This column is going to the dogs

Throughout the course of our life-time, just about all of us have or will be blessed with having the joy of owning a dog

Throughout the course of our life-time, just about all of us have or will be blessed with having the joy of owning a dog as a favourite pet. Whether your rambunctious pooch is a registered purebred or a Heinz-27 variety, we will always cherish most of those countless memories that we shared and nurtured together as individuals or families over many exciting years from infants to seniors. Dogs, no matter what their size, nationality, or temperament, have feelings just like the rest of us, and here is what they would likely tell their beloved masters if they could talk.

● Don’t be upset when I jump for joy when you come through the door. I only live 10 or 15 years, and you are what makes that time so enjoyable. It’s hard on me when you go away, I get lonely, and that’s why I sometimes make a mess or chew up your favourite slippers.

● Give me time to understand what you want from me. I don’t always get it right on the first try, but I promise I’m trying as hard as I can.

● Give me your trust, just like I trust you with my life.

● Don’t be angry with me for too long, and please don’t lock me up to punish me. You have your friends and family to keep you happy and entertained, and I only have you.

● Take me inside when the weather gets bad. The back yard doesn’t have air conditioning or a heater. You don’t have to let me on the couch, but a small part of the kitchen or an old blanket is much better than sleeping in the snow or rain.

● Talk to me. Sure, we don’t speak the same language, but the sound of your voice always brightens up my day, and I do understand your gentle commands.

● Comfort me when I’m scared. You know a lot more about loud noises, strange people, and new places than I do. I need to know that you’ll always protect me from bad things, and that I can always feel safer when I’m with you.

● Remember that I will never forget how you treat me. Teach me that humans are made of love, not pain, and don’t let me forget it.

● Come outside with me. The sights, sounds, and scents of nature are some of my greatest pleasures in life. I don’t care if we play, go for a walk, or just sit under a tree together….I just want you to experience them with me. Please don’t lock me in the car or keep me cooped up for too long, because like you, I also have to go to the bathroom. If you use that plastic bag when we are out on a nice stroll, then the neighbours won’t be mad at you, or blame the dog for everything.

● Let me make new friends. Introduce me to other dogs, cats, or even bigger animals. We might not always get along in the end, but having some more friends that look, act, and smell like me makes my life so much brighter.

● Give me a treat once in a while. Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I know that you want me to feel healthy, so I understand when you don’t share your own meals or leftovers with me. But giving me a dog biscuit or mixing tasty veggies with my dinner is guaranteed to make me wag my tail extra hard.

● Please don’t hit me. Occasionally I might growl or even bite, but instead I would rather cover you with sloppy wet kisses, because I choose not to hurt you. Try to make the choice not to hurt me but to somehow forgive me. Introduce me to people that I don’t know so that I won’t get over protective or bark too much.

● Try to understand that I need my alone time. I love you more than anything, but even though it’s rare, I don’t always want to play or cuddle. Please don’t be sad if I’d rather sleep on the cold tile floor instead of your bed on hot summer nights, and if I don’t always play as much as I did when I was a puppy.

● Show me your world. The house and yard might be the only places I ever see unless you let me come with you. A trip to the pet store, to the park, or just a ride in the car is always so exhilarating for me. I can’t wait to see what you want to show me, and I love to run with you beside me, or to chase a ball or a stick.

● Teach me new things. Learning new tricks keeps my mind active, but most of all it gives me a way to impress you. I love showing off for your friends, looking up at you, and seeing how proud you are of me.

● Let me get dirty one in a while. Your world is inside, but I thrive outdoors. Sometimes I find a lot of mud or a lake that smells like all of it fishy inhabitants. I understand that you don’t want to wash that stuff off every day, but as long as it’s safe, let me go back to my wild roots every now and then. Hosing me down in the back yard is much better than a bath.

● Touch me. Nothing makes me feel more than loved than when you take time out to give me some one-on-one attention, massage me around the ears, or rub my belly.

We only have our dogs for a little while, so let us treat them as one of the family and as a precious four-legged friend and loyal companion.

Have a great week, all of you.