This I Believe

Heather - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on December 4, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Man’s Best Friend

I believe in the love and companionship of a dog. I believe in the kindness and playfulness that exists in the touch of a wet nose against my hand. I believe in the unyielding excitement unleashed in the sound of four paws running to greet me at the door each day I get home. I believe that a dog’s fur coat is better than any pillow when you need to bury your face and let out a good cry. And I believe that no one knows you better than your four legged friend.

It’s hard to communicate how much Stella means to me and how much I learn from her each day. She does not say much, with words that is. But she speaks to me through her brown eyes to say “Sorry. Barking at the other dog was wrong. I shouldn’t yell at others,” or “Thanks for the cookie. I tried really hard this time to listen to you and I’m glad you think I did a good job.” Some people might think I’m foolish for believing that she says those things or for the mere fact that I actually strike up a conversation with her from such topics. Often times I get the reaction, “You talk to your dog?? But she can’t understand you!” But I know she understands me just as much as I understand her and no one can tell me differently.

It is not surprising to me that dogs have served many important roles throughout history. They have served as royalty, have had a special place in many Presidential White Houses, and been instrumental in some of the major wars of the 20th century. Dogs serve as guides, aides and friends to the disabled and are used in the rehabilitation of prisoners in American prisons. They have been the catalyst for great stories, or included in many famous paintings, photographs, films and television shows. Dogs are our avid admirers and our staunchest supporters; they listen with an open ear and a quiet tongue; they lead when you are lost, and they can teach us some life’s biggest, and hardest lessons.

I believe that through our mutual affection for each other, Stella and I have grown in ways that were unexpected. Stella likes to snuggle and have her back rubbed, when before she would shy away from touch, maybe from years of neglect or abuse. There are, after all, two years of her life that I know nothing about. Seeing her grow into such a loving dog has been one of the most beautiful things imaginable. She is certainly a different dog and I am most definitely a different person because of her. I have learned that dogs truly teach us about ourselves and others. They let us see a different kind of life. And for that I will always be grateful and continue to believe in the power and strength of a dog’s companionship and love.