We really thought, back in 2001, that we’d lived through the worst tragedy that could befall a nation. But this is 2020 and it seems determined to out-do the extremes of every past year. All of our dogs have become “comfort dogs.”
Dogs are filling more roles for people now than ever before. Whether times have just become that much more stressful, or we’ve recognized how intelligent and empathetic dogs are. Dogs are the only animals that humans have partnered with, in so very many ways.
Truly our best friends
We admit that the last few months would have been practically impossible if we didn’t have our dogs. When feeling despondent, they’re always there to cuddle and hug.
On the days that worry is overwhelming, we grab some treats and ask the dogs to come play training games with us. It doesn’t change the situation, but it distracts us. And playing with our dogs, even for just a few minutes, always lightens our mood.
And during the days when we felt trapped and restless, but had nowhere to go and nothing to do, we could grab a leash, a dog, and head out the door. When you have a dog, you can just walk. No errand to complete, no particular destination.
Or if we get a notion to be ambitious, the dogs are always there to supervise any improvement project. And share our frustration when things go wrong, or joy when they go right.
We know quite a few people who partner with their dogs for animal therapy programs, visiting nursing homes, hospitals, even universities during finals weeks. All of these programs have been on hold for months – no visitors allowed. We feel sorry for those who haven’t gotten their dog “fixes.” And for the dogs and their people on hiatus. All parties benefited from those visits. We know how much they’re all missing them.
We remember, this week especially, all the roles dogs play during tragedies. The search and rescue dogs. The comfort dogs. And especially the family companions who, like ours, all received extra hugs.
Much more than “pets”
Most of all, we feel sorry for everyone who doesn’t “get” what we’re talking about. For those who don’t know how dogs enrich our lives, expand our understanding, and demonstrate, every day, the meaning of uncondiional love.
Roger Caras said it best: “Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.”