A love of dogs

Just this morning I was asking Aaron his thoughts on why some people choose not to have a dog. Now, I wasn’t asking about people who can’t afford a dog or people who move around a lot or really even, dare I say it, cat people. I’m talking about your average, every day folk who live a fairly comfortable, pet-free life, specifically a dog-free life. Aaron, borderline annoyed by my inquiry, suggested several reasons, including not wanting to spend the time, or the money, on a dog; a fear of dogs based on an incident involving a Rottweiler; or just plain not liking dogs. Aaron even went so far as to say he could relate to these willfully dogless people, informing me that not every dog was as charming as my beloved Graceface. Well, duh.

But here’s the thing. I’m not daft. Or at least I don’t think I am. I get that some people just don’t want a dog. I see it all around me, every day. I have more friends that don’t have dogs than do have dogs. What I guess I’m really asking is, how can I be so wedded to the notion that life simply must include a dog when some people — people I love very much — are so indifferent to the animal? See, for me, it feels almost primal, like something I have very little control over. I stuff myself with pills and medicines, own a million cleaning products, and have ripped out carpeting, all so Gracie and I can live together. The very thought of Gracie leaving me is something I can barely stand to contemplate. When I do think about it, in the abstract, I know that the only way to handle it will be to get another dog. No dog will ever be able to replace my puppy, but I cannot bear to think of home without a dog there to greet me. In fact, the idea of home without a dog is no home at all. But this is obviously not so for, as Aaron pointed out, most of the world.

I wonder what makes some of us so in love with dogs and others so, well, not. I obviously don’t have the answer. But articles like this make me feel like I’m in good company.

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8 Responses to “A love of dogs”


  1. 1 Raoser November 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I want a dog so badly. I can’t wait to move so I can have a baby puppy who I can bring home to play with your baby puppy. I guess what I’m saying, is I don’t know how anyone could not want a dog. And please don’t get me started on cats. Of course, I’m prejudiced because a cat will actually cause me to die. I adore animals, and I think cats are pretty cute, but I’m not willing to die for one.

    Thanks for the article. I’m not going to lie- I got all teary. I should probably stay away from dog adoption days for the next few Saturdays…

  2. 2 Tammy November 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I completely agree with you!! We lost the perfect dog to old age 4 years or so and my beloved husband can’t bring himself to get another dog for several reasons, but most of all no other dog will be as perfect as Katie and he simply cannot go through that kind of grief again. But I’ll keep begging until he gives in….

  3. 3 kateandgracie November 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I think that it’s so interesting how common that reaction is to the death of the most perfect dog…I mean, don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. It just makes me sad when dog lovers almost can’t have dogs because they love them too much. I have a co-worker here who is about the most dog-loving person I could ever imagine and when her beloved Walter passed three years ago (is that right? I think so), I assumed they would get another pup because they are such dog people. But…three years (or so) later and still no dog. She says she knows no other dog will be like Walter so, while they think about it, they can’t bring themselves to take the chance on another pup. It makes me sad because I know a dog would be so lucky to have them and I think they would be so happy again with a dog.

    On this Thanksgiving week, and all weeks really, I am so thankful for my dog.

  4. 4 Sara H November 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Maybe a lot of those folks never had dogs. My sister agonized over getting a dog, even though she loves them. After years of debate, she finally got one, and now I bet she couldn’t imagine life without one. Milo is a hoot and a half.

  5. 5 kateandgracie November 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Milo is also a super duper cute name!

  6. 6 kateandgracie November 23, 2011 at 10:28 am

    And I think you’re definitely right — I think a lot of it has to do with growing up with a dog. But what I also think is semi-interesting is dogs and kids…Some kids seem to naturally just love dogs and some seem to be very afraid of them — both without having had any real experience good/bad. Again, it seems like dog feelings are something very ingrained in people. Or then again, for the many folks out there that are relatively indifferent, not ingrained at all.

  7. 7 Jane Roe November 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I just LOVED this post. As you well know, I fall under the dog-lover category in spades. I cannot imagine life without my dogs, all of them. Maddie is dog seven in my life and I can promise you that she is just as special to me as dog number one was. Is she the same, no. But she is Miss Maddie just as Shannon is still Sister Shannon and Ozzie was Ozzie Bozzie Wozzie. I guess what I am trying to say is that each dog I have had has brought his or her own special love and personality into my life and I have been the richer for it.

    And as for children and dogs, Tim is a dog lover and my grandchildren are dog lovers. They have only known life with dogs, and their responses to dogs shows it. Just yesterday when we were buying Christmas trees, some people came with two huge dogs, one of which looked remarkably like a wolf. Were Kyle and Erin intimidated? Not hardly. They were immediately off to go say hi to the nice big doggies.

    My mom used to say to me that I should just try life without a dog so that I could see how much easier it was, but I noticed until her dying day the visits she enjoyed the most were the ones that included the dogs.

    I have found that having two dogs is the best way for me to get around the tragedy of losing one. In fact, a couple of times I have temporarily gotten up to three dogs when I knew that the end was coming. That’s what I did when I knew the end was coming for Ozzie. Shannon and Ozzie were very close. I don’t mean to make them seem human or anything, but the fact is that they seemed to truly care for each other, When Ozzie came home from his last surgery, Shannon was immediately next to him, licking him and lying next to him until he finally started to get better. When I finally had to have him put to sleep, I don’t know what she would have done without Maddie.

  8. 8 kateandgracie November 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Janey, your comment made me tear up. First, the image of Kyle & Erin scampering off to meet the big dogs is just two cute for words. And then thoughtful Shannon coming to Ozzie’s side…Well, exactly. Dogs are just the bees’ knees. Every day I am grateful for Graceface. Even that day two weeks ago when, out of nowhere, she went and threw up four times (!!!!) all over our bed.


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