to agree to this plan for our house, but he doesn’t care about your house, so I’m really looking forward to hearing about all your new dogs! Send me pictures.