Dogs are many things to many people. To some, they are furry companions to stave off loneliness. To others, they are childhood best friends, partners in mischief, or stoic guardians to be reminisced about as adults. They are jogging partners, social ice breakers, and sometimes even serious career dogs — the list goes on and on.
These creatures, who come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and coats, have meant so much to we humans. For me, it’s been a journey through adorable puppyhood, annoying adolescence, and training woes and achievements; now, we are entering a new age of greater maturity, a time when I can look at my dog and see something much greater than the joys of puppyhood or his annoying habits. So this is for my dog, and hopefully for yours, too.
Here are five reasons I admire my dog.
As far as physical health goes, Axle hasn’t had much to write home about. As a puppy, he went through a brief bout of Giardiasis, and as an adult had a few worms at a vet visit, but he hasn’t had to deal with loss of limb, mobility, or of senses. Mentally and socially, though, he has quite the record. He was attacked by other dogs on various occasions, and later had to remain frustratingly restrained in his crate as he watched a thief enter our home repeatedly to steal things.
Despite these things, he remains incredibly loving and gentle, and even accepting to some strangers. I don’t know if this behavior is attributed to the theory that dogs only live in the “here and now” or if he truly has a resilient spirit, but I admire him for it nonetheless.
Axle’s humor may be unintentional, but it is priceless. Some of the looks he gets on his face, especially if he’s guilty of raiding the cat food bowl again, are amazing. In the evenings, he’ll often get a “wild hair” and start frolicking with a tennis ball, batting it around and pouncing on it like a puppy.
Crisp fall mornings and evenings have the same effect on him. He’ll throw his ears back and lope around like a gazelle, roll in the dewy grass, and snap at the wind with his teeth. To him, he is making a wonderful display of agility and fearlessness, but to me, he looks like a newborn calf trying to find his legs in a strong wind.
Some people assume since my dog is big or an American Pit Bull Terrier that he’s automatically “tough” or “brave.” Ha! He tucks his tail at the vet’s office and ends up expressing his anal glands on them when they just try to hear his heart with the stethoscope, hardly the image of the fearless dog!
Besides his fear, he’s a model patient once the poking and prodding is over, and will even give the vet a sloppy hand kiss afterward. When someone comes to our door, he puts on his best bark and approaches the door like a soldier, ready to handle any intruder, even if he’s inwardly afraid. I believe if someone opened that door and said, “Boo!” he might tuck tail and run, but he is fearfully brave regardless!
Whoever said dogs have no patience had met the wrong dog. While Axle has not mastered waiting patiently while a piece of meat balances on his nose for some command allowing him to eat it, he certainly displays patience in other ways. He is a model citizen around cats and patiently bears our youngest cats’ playful antics.
I think he secretly enjoys the attention, because he’ll often initiate the play, then lay down as though he never egged it on. He patiently waits for me to take him for a walk as I get the stroller ready, strap in the baby, have to change a diaper, then get ready all over again.
Some people say that a dog can’t love, that they only stick around for the food. I beg to differ. I think if Axle was around just for the food and comforts of a dry home, he wouldn’t be so … well, loving. He’s a total snuggle bug, and he likes to sleep as close to us as he can get.
He also likes to “make the rounds” on the house, meaning each night, he checks each room, stops by the crib to sniff the baby, and come sniff each of us on our side of the bed before he settles to sleep in his own. I consider those his goodnight kisses. Even if he doesn’t get his way with something or gets in trouble for running off with our dinner, he’s certainly not one to pout (for long) and will come bounding back quickly for an ear scratch.
What do you admire about your dog? Let us know in the comments below!
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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.