Growing up, my family had their fair share of pooches. We had Lhotse the shepherd mix. My parents still tell stories that when I was a baby she never left my side. One hot summer day in my earliest of years, I decided to strike off on my own–crawling out of the yard, I made my way into a neighboring forest. My Dad grabbed Lhotse and told her, “Go find Randall”. She immediately bolted off and led him right to me.
Then there was Chewy, the black lab with a heart of gold. He made my middle and high school years endurable by always lending a floppy ear when necessary. When he wasn’t cheering up a pimply faced teenager, he was eating everything in sight! Never have I seen a dog love food more than him. I swear he was half pig. Anything I could smuggle under the table was gone in the blink of an eye, sometimes almost a finger. I once saw him steal a whole roast right off the dinner table!
I left the house at 18 and made it all of a year and a half before I got my own pup. Monkey the pug. Arriving to salvage a downward spiraling relationship, I ended up raising him virtually solo from 8 weeks old. Potty training, constant supervision, vet bills, and planning my life around him were just a few of the things that kept me busy; I barely had time to think about an ex-girlfriend. Raising him required so much of me and yet the process taught me so much. It didn’t matter how bad my day was, he was always so happy to see me when I got home from work. I’d barely get out of my dirty construction clothes and he’d be parading around with one of my socks like a flag. He’s kept me laughing the past 7 years.
Last Saturday I adopted an 8 month old German shepherd named Molly. She is still recovering from a broken femur, but that hasn’t stopped her from giving me all her love. She follows me everywhere and cries like child when I leave her. It is a powerful connection we have with each other and it’s only been 4 days! I am her world and she is a big part of mine.
Following my discharge from the U.S. Navy in July I spent the whole summer exploring the mountains of Washington state. This is something I couldn’t do with my pug, so I was in the market for an adventure dog. Then Molly practically fell into my lap. I rescued her from an abusive household who no longer wanted her. Six years after raising a rambunctious little pug I’m back at it; raising another puppy and rehabilitating her in the process. I realize now more than ever how much I missed not having a dog during my military service.
This is how dogs have made my life a richer and more enjoyable experience. They will give their life to protect you, lick away your tears, play comedian when you need a laugh, help mend a broken heart, and be the best friend you ever had. And all this comes for the price of a bowl of food and water a day. Dogs are man’s best friend: this I believe.