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.
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.