October 08, 2008

Old Dogs are Best Dogs

The Washington Post tends to have some interesting dog and animal photo galleries, with today's maybe more thought provoking than usual, at least to me.

Titled, "Old Dogs are Best Dogs," the gallery features a poignant collection of photos of faithful friends who have long passed puppyhood.

Some are blind, some have eyes that look a bit hazy, but all are faithful, loving companions who've been by their master's/mistresses' sides for 10, 12, even 16 years. Who can beat a friendship like that?

In this odd economy, dogs are often the silent, overlooked victims. A recent article I read stated that here in my area of Wisconsin, at least 10 dogs had been turned into the local humane shelter in one week. Sadly, some people are feeling the pinch, many are hurting. But the newspaper also revealed our society's growing selfishness - saying that many families had to make the choice to fill the car or feed the dog.

Yes, gas has taken a big chunk out of people's wallets; yes, getting to work is a necessity. Many people are now regretting those huge, gas-guzzling SUV's and trucks. But... I can't help but wonder, what have they cut out of their lives? Have they stopped eating out? Have they cut back and begun cooking simple, penny stretching meals at home if need be? (Remember those filling meals like Chili Mac?) Quit smoking - drinking alcohol or that Starbucks? How about cable TV, satellite, what else?

I've had dogs all my life. Only once did I give up a dog that we couldn't control. Fortunately, the Shepherd mix ended up being trained as a therapy dog for a wheelchair-bound woman. Otherwise, I've always viewed a dog as a life-long choice. They grow attached; they love and await you. They depend on you and they grieve.

I don't want to over-simplify, but there is so much waste, foolish spending, selfishness, and over-eating in our society. There has to be something, somewhere, that a person can give up before they make such a terrible, unbelievable choice.

The dog or the car? Which one would you choose?

** Your Turn: if things got that bad, what would you do about the family pet? Could you give them up or how would you adjust?


  1. There are a lot of things I could do without before I'd get rid of my dog - newspaper subscriptions, satellite TV, air conditioning. In the current economic crunch, tho, I do worry about my horses. In one sense, they are a luxury. But it was my first horse, Frostie, who began my writing career. I helped pull her baby, Snoopy, out when he was born. I don't know what I'd do without them.

  2. I love horses, too. They can be even more expensive than dogs, except once dogs get older - and ill...

  3. Those picture are priceless...had me laughing~! Especially the one that thinks he's a house cat...and the one that ate the obedience book! Hahaha...too funny! I'm a cat person myself, but totally understand how a pet can be a member of the family, I know mine are! Great topic Chris!

  4. My wife loves the IDEA of a pet, but she can't stand living with them. Allergies. Anal retentive house-cleanliness disorder. After three unsuccessful tries at having a pet (each time having to give the animal up for adoption), I just gave up. Sigh, maybe when I get that dream retirement home with 10+ acres I can have my two Labrador Retrievers.

  5. I loved that dripping wet mutt!

    Marvin - well, I know, you have to overlook the dog hair. :>0. It's a fashion accessory.


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