‘Man’s best friend’ – a tribute

Will Rogers said, "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Anyone who’s had a beloved pet understands that statement … of the joy and value pets bring to our lives, and also the sense of loss in their passing. We recently lost our 10-year-old English pointer Belle to liver cancer. She was the fourth we’ve bid goodbye to over the years, and the emotional vacuum each has left behind is also a measure of how they enriched our lives. So please excuse me if I get a bit gushy and emotional in this week’s column.

While the choice of pets range widely, dogs, because of their very nature, closeness and dedication to their masters or mistresses probably explains their immense popularity. Although all dog breeds are “hunters at heart,” those of the hunting breeds usually form a unique bond with their hunting masters or mistresses. Whether this is due to the common endeavors they share when hunting, or simply a canine trait, regardless of the shared activities they have with their humans. Hunters and their canine companions basically form a bonded team with a sole purpose, to hunt. Unfortunately, a good dog’s lifespan can’t and doesn’t usually match that of its owner’s

I’ve often heard people who’ve just lost a beloved dog remark that “I’ll never go through that again,” meaning, I guess, that the grief they felt offset the joy the dog brought to their lives. The huge popularity of John Grogan’s best-selling book “Marley & Me” and the resulting movie exemplify that. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, having a canine companion means you’ll always have someone who’ll eagerly and gladly join you on whatever outdoor adventures you enjoy, come rain or shine. And they won’t complain or second-guess you if the outing or weather isn’t perfect.

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