It really breaks down to pure laziness.
I sit and look at my dog Harley, the Grey hairs on her face and around her mouth. I notice the slow way she moves sometimes as she gets up and down from the bed or walking up stairs. I see on particularly cold days when I take her outside to do her potty thing that her hip is bothering her as she trudges through the snow. Then I look at Hermes who is my girlfriend’s puppy and mine to a lesser degree. He is a year old and still does the typical puppy things and acts in puppy ways and everything is still new and fun for him. Watching him makes me remember 10 years ago when I first “acquired” Harley as a cold under fed skinny little 4 week or so old puppy that was living under a car.
Then I think of all the time in between, the years and miles we have traveled together. The relationships, marriages and friendships she has seen come and go, start and end. The lakes and mountains, the wonderful oceans, deep woods and cities and countries we have seen together over the last decade. Many of my choices good or bad have been made based on her well-being along with my own, and she hasn’t judged for the things she has seen me do that are very questionable. I don’t mind the awkward way I have learned over the years to sleep since she has always spent most nights sleeping on some portion of the my bed or ones I have shared or share with girlfriends past and present and even a wife at one point. The best memories to a very large degree have her in them, a part of them and sharing them, with me when I experienced them. Sometimes there were other people with us and sometimes it was just us alone. She is an excellent judge of character when I actually listen to her as she showed me in an incident at my old coffee shop in Oregon. Moreover, had I listened to her sooner I would have never gotten married the first time around…Harley hated my ex-wife from day one.
Was it always easy having her around and with me more often than not….No. Did her being in my life and a huge part of my life annoy and frustrate other people….yes still does. Does anyone know me as well as she does….absolutely not. Do I like it that way…to a large degree yes? She is my confidant, my ultimate sounding board…yes I do talk to my dog. She has seen the best of me and witnessed the things others only hear about. What would my life be without her?……I’m not looking forward to finding out. She is my best friend above all others whether anyone likes that or not, that is why dogs are called man’s best friend.
I see Harley and I realize, and respect her part in my life past, present and future. My life is better for her being in it in a way that I cannot even understand or comprehend now.
I look at websites and magazines that help dogs (and cats) get adopted by loving families. I see the sad looks in their eyes and faces and the scared looks on the commercial for the ASPCA with Sarah McLachlan. It is hard for me to see those ads, it is even harder to see, and even harder than that to understand the reasons that some of these dogs are living in shelters. I can understand the abused and beaten dogs being there, the ones that were mistreated cruelly by their owners who saw them just as “an animal” and not as something that matters and worth anything. I suppose what bothers me is that these dogs cannot say no and they really cannot fight back to any degree….and if they do…well they get put to sleep and accused of being violent.
I am reminded of an incident that I was involved with when I lived out in the northwest. I watched one time when I lived in Northern Idaho as a man walked up to his pickup truck in a Safeway grocery store parking lot. Inside his truck was his dog, a black lab and it had its head out the window and tail was wagging away all happy and excited at the sight of the man. The man was mad at something and opened his truck door hard and began punching his dog in the face as hard as he could as he yell and swore at the confused dog who was wagging his tail just a moment before. Now the dog was yelping and crying; trying to get away. But it didn’t stop there with a few punches, the guy then pulled the dog out of the truck by its head, threw it on the ground and began kicking it with all the force his fat ass could manage I think. By the time he got a few punches into the dogs face I was already on the phone with the local police, and by the time the police got there 4 other grown men had put this fat ass on the ground and restrained him(but not before they got a few of their own hits in). Someone actually got this on video with a cell phone I found out later. HOWEVER, as we waited for the police to get there we watched the life start to leave this dog as it lay on the hard cement and could do nothing but keep it warm and pet him. It was beaten so severely that (as I found out in court later) it had two punctured lungs, multiple ribs broken and its jaw fractured among other smaller injuries; the poor dog had massive internal bleeding. This dog died cruelly and horribly in fucking parking lot for doing nothing wrong at all other than existing in this dumb rednecks space when he was mad. I testified in court against this “person” as did six other people. He ended up in jail for 6 years and paid 35,000 in fines (repeat offender)…but the dog still needlessly died. At least for the last few minutes of the dog’s life, he was able to feel a few acts of kindness by humans, the caring pat on the head and neck as blood came from his nose and mouth. However, I doubt that made the pain he was going through any easier to take and any less scary.
The kicker about this is that this “man” (who is long out of jail and doing who knows what now) adopted this dog 6 months prior from a local shelter. The dog was 8 years old and had been left behind by the previous bastards that had moved without him. Kinda makes you think about that dog you brought to shelter because you had “more important” stuff going on in your life.