This is it, people! Today is the day. Bo Obama is coming home! We've all waited breathlessly for every little leak -- It's a portuguese water dog! His name is Bo! Oh, look! There's a photo of him running with Obama! Squee!!
Even Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, our resident expert on just about everything, took time off from her Obama Garden Watch to keep an eye on the Obama Puppy Watch, while simultaneously giving us a rundown of all the amazing benefits of animal companionship. (Talk about multitasking! Whew!) As an animal lover myself, I could have told you that my dog does wonderful things for my psyche, but it's mind-blowing (and enabling!) to know that there are hard scientific facts behind my happiness. Turns out I wasn't the only one who's mind was blown.
We asked you -- the readers, our community, the nuts n' bolts and lynch pins of this fine site -- to share stories of how your pets have touched your lives, and the response was overwhelming. With almost 300 comments, we had a lot to cull through -- but can't help considering it one of the most heart-warming activities we've ever had to do. (We highly recommend it!)
And so, without further ado, let the animal love begin!
My dog, Rigel, was a life saver. Twice he rescued me from potential injury/death. Once was when I was doing some free climbing, and another time was when my cousin and I got caught in a freak snow storm when hiking and became lost. Rigel passed away last summer, and I still miss him sorely.
He was my most faithful friend during one of the most difficult times of my life, when I faced potentially terminal illness. He was permitted to visit me in the hospital. When I was home, yet too ill to go out, he would pick up my groceries for me. I'd call the store down the street so someone could meet him. Rigel would go there, wearing his backpack. The person who met him would put my groceries in his backpack and send him home.
Dogs are highly intelligent. There are some that can sniff out cancer. We use them in search and rescue. Dogs help the blind, and they help people with seizures and other medical issues.
I am a medical student. I hope that my next dog will be able to help in my work as a therapy dog, search and rescue, perhaps even sniffing out cancer.
Rigel was a rescue. He may have been a Shiloh Shepherd, or a shepherd/malamute mix. Whatever he was, he was my hero and my best friend.
I make up songs and sing to my kitties, Teaser & the Firecat. For me, it seems that Firecat was the big red kitty that I had wanted since I was a child and he sits on my lap for hours and purrs and purrs. Its way more satisfying than winning an intellectual argument. If I had known I would have this much fun, I would have gotten two kitties at once long ago. Watching them race around together and learning the way that they communicate has been a lot of fun. I had dogs before, but kitties are really fun too.
Seven years ago I decided to adopt a dog. I decided, for reasons I'm not yet sure of, to try to adopt a disabled dog. I found a sweet little poodle mix at the pound whose back legs were paralyzed. Before making a decision, I asked a friend of mine (who is a veterinarian) about caring for him. I also discussed this with a woman who had a website about disabled dogs.
I finally decided to get him. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life! Happy is just that! Happy. His paralysis turned out to be temporary, although his back legs are still weak and he has occasional back problems. The thing is, Happy was never disabled. I learned from Happy that disability is largely a value judgment, and Happy valued himself and his own life very highly. I was going through a severe depression during this time and Happy's example, as well as his unconditional love, really helped me survive.
2 of my rescues visit hospitals and nursing homes on a regular basis. I have seen over the years that these visits are so important to and the highlight of the week at the 2 nursing homes we visit. The dogs always know who needs "extra" attention on different days.
Though they drive us crazy...
We had a wonderful yellow lab, named Luke. He had been trained for the "hearing impaired," but for some reason he flunked (something about his bark -- maybe he didn't bark at the right time). Well anyway, we got him at the SPCA and he was a wonderful pet. But if we took him camping, he managed to tangle with a skunk (and we had to head for home), or he would get in some poison oak -- more problems. And if we left him in a kennel, he came home full of fleas. Yes, we loved him dearly, he's gone now, but I don't want any more dogs.
And leave us prone to exaggeration...
I have two bulldogs that are about 14 months old. Since getting their puppy shots and being out and about in public, there has not been one instance where strangers come over to the puppies smiling and delighted to have a visit with Mamie and Bandit. The puppies very presence brings joy to me, my partner, and eveyone who encounters them. I was out with them at a shopping center a few weeks ago and literally several hundred people took time to come over, pet them, and ask about them.
They'll never forget us...
I was once away for 3+ years and when I returned home, our family dog, Frisky, sat by my side for 6 hours straight. Wouldn't let me out of her sight. Wouldn't leave me.
And to think I had worried she had forgotten me.
And, sometimes, they even save our lives...
No matter what time I come home from work my dog is always at the door to great me. The husband and kid are fast asleep by my black lab is standing there tail wagging as if to say hello, I missed you, I'm glad you're home. Our American Eskimo that passed away woke the family up in the middle of the night when a tornado was about to touch down a few miles away. We had no idea what was going on.
One thing though Mrs Obama may want to keep her shoes out of sight until little Bo is acclimated to his new home. Both dogs we've had always went for my shoes until they were trained. Never the guys shoes, just mine.
Please keep the stories coming -- and we'll keep posting them! And if you have any photos of you and your pets, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org -- we'd love to see them and, in turn, share them with the rest of you!