Think back to when you were a kid. For many, childhood memories are full of happy, fun and carefree times. But let’s face it, growing up isn’t easy either. It can have moments of heartbreak, disappointment and loneliness. This is why every kid needs a dog.
You may need your parents help on this one. Who was one of the first family members you met when you were born? My guess is your family dog was one of them. Here you are so small and unassuming, yet you have just knocked him down a notch in the pecking order of the family. Does he care? Not a bit. He’s fascinated by you and sticks by your side always. He’s the first one there when you cry. He’s the one that sleeps under your crib or outside your door. He monitors all of your first visitors to make sure no one harms a hair on your little head. From the very beginning, he’s your defender and protector. Nothing will ever hurt you as far as he is concerned.
Remember those days before you were even in school when there was no one to play with? You knocked on every neighbor’s door and none of the neighborhood kids were home or they weren’t allowed to play. When you’re that little, it’s a devastatingly lonely and bored feeling when no one can play and that’s all you want to do. But the family dog is always willing to play. Boredom and loneliness problem solved.
Now think back to grade school. Remember that bully (or maybe you were the bully) that just wouldn’t leave you alone. You couldn’t really tell the teacher for fear of being a “tattle tale” and your mom and dad always had that sage advice to “just ignore them” (though now as a parent what else can you really say or do). No one understood and no one could help you. But your family dog was there to listen. He’d look at you with those big brown eyes and just feel your sadness. He’d sit with his head on your lap just pouring his love and sympathy into you. When no one else could make you feel better, he could, and just knowing he was always waiting for you at home made things just a little more tolerable. Comfort is often found in the love of a dog.
Now think middle school (shuttering at the thought too). Awkward, gawky, and hormonal are about the only words that come to mind to describe this stage of life. Days could be hard and what look like small disappointments now were monumental when you’re prepubescent. Some days you’d come home from school simply distraught. Your parents didn’t get it (and let’s face it, often there was nothing to “get”), but your family dog did. He’d sit patently, again probably with his head in your lap, and listen for hours to you rant about the cruelties and total unfairness of life. Understanding and patience are two of dog’s best attributes.
We’re onto high school, where people’s experiences often split. Some will say best years of their lives and some will say worst. But there are some experiences that everyone shares. Think back to that first boy or girl friend that you were so in love with. That person hung the moon and you never thought it would end. But it did and your world crumbled. Whether you cried for days or kept it all bottled up inside, you were hurting. And your dog knew that. And he knew, once again, you needed him there to hug and cry or just to sit by your side. He gladly gave you his strength and would have given so much more if he could.
And then you were off to college. Saying goodbye to everyone was so hard, but looking at your dog, your truest and best friend for all these years, how do you say goodbye to him? Will he understand why you’re leaving? But you go with the promise that you’ll come back and, of course, you do. And he’s there waiting for you every time you do. Trust and loyalty are a part of every dog.
You know where this story will end and that part I cannot write. The point is, the family dog is more than “just a dog” to your children. He is the truest and most loyal friend they could ever have. He listens and understands when no one else can or will. He is trusted with secrets that children cannot share with anyone else, but have to be told nonetheless. He is comfort and patience and understanding wrapped in a fur coat that catches more hugs, kisses and tears than parents ever realize. He is the family dog and every family with children needs one.
Please contact us at 614-527-3799 or at info@dogwatchofcolumbus if you need assistance finding your local humane society or a specific breed through a rescue group.