Today is Dog Appreciation Day. While we love our pooches, we should truly appreciate them too, as they leave in an instant, leaving us forever changed.
It is often said that we don’t deserve dogs. The mountain of internet videos, canine selfies and dozy coffee shop accomplices attest to this fact. We certainly don’t. With today being Dog Appreciation Day, it is only right that we treat our goodest boys and bestest girls with the schmacko of our respect. Studies have proved numerous benefits of the doggo/person relationship. According to science, just looking at dogs can make people smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being and they are happier, on average, than people who own cats or no pets at all.
However, it is only those who have lost them, who truly know their value. You tend to miss the stupid things, the way that they ruin your shit, or the coils they leave for you in the middle of the kitchen floor after sifting through the bin while you slept. The barking at nothing, the vomit on your lap. The very casual resistance they offer when it’s time to leave the park and they’re not ready. The fact they raise our pulses when they’re playing the centre role of douchebag: unleashed. Most of all, the fact that they’re present. It’s only when that stinky love bag is no longer next to you, do you understand that the space at your feet, or hip, is extremely difficult to fill.
I’ve recently gone through the ills of doggy divorce. My fur daughter was the collateral damage of a broken relationship. It wasn’t her fault that her parents couldn’t work it out. She was gorgeous, and is still. It’s an odd stasis in grief. She’s still around, but she’s not. I made the heartwrenching decision as a means to soften the blow. She’d be staying with mum, but she’ll also have her doggy sister to keep her happy. She didn’t need me. So, I left, attempting to pretend that all was well, not presenting any hints that I wouldn’t be coming back. I didn’t hug her as tightly as I wanted to, and away I left, fading into the pall of Darwin midweek darkness.
In the months since, there’s not been a day where I don’t regret my decision. In the early morning hours of furious cerebral workings, I think that yes, the relationship was toxic, but it’s almost worth going back to get my best friend back. But, in daylight hours, I take myself walkies with an Australian Shepherd shaped ache within.
I hope she’s doing ok. I hope it didn’t hurt much.
Since, I’ve readily thrown myself into the company with most every dog I see, and I’ve readily made a fool of myself. It doesn’t mean anything, but it means everything. It helps.
So, today (or whenever) dog-owners, when you see that person will glassy eyes interrupting your morning coffee to meet your dog, let them.
That, and give your furry idiot a hug today on behalf for all of us who no longer can.