Whether you share your life with a Pomeranian or an English Sheep Dog, you’d be surprised at how most caring pet owners are suddenly turned into “dog people.” Yes, we all become all too eager to please our furry friends with our loving devotion, affection and attention to these four-legged creatures. And its no wonder why – We don’t have to be super skinny, beautiful, or rich; they’ll reciprocate love so long as we provide these little or big guys with the bare necessities (food, water, healthcare, and a warm place to stay), and loads of love.
Aside from their adoring eyes and gentle ways, our canine companions are like small people-toddlers, who look to us for every need and want. They’re incorrigible, really. Our dogs sleep next to us on the sofa, the bed, and at our feet. While watching their favorite Animal Planet show, they anxiously await our return. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been gone to work, a day trip, or simply outside to check our mail – our quirky dogs believe that we’ve left forever, and when we get back into our homes, they’re ready to shower us with wagging tails, sloppy kisses, and excitable body jigs and jags. To top it off, if we come home with bags of groceries, most of our furry kids start sniffing inside the bags to see what we’ve brought them, “Got some treats, got some treats?” I’m sure they are saying.
In recent times, I’ve discovered that more “dog people” are coming out of the closet, so to speak. We’ve secretly coveted our animals like prized possessions and surrogate children. We stroke their necks, massage their backs, rub their ears, and kiss their foreheads…and in return, we get pawed, kissed, and nudged. Like children, they can’t stand to not be the center of attention. Whether on the phone, reading a book, surfing the net, or watching television, our dogs are always there to let us know, “I’m here, look at me, pet me, love me, hug me, play with me…”
And their expressions are oh so unique. From their raised eyebrows that question us, to the puppy-dog eyes that plead for yet another table scrap, and to the neck jerk that beacons us to them, we are hopeless silly putty in their powers.
The best dogs, I’ve found, are the ones that nobody else likes — the sickly, the disabled, the discriminated, and the “problem children.” These are the animals deemed as “unsalvageable,” “worthless,” and “unwanted.” Sadly, there are some uninformed individuals who still believe that there are “bad dogs.” “That dog needs to be put down,” I’ve heard some people say after being in contact with a growling dog. What humans don’t understand is that canines are very intuitive. Their sensory system is so fine-tuned that they can tell whether an individual is apprehensive or down-right mean. The great part about their intuitiveness is that they can also determine if someone is a loving and kind person as well. There is no such thing as a “bad dog,” only bad owners. Remember, humans don’t choose dogs – dogs choose humans.
Though we must become the “alpha dog” over our pets, we must also know that being in a relationship with any dog takes patience, perseverance, understanding, and a whole lot of hands-on work to make the relationship a loving and respectful one.
As a multiple-dog owner, I’ve learned that each dog has his own unique personality…and each dog requires his own “personal space.” If you’ve ever come into contact with an animal, you know that the dog’s personal space is never to be invaded or violated. We approach dogs like we would any animal. The important thing to remember is that dogs, like all animals, can be unpredictable.
In a normal pet-owner relationship, we would allow our pets to come to us. That’s why some of the basic commands, like “come,” are so very essential. Any individual with any common sense knows that you should NEVER approach any strange dog. That is the worst step anyone can take to meet with an animal. Earlier, I said that dogs are unpredictable and if you violate her personal space, you are definitely asking for problems. The other thing to remember is that if you show fear, anxiety, or hatred toward a dog – or any animal, for that matter – the dog will sense it immediately. At that point, you have violated his personal space and are apt to get bitten.
For over 20 years, I have had dogs ranging from the Chinese Sharpei, to English Pointers, Rottweilers, Shepherds, Dobermans, and the classic “Heinz 57” mixes. Being in a multiple-dog home takes a lot of patience; but I’ve discovered that these precious sweethearts are the apples of my eye and the gold nuggets of my heart. When I lost my dad years ago, my dog companions showered me with affection and compassion. They intuitively knew that something was awry. Whenever I’m sad, happy, or excited – my dogs share these deep emotions with me. It’s like they share a direct and metaphysical connection with our minds, our souls, and our spirits. And this, my friends, is what makes “dog people” so special.
Dog people are typically extroverts, who share a zest for living and loving life. Carefree, we dog people are less prone to stress, and find that dogs are more than just a “pet.” We understand the world through the eyes of our happy-go-lucky “kids.” We know that if trouble stirs nearby, our investigative chums will find the source of the problem and protect us with life and limb. Unlike any other security system, they alert us to possible intruders and keep us from harm.
If you want to get to really know dogs the way “dog people” do, you have to get on ground level with the animal. Show her that you are willing to accept her as a friend and confident. Don’t try to force the relationship because as we all know, forcing any relationship will result in disaster. Feel the environment and determine if you and the dog share a common chemistry. Like people, not all dogs are intended to like you – nor will you always be able to befriend the animal. It’s really nothing personal. It’s just that some dogs sense reservation and hesitation, and when they do; it does not help the situation any more.
Some dog trainers, who are out to make a quick buck, might tell dog owners that their chubby, little fur ball needs to be “socialized.” However, if your hairy chow-chow loves all people and animals, but decides that she doesn’t like one or two people; you can’t truly say that your dog is “unsociable.” A matter of fact, if your dog has proven to be a loving, affectionate animal that accepts 99 percent of living things, then the problem doesn’t lie with the dog; rather, the one or two people who are having the adverse affect on the animal.
Having the lengthy experience that I have had with so many dogs, I have found that there are no “bad dogs.” There are a lot of people who personally express dislike to these loving creatures. When they do, the animals can sense it. It is best for those people to not enter into a relationship with a dog. If they do, the dog will always be in control and the individual will always be in fear. For example, my brother-in-law has always been fearful of larger dogs. Though my furry kids are hopelessly in love with visitors, he chooses not to come to my home because he fears the bigger dogs I have. And we’ve accepted that. If we want to visit him, we go to his house.
You see, “dog people” will go to the ends of the earth to protect their four-legged “children.” They will never relinquish their animals because someone else doesn’t like them. That’s a fact. And the dogs that we love will always be a part of us. Plain and simple, our furry kids are what help to make this world a better place. Unlike other animals, dogs are facilitated in many life-saving efforts. Aside from rescuing deserted travelers in the cold, snow-filled Alps, St. Bernards are also great family companions. The massive German shepherd is known for its fine intelligence and is used in many public operations such as bomb-sniffing, drug-sniffing, and other security issues. Some dogs are so intuitive that they are able to sniff out cancer in human beings. Cadaver-sniffing dogs are one of the greatest resources in solving crimes, and returning the remains of our lost loved ones. For the disabled and sickly, most any dog can be facilitated to help lead the blind, fetch common household items, and simply to give love to those who are in need of it. How many other animals can do the same?
When we’re aged and debilitated, our canine comrades come to our aid with little or no effort. Trained to be on key to help us whenever we so desire, dogs are indeed the greatest asset to any household.
After losing some of my beautiful “children” to cancer and other diseases, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment that I share with them. Life is so very short and the time that we share with these special friends is what enables us to share our compassion, our love, our time, and our lives with the rest of the world. It is the funny stories that we remember in the corners of our minds – of how the little terrier ate the toilet paper, how the pit bull rolled in a muddy puddle and tracked mud all over the floors, how the big shepherd had a barking conversation from the sofa, and how the Chihuahua stole the show at the annual family picnic…these are the days of our lives, and the memories that we cherish forever.
Love your dogs and understand that “dog people” will always be the way they are. They will love their pets through thick and thin, and will discard any notion that their dogs could do any harm. Dogs are an essential component to any family and share our homes and lives like the family members they’ve become. Good and kind-hearted dog people will always have a home that they will willingly and openly share with them. They would never throw their companion outside, and would never toss them to the wayside for any one individual; even if it meant leaving with the animal to appease the situation.
That’s the way of the dog, and the way we view the world through the eyes of our gentle friends. We give our heart and share our lives with these little guys because they are essentially what make us the way we are. Love us just like we would love our animal counterparts, and you will discover a whole new way of thinking, loving, and understanding the world in which we live.
Understanding Dogs and the Dog People who Share their Lives
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By CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd