It is National Dog Day! For those of us who are dog mamas and daddies this is a special day — a day to celebrate our four-footed fuzzy-faced kids. Rebecca and I have been blessed with many wonderful pooches through the years; this year we sadly said “bye for now” to two of our Boyz — half-mastiff-half-shepherd brothers Navarre and Cederic. They were 140-pound identical twins; fawn-colored, and among the most beautiful animals either of us have ever seen. They were taken from their mother at just 3 weeks and dealt with some abandonment issues, but — aside from being death on a cracker where cats were concerned , and occasionally displaying aggression that necessitated use of a cattle prod to get their attention — they were very good, obedient guys. I never had to worry about Rebecca alone on the farm when they were around — the two of them together were a pretty scary sight. They were almost always shoulder-to-shoulder in the pasture.
Now we are down to three — there’s our eldest, a Border Collie/Chow mix named Jerome, who is about to turn 11; we found him with his siblings at about 4 weeks in a box in a ditch by the railroad tracks along Griffith Station Road. He’s the Alpha Dog of the pack, and can be a grumpy old man at times. My Pit Bull Lucky just turned 7; I watched him being thrown from a moving truck on Willett Road one afternoon, and rescued him — he’s been like velcro ever since. He’s my road dog, and has made the trip to St. Louis with me many times. He is always perfectly well-behaved, but has a habit of “marking” my stuff! Then there’s Kuney (so named because when we found him dumped in Ben Hawes we thought he was a baby Coon Dog — as it turns out he’s a really fine example of an Austrian Hound) who is simply the sweetest, most affectionate guy I’ve ever known. He has a habit of gently sniffing our eyes a couple of times a day — probably checking our mood by measuring our body chemistry. Kuney climbs in bed with me every night so we can sing a duet — no kidding; I start out singing a silly lyric to any melody I make up as I go, and within a minute or so he chimes in. It always wakes Rebecca up, but it’s worth it to both of us to know he craves our attention and wants to participate.
Yes, there is a difference in a rescued dog. My experience is that they are routinely more loyal, more willing to learn and bond more deeply. Here’s a suggestion for those who want to help make a better world — rescue a dog! Both of you will have a better, richer, fuller life!