Thursday, August 26, 2010

National Dog Day

It's National Dog Day! (There is a holiday for everything, isn't there?)

August 26th marks the nation's annual celebration of dogs. It is a way to show public recognition for all of the wonderful things about our dogs and to celebrate their love, companionship, loyalty, patience and their amazing capacity to change our everyday lives.

When I think about dogs, I think about certain moments in my life where a dog has really touched me. There are lots of moments. Times when maybe you are a bit down, having a bad day or just touched by your dog's loyalty and compassion.


I thought the ideal life would be to live on a farm. Unusual thought for a girl growing up in LA. From an early age I have had a love of animals. Robert Caras said "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." How many of you would agree? Five dogs have graced my life and in my speech I will share the highlights.

After one early dog disaster, I was persistent in begging my “non-animal person” mom for a dog. I was in 7th grade when Mickey (named after Mickey Mouse) entered my life. He was about pocket size as a pup and did not grow much bigger for Mickey was a Toy Manchester. The most unusual thing Mickey did was to curl himself up in his blanket. It was a systemized technique he developed. First he bunched up the blanket with his front paws and push his nose underneath as he threw the covers up over his body. Then he would walk around in circles with his blanket over himself until he was satisfied and lay down in a manner that where the blanket would wrap around him. The funniest part was when someone came to the house. Mickey would bark and you would see this blanket moving across the floor until his head finally popped out.

Pookie was a stray from the pound and a gift from my brother when Mickey died. The poor pup spent the weekend with my brother and his college friends before he was delivered to me. Need I say, he was a bit wild? Pookie became my dad’s dog when I left for Colorado. He brought out my father’s inner child. They were a cute pair.

Sterling Way was named after a Colorado legendary hero who rode a snow shovel down the mountain side to get help for the stranded Moffat Train which was the first train over the Continental Divide. Sterling was a gorgeous Irish Setter and lived up to her crazy namesake. She and I were inseparable pals as we hiked the mountains of Colorado and Oregon. Sterling loved to run through the woods as I rode my mountain bike, and she chased sticks tirelessly on land or in water. I was heartbroken when she died at age 15.

It was nearly two years before I was ready to love another dog. I chose a golden retriever which is very similar in disposition to an Irish Setter, but not as hyper. Lacey was named for the FIRST thing she chewed up. The local vet dubbed her the “miracle dog.” Lacey took head on an automobile at less than one year old. Whenever she did goofy things, which she did often, we blamed the head injury for her limited brain functions. Lacey was the soccer dog and never missed a game or all the attention she received. The hardest thing I have ever done was to put Lacey to sleep at age 13.

A couple of months later both of my children came to visit at Christmas. They decided Mom was too lonely. Do you know that you can dog shop on the internet? Yes! You can search all the animal shelters and rescue organizations and they include photographs. After several phone calls we drove a mere 90 miles just to LOOK at a sister trio of Black Lab/Border Collie pups.

Meet Ebony!

She is incredibly sweet and mischievous. The LAST puppy I raise. If I named her after the items she chewed up her name would wrap around the world! Ebony has cured my SAD. I began taking her on 2-3 mile walks everyday to wear her out so that she would nap and I could get something accomplished. It has now turned into a daily ritual providing me with rays of light physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I no longer need my lightbox. Look at those eyes! She lets me know if we have not had our walk for the day.

I know that a dog will always be a companion of mine. Five dogs have truly graced my life and made my life whole.

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