My dad thinks our dog is a dumb, smelly animal. I have another opinion: there is no companion as true as one’s dog. While I have found the abilities of dogs tend to be wildly exaggerated by their biased caretakers, the ability of any dog to provide wholehearted, devoted companionship is beyond compare. I base this purely, but with confidence, on my experience with Cassie, my two-year-old Golden Retriever. From the moment I first met her, when she was a four-week-old puppy who charged full-throttle into my arms, I knew we would always be close. I did not realize then, however, just what this closeness could mean.
A dog takes every opportunity to greet you. I come home from fencing, and my whole family is watching a new “24” episode and ignores my existence. Cassie greets me at the door, wide-eyed, backside shaking as her tail wags, barely able to contain her excitement. A dog shows utter devotion on a daily basis.
Every moment is a moment to share. Whether I’m playing touch football with friends or studying for a science test late into the night, Cassie stays by my side. She is always attentive, always waiting for a signal to share some affection. Unlike a friend with unlimited text-messaging or a sibling mesmerized by a Wii, a dog knows no distractions as it accompanies its caretaker.
Every chance to enjoy the thrill of life is taken. If I ever have nothing to do, Cassie is always ready to go on a jog or play fetch. In contrast to my “Lost”-addicted uncle and frequently exhausted parents, procrastination and lack of energy never enters Cassie’s head.
Activities that might seem dull become joyful in the company of a dog. Before Cassie, practicing the clarinet for an hour at a time used to be boring. Now, I love to play because Cassie howls and sings as I play scales and certain pieces. Sometimes she even matches the pitch of a final note. A dog is totally, and, in some cases, literally in sync with its caretaker.
Regardless of the time of day, signs of faithfulness and loyalty flourish. It can be late at night, but Cassie will not go to sleep until she sees I am in bed. Moreover, if I am ever tired and need a break from my work, there is no more comfortable pillow. Never a fickle friend, a dog remains by her caretaker’s side day and night.
All secrets naturally can be entrusted, and all mistakes forgiven. I can tell Cassie anything, and she will not divulge it, and if I accidentally step on her tail, she will not hold a grudge. A dog keeps secrets and forgives easily.
A true companion, I have discovered, is one who brings joy to each moment with you, remains a steadfast, loyal confidante, and will stay by your side until the end. A dog encompasses all of these terms, therefore being a true companion.