I didn't believe in love at first sight until July 25, 2010, when my husband and I walked into an animal shelter and met our first dog, Rio. He was a yellow Lab mix with a bite on his cheek and skin stretched thin over his ribcage.
The average dog is in many ways like a child in the toddler stage. If you're familiar with the time, attention and energy a child between the ages of 12 and 30 months requires, that's about what you should expect to provide for your dog, for all the years of his life.
So why do we love our pets so much? Let me answer as a dog owner, even though this list may attest to cats, birds, hamsters, snakes, horse, chickens or whatever other pet an owner may share his or her life with.
'How is Sophie?' a neighbor asked the other day, inquiring about our endearing Yellow Lab. Sophie, with her lively personality and satanic eyes (she had Horner's syndrome), was an important member of our family for a long time. We loved her. We lost her. And now life is pretty awesome.
I never wanted the responsibility of children, yet this min pin taught me much about being responsible and accountable, and I learned how to give and receive absolute unconditional love. Certainly, I underestimated the impact her presence would have on my life.
Murphy the Portuguese Waterdog was my Marley, my Lassie and my Toto, except for one small thing. He wasn't a very good dog. Our nuclear family adored "The Murph," but outside of our home he wasn't about to win any Mr. Congeniality contests.
Jack has always surprised and delighted me, and every time I see a sticker that asks "who rescued whom?" I think the phrase "dog owner" is inaccurate. To call a dog one's "pet" is a disservice to the dog. Jack has been a remarkable friend.