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I maintain that, when it comes to love, humans could learn a thing or two about it from dogs!

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Forever loves

You’ve probably heard the expression, “the dog days of summer,”and, if so, you know the connotation, even if you’ve not looked up the origin of the term. It doesn’t sound very engaging. In fact, it refers to a time like this, when finding a pleasant spot is difficult without running up your Nipsco bill and/or shooting your water bill clean out of sight!

Then there’s “a dog’s life,” which dates back to the 15th century, and is interpreted as a “worse than miserable existence!”

We even have the terms, “dogging somebody out,” “treatin’ somebody like a dog,” “doggone it,” and even the “b” word, tossed irreverently at somebody that’s angered us to the nth degree!

Such negative regard for dogs, especially in the Black neighborhood, may be tied to the reality experienced in the past when dogs were used to reduce Blacks’ humanity. What person of color, and double-digit years, has not seen pictures of dogs set upon their ancestors as if they were ferocious animals, rather than human beings?

For most, that image is a page in history, a reality for fewer and fewer people. Dogs have gained popularity since the day when people, like my father, only had dogs for service. There was no allegiance if Spot couldn’t help herd cows or protect the chickens from sly foxes. Hardly able to care for their human family, many saw dogs as another liability, one more mouth to feed.

Times have changed, and dogs have achieved a new status, due to, what I’ll call “the Lassie effect.” If you were born before the seventies, you had to remember that collie who could do everything but drive a school bus! If there was trouble or danger, she would communicate it to her humans, clearer than some people who have the gift of speech. Whatever the problem, you could count on Lassie to go home, get the savior(s), and take them right to the one in need.

In reality, we’ve read about, or maybe experienced, allegiance dogs have had for their owners. They put their very selves between their owner and threats to their master’s lives! You’ve read about dogs that, unable to free their humans, lie beside them and die. That’s loyalty, that’s allegiance, and I dare anyone to say that only humans can love! In fact, I maintain that, when it comes to love, humans could learn a thing or two about it from dogs!

My love for fur-covered, four-footed friends began with a stray when I was a child. I remember so clearly picking up the little puppy that would be my constant companion. It was a distance from my home, at the edge of a field where we three kids had gone to weed a field. I remember just as poignantly the last time I saw her, through puddle-filled eyes, as my dad took her away.

I could have sworn off love then… or after having Cindy put to sleep… or Peaches… or DJ… or Lucky… But, they all needed love, and they all returned it. I have no regrets.

So, you who have lost a “fur baby,” don’t dwell on the pain of loss. Don’t swear off sharing the love you’ve learned. One somewhere needs that stockpile of devotion… hugs that come so easily… love you’ve learned… right now! It’s stored in your heart.

Don’t be afraid to share it. Love again… and when your heart is ready, a cold nose will be ready, too…

(In memory of Charlie)

Story Posted:07/30/2018

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