Here in the Midwest we are firmly entrenched in the dog days of summer. The heat index is soaring to over 105 degrees, typical of August. Also there is a video sweeping the Internet starring a hero dog. In the video a little dog trying to cross a busy highway is struck by a car. Enter the hero dog, who bravely crosses a four lane highway, drags his doggy friend out of the way, saving his buddy's life. Then there are the two dogs I have draped across my feet at this very moment. All this dog speak has led me to wonder exactly what it is about dogs that leave us so enamored. After much consideration I think it all comes down to this:
Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love, faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.
And, I think therein lies the secret behind man's best friend. In this world, in this life, isn't it great to have at least one living creature that sees us as the conquering hero? The deserving object of absolute devotion? My husband and son love me, but at the end of the day, when I return home from work, it's the dogs that jump up and down, so excited to see me they can barely contain it. If I sit in my chair then Jesse and Echo will sit there beside me, until the end of time if that's what I ask of them. All they want in return is a good belly rub, for me to toss them a ball once in awhile and a bowl full of food. I'm ashamed to admit that even if I forget one of the three, my dogs are still there for me. Full of love and endless admiration. Surely we don't deserve it, but there it is.
They sit in the window and watch until I have pulled off the street and out of sight. When I pull in the drive they're in the same spot, watching. My husband tells me that he always knows when I have entered our neighborhood. No matter what the dogs are doing they will stop and walk to the window, tails wagging. Five minutes later he'll hear the slam of my car door.
They sleep on a rotation between our bed and our son's, ever vigilant throughout the night. These two dogs are the first faces that greet my son when he comes home from school. The last ones he sees before he closes his eyes at night. They have licked away his tears, snatched his sandwich off the plate and destroyed most of his stuffed animals.
They have given us their unconditional love. I'd like to think that in return we have given them the same. I know that's not always true. We get busy. We forget to take them for walks. We shower them with affection when it's convenient and push them away when it's not. We buy them a certain type of food because of the price and figure they'll learn to like it. We've given them a house. A roof over their heads. They have turned the house into a home. When I pull out of my driveway they are the faces I look for, wave at, love.