I'm a dog person—always have been and always will be. I was born this way. Even as a child, I relished the attention of our German Shepherd, King, who sailed into bed with me on dark, stormy nights. He was terrified of thunder and lightning, and I loved cradling his huge, trembling body and whispering, "Everything's going to be okay, Buddy." One day during a particularly powerful thunderstorm, he disappeared from our backyard, and we never saw him again.
Since King, there have been many other dogs I have loved and lost—Boaz, Bubby, Ink, Trump, Roxy, Shadow, and our beloved Daisy who we lost just after Christmas last year. My heart still aches for her.
Some people don't get it. There will always be those who walk among us who can't comprehend the love and bond between me and my animals—between human and dog. I feel pity for those people, because the world must be a dismal, colorless, miserable place for them to live each day without the presence and connection of furry companions.
Sue Rogers Davis understands the depth of which a human can love a dog. Two years ago, a photo Sue posted on Facebook caught my attention. The photo showed her black lab, Sweeney, riding in her car with her. I instantly recognized the expression on Sweeney's face. I've seen the same look on my own dogs' faces—the pure, unadulterated joy of riding around town with me. Sue had posted the photo as a memorial to Sweeney, who had died of cancer.
Sue's keepsake story details the relationship she had with another dog, Sam, when she was just nine years old. Sam was much more than a pet to her—he was her playmate, her confidante, her sibling. Sam played tag and other games with young Sue and her friends. He also followed her to school sometimes. But after Sam snapped at a classmate, Sue's family was forced to get rid of him. A little piece of Sue died the day she watched Sam leave with a stranger.
Young Sue wrote a poem to commemorate the events leading to Sam's removal—a poem Sue has kept for decades as a keepsake. "My Poem About Sam," starts on page 56 of Project Keepsake. Thank you for telling your story, Sue, and thank you for being a tireless advocate for dogs.
And since it is National Dog Day, I hope you dog people will do something special with your dog today. Take him to the park. Play catch. Give him a treat. Brush him. Kiss him. Tell him he's a good boy—or tell her what a good girl she is. Let him or her sleep on the foot of your bed tonight.
The love of a dog—and the love for a dog—is boundless. I hope you are inspired to experience it for yourself one day. Please make a donation to a local pet rescue and advocacy group and consider adopting a shelter dog.