Wild Dog Becomes First Friend

The Desiderata of HappinessIMG_5708


Scouts's closeup









One of my favorite descriptions of dogs is from THE JUNGLE BOOK by Rudyard Kipling: “When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’  And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’”

Many writers in addition to Kipling have written about the wonder of dogs.   Here are three examples.  Agatha Christie wrote, “Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”   Emily Dickinson said, “Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”   And Dean Koontz, who includes dogs in his life and most of his novels, said, “Once  you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.”

In my July 22 post of Friday Favorites, I included this line from Max Ehrmann’s 1927 book, DESIDERATA: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” As it turns out, DESIDERATA has a recent edition called DESIDERATA FOR DOG LOVERS: A Guide to Life and Happiness.   If you’re a cat or horse person, there are books for you, too.               The Desiderata for Dog Lovers

Our family has been blessed by rescue dogs. Our beloved Maggie has been gone more than a year, but she continues to touch our minds and hearts, just as she did for 13 years.   Our puppy Scout from the Humane Society has warmed our hearts, made us laugh and sigh, kept us on our toes, and taught us patience.   My parents’ beloved Fritz came from the shelter, and our daughter’s family’s amazing German shepherd was given to them by a soldier who was being deployed and needed a perfect home for Duchess.

August is a special month to help animals in need, and August 26 is National Dog Day.  You can help dogs on this day, but you can also help cats, horses, birds, etc., by donating food, money, supplies or time to your local shelter or Humane Shelter.   When you drop off canned goods to your local mission or food pantry, remember that many homeless and elderly people also have dogs they love and need help to feed and care for them, so include cans of food or supplies for them, too.

The famous advice columnist, Ann Landers, wrote “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”   But in my opinion, if you do something that will help an animal in need, you absolutely will be wonderful.

The Desiderata for Cat Lovers

The Desid for Horse Lovers



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, Different kinds of homes, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference

49 responses to “Wild Dog Becomes First Friend

  1. Desiderata for our pets – now there’s an idea whose time has come.

    A writer/coach in a book I’m reading left this brief anecdote: His beloved dog had just died and his grief was raw. The service dog of one of his clients came up to his side during a workshop and sat down beside him, which he interpreted as empathy. The proceedings came to a stand-still as the dam broke loose. Of course, healing could begin, he says, with this very public and true acknowledgement in kind – dog to master. Very touching, like this post!

    • We have good friends who become foster parents for puppies for 2 years before turning them back to be trained as service dogs. I don’t know how they do it, Marian, loving and raising and training these dogs, knowing they’ll be giving them away, but they’ve raised 3 that went on to improve others’ lives. Our puppy Scout has become “best buddy” to their current dog Kodi, who will soon be going away to be trained, and Scout will be looking for Kodi to come over and play. Dogs are so like children, watching and waiting.

      • karenjeff2013

        Ummm….that would be me. 🙂 We get the “I don’t know how you do it” all the time. Actually, once you see one of your loving dogs working with their partner/handler, it isn’t difficult at all to let the puppy go. Another puppy raiser said that if someone asks about giving up the puppy, they don’t understand why we raise the puppies. We aren’t raising the puppy for us, we are raising the puppy for someone who needs help getting out of bed in the morning, or can’t pick up the keys they dropped.

        Our first puppy, Kenny, and Karen have a very special bond. Karen was so upset that she didn’t want to go to Kenny’s graduation (where he gets placed with his partner). A few months later, when turned in our second dog (Ceclie), we visited Kenny and his partner at his workplace. Kenny work’s at a care facility for the elderly with dementia and Alzheimers. Kenny’s partner said that a lot of people couldn’t remember much, some times not even their own name. But as soon as Kenny walked in the room they’d brighten up and talk about Kenny. Many people asked what was “wrong” with Kenny because he was being so active (quite the opposite of his normal self, his nickname was “Mr. Shuffles”). Kenny was very happy to see Karen again, and we had Celie with us. The care facility has around 400 people, and Kenny is a friend to every one them.

        After seeing that type of change in people because of a dog you raised, there is absolutely no problem in letting the puppy go and become someone’s life line. Our second dog, Celie, is partnered with a person in a wheel chair. We’re fortunate that he sends us photos and stories about Celie frequently.

        How can we let the puppies go? Well, our 3rd, Kodi, is about to go to college. Will we be sad to see her leave? Yes. Most definitely. Will we be happy to see her leave. Yes. Most definitely. After a couple of months of advanced training, she will change someone’s life forever. While we’ve had the honor and privilege of knowing her and helping her grow, she’s already touched uncountable people. From her workplace, to the mall, to the grocery store, and the street. People stop to talk with us about Kodi, and they leave a different person.

        Ooopss! This got a bit long.Sorry about that!

      • Jeff, you and Karen have raised terrific dogs. I especially remember Kenny, and learning he became such a successful helper with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients makes me especially happy. My dad would have loved to have visits from Kenny.
        Our dog Maggie surprised us all when she walked into Dad’s room, ran over without hesitation and jumped up on his bed to lie alongside him. Dad was confused and shocked at first, then comforted by the connection.
        Scout is certainly going to miss Kodi when she goes off to “college” for her training. She’s been like a wonderful big sister, romping, playing, running at full speed with the little sister imitating every move. We’ll all miss Kodi, but we know she’ll be making a big difference in someone’s life.

  2. Ahhh…for the love of dogs. I remember when your dear Maggie passed away. Reading about your love for her touched my heart. Last week when we were traveling to Hawaii we saw a Chow Chow in the airport. He looked just like our first dog. Zeus has been gone almost 17 years now, but seeing the dog at the airport brought back so many memories. Once you love a dog, you never forget them. XO

    • You’re so right, Robyn, and in 17 years we’ll be seeing a dog that reminds us of Maggie and will be flooded by memories, too. I’m sure of it; she was so much a part of our family and was there during the sad and happy times. Whenever Scout really does something puppy-ish– like finding a loose piece in the carpet and unraveling it–we imagine Maggie looking down on us: “I gave you this pup to keep you active…and to remind you what a good dog I was.” 🙂 ❤

  3. juliabarrett

    I love this. Now I must read the original Desiderata. Dogs make us better humans.

    • You can find the original Desiderata online, Julia. It’s actually one very long page, but in short book form it’s divided into sections and in some editions supported by other writings. It’s worth a read, and you’ll recognize some of the lines that have been used in cards and readings.
      Dogs do make us better humans, I agree.

  4. Jane Sturgeon

    Dogs flow with unconditional love and bless our lives. We can learn so much from animals and I know that my life has been blessed with the animals that have graced it thus far. Hugs and pats for Scout and much ❤ for you Marilyn, always. ❤

    • And to you, too, Jane. ❤
      Scout has reminded us that, like children, puppies have a learning curve and can be unpredictable. We laughingly say that when Scout is three years old and "mature," we'll have to get new carpeting and furniture. 🙂
      But the key word is laugh; she has also kept us active and laughing…and taking lots of walks.

  5. A good reminder of how pets touch our lives, and how we can help them and others. I had dogs growing up, but now we have two cats (both from a shelter). One probably would not have survived if we hadn’t adopted him, our daughter’s wish, because he growled and the people at the shelter we found out later called him “Devil Cat.” He’s adorable and sweet, but he still growls when he’s unhappy or scared.:)

    We do have a dog in our lives though–a “granddog.” We babysat him and his brother cat while my daughter and her husband were on their belated honeymoon.

    • We’ve had cats at the same time as dogs, Merril–Abbra, Solomon, and Calla Lily–and while they were very different in temperament and responses, they were still a source of joy for many years. It makes me smile that your granddog and his brother cat will be staying with you while your daughter and her husband can take their honeymoon. They’ll have a much better trip, knowing their little ones are in loving care. Such good grandparents you are! 😉

      • We actually went to their place 3 times a day. Their dog and cat would not do well with our two boys. 🙂

      • Our thirteen-year-old granddaughter has become our ally and best “babysitter” for Scout when we go to visit, Merril. For the first two evenings, Jim stayed home with Scout while I went out with the family, or I stayed and Jim went out. The fence wasn’t that secure and we didn’t trust leaving Scout alone. On the third night Grace showed up and announced that Grandpa and Mor Mor were going out to dinner because she was going to stay and play with Scout. It was the sweetest thing. 😉

  6. My eighty-nine year old aunt is visited each week by a puppy and her owner. The time spent together is always the highlight of her week. Enjoy your weekend, Marylin! xo

    • Penny, an elderly and semi crippled dachshund, makes the rounds in my mother’s assisted living facility, too, Jill. I think they’re hoping a younger, more energetic dog will join the visitations and add some vitality since Penny doesn’t seem to want to be petted now. It’s hard getting old, for both people and pets, but they’re doing the best they can.
      Have a great weekend, Jill. 😉

  7. I love Rudyard Kipling’s story of wild dog and wild cat. Did you see this recent story of a wild dog who became a first friend? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/08/18/gobi-marathon-dog-goes-missing-before-reuniting-runner/88960408/ Sadly, the story may not have the happy ending which was anticipated.

    • Gallivanta, you share the most amazing information. I hadn’t seen this tale of little Gobi. What a story, but like you, I’m thinking the ending won’t be a happy one.
      Kipling’s wild dog becoming first friend makes my heart happy. 🙂

  8. Beautiful post Marylin! I have read several of Dean Koontz’ Bliss to You dog books about the rescue dog he adpoted. Oh, such wonderful perspectives and stories.
    Thank you for this joyous reminder of how truly special dogs are in our lives.
    xo Joanne

    • Koontz’s acknowledgments in many of his early books had his beloved dog included, Joanne. He once had a dog die in one of his stories, and the reader response was so strong, he didn’t do it again. The BLISS TO YOU dog books are wonderful. You can save them for Penelope!
      ❤ to you, Joanne.

  9. You get a solid four paws up for this one Marylin.

    Dog is short for Dogen around my home. Everyone needs a good ‘dogen’ in their lives; sorry Cat people. They are more than pets, or so they should be. They teach us much, about life and our about ourselves. It is an relationship that needs little work to maintain – a pat on the head, a lick of the face and both know all is well in the world today.

  10. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Thanks, Marylin. We get to enjoy lots of sweet dogs in the community where we live now, without the responsibilities of ownership–although I know it’s not the same! As a cat owner I plan to get the cat book–and the horse one for my granddaughter away at college in KY horse country!

  11. Thank you for sharing these animal books, Marylin. Our fur babies, past and present, have and do bring so much joy into our lives. Indy barks a hello at Scout. Have a happy Friday. ❤️

  12. And Scout sends a BARK BARK back to Indy. (At 11 mos., Scout really knows how to bark to get the attention of dogs and their owners walking by on the sidewalk.)
    Our fur babies do bring us a lot of joy. Happy Friday to you, too, Tracy. ❤

  13. Don

    Beautiful post Marylin. Didn’t know that national dog’s day was on the 26th. Thank you for the reminder. Every dog we’ve had has crept into our hearts like yours. The little one we have now travelled all the way from South Africa at enormous cost to us, but it was worth every penny. Could never have left him. He’s lying right here next to me as I write this comment.

    • All the way from South Africa? Wow, Don, and yet I fully understand why it was worth every penny to have him with you.
      The dogs who’ve “crept into our hearts” are definitely the ones who’ve stayed there, even in our memories and dreams after they’re gone.

  14. I don’t know what we’d do without our greyhound! ❤

  15. We sure are enjoying our new dog, Dot. She had a play date tonight with the Spaniel upstairs. It was so cute to watch them play.

    • This is so much fun, Darlene, knowing that we’re not the only ones who arrange “play dates” for our dog. We never set up play dates for our daughter! She had friends come over to play and sleepovers, but never play dates as such, yet now our puppy Scout has thrived on play dates. I love it! 🙂

  16. Molly

    My Munchkin kitty is a four legged member of our family, for sure! 15 years ago she came into my life at a time when I needed someone to be my friend, someone to be at home for me all the time, and someone to keep me going! She filled all these roles!

    Years later she filled additional roles, she had to adapt to being a family cat! She plays such an important part in all of our lives!

    Munchkin does a good job of taking care of all of us!

    • Oh, I remember the day you and I drove out to the farm and adopted the barn kitty! Munchkin was so calm and quiet and cuddly…until we took her to the vet for shots and learned she had ears full of mites. Once the vet cleaned them out and she could hear, she became a loud, active, jump-from/over-furniture racing cat who kept us all laughing and running for cover.
      And she came into your life at exactly the time you needed her, then stayed to cuddle and play with Grace and Gannon and let even a big dog like Duchess know who is the boss. She takes very good care of your entire family, Mookie.

  17. I am not ready for another dog, but one day I will be.

    • After Maggie died, it took time to grieve over her loss, Gerlinde. And even now that we have a puppy, there are still times when we miss Maggie and wish she was here with us, too. She and Scout would have made quite a team. Some day you will be ready, Gerlinde, and the right dog will be there. ❤

  18. I think we forget sometimes that Lulu us a dog, she is so integrated into our lives. She is occasionally difficult but invariably rewarding and as she approaches 8 we make allowances. We are all ageing together. I’m not a cat-man though. Give me a dog any day 😍

    • I agree, Andrew. There’s no better way to age than with our dogs. Scout keeps us active (even when we’re tired), and laughing at her antics. She’s 11 months old now and already a very important part of our family

  19. Well said, my friend! Still miss our Bondy, but – oh – what a blessing she was in our lives. And it was a comfort to know that she had Maggie to hang out with! Forgive me for putting a FBF link here – I couldn’t figure out how to just put the picture. But it says it all for me! https://www.facebook.com/fatbottomfiftiesgetfierce/photos/a.784405488291443.1073741828.777682995630359/1133960070002648/?type=3&theater

    • The picture says it for me, too, Shel. When we rescue pets, we end up being rescued by them, too.
      And when they die, we never forget them. They’re members of our family and we always love them
      I hope our Maggie and your Bondy are friends now, and looking down on us and smiling. 🙂 ❤

  20. Jim

    Apparently, wolf-descendants and humans have had close friendships for quite a long time. Scientists uncovered fossil remains of a ‘dog’ in a single grave that could only have been carefully prepared by human hands. Those fossil remains were 14,000 years old. Well, Marylin, you may remember on July 24th of this year, the first anniversary of Maggie and my last hike together, I placed a few of Maggie’s ashes in a special place along The Crags trail. Maggie and I took that hike just six days before we had to put her down. I had tears in my eyes as I carefully placed her ashes. Puppy Scout was with me. It was her first high mountain hike, and she watched me with attentive curiosity while I placed Maggie’s ashes. I guess the close bond between canine and homo sapiens was meant to be. It is very old and very special. Your excellent blog post this week and your readers’ very emotional dog stories underline that notion. ❤

    • Thanks, honey. It was our experiences with Maggie and all our beloved cats and dogs that have gone on that compelled me to write this post . I believe that Scout sensed some connection with Maggie when you scattered the ashes. These dogs sense so much more that we give them credit for. ❤ ❤ ❤

  21. Karen & Jeff

    There’s a really nice website if you want to let everyone you meet know that you have a rescue dog (or just about any other type of dog, we have Poodle stuff).IHeartDogs.com has all kinds of ways that you can spend your money. They have jewelry, t-shirts, hoodie sweat shirts and other stuff. There prices are reasonable (or at least about the same as every other place).

    The best part of purchasing from IHeartDogs.com is that every purchase provides meals for shelter dogs. The website is saying they have provided 2.5 million meals in 2016. A t-shirt provides 7 meals, a long sleeved shirt is 10, and a hoodie sweat shirt is 14.

    And no, I’m not an employee or connected with the company in any way. I’m just a happy customer.

    • Thanks, Jeff. Now the information is posted here, and I also sent emails to several dog owners/trainers I know who will interested in going to
      I ❤ Dogs.com . Scout's swollen jaw from the wasp sting responded well after only one Benadryl, and by this morning she was back to normal. She and Kodi had quite a play date before the sting. 😉

  22. Wow, I had Max Ehrmann’s poem on my wall in high school and college, it was on a golden parchment paper and I had glued it to a brown tagboard and had it laminated. Many times I have thought of his wonderful words and felt comforted, Marylin.
    Thanks so much for connecting with my blog and commenting. I don’t use a reader on my cell phone but last year I had two purses stolen. I stopped going to the library because one had been caught on surveillance tape but alas, no money or restitution for me, along with not knowing what he looked like. Library staff said they were told not to describe him. I stopped posting long essays and now use my cell phone. Once a week I end up in library writing posts and eliminating email notifications. It was May, 2015 over Mother’s Day weekend. Hugs, Robin

    • It’s so good to hear from you, Robin. I’ve missed your posts, and I’m also sorry to hear you’ve had two purses stolen. I don’t understand why the library staff was told not to describe the one who was caught on surveillance tape, but I’m glad you’re okay. Does your post have a place to sign up to be notified each time there’s a new post? I looked but couldn’t find one. Please let me know. 🙂

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