Being Loved by a Dog
BY: T. Franklin Murphy |August 2018
Love is never enough. Sometimes people or animals are a mismatch drawing more from well-being than they offer.
Growling and with a quick lunge, my beloved Sheppard clamped down on my hand. I forcefully (and fearfully) put her in her crate, washed the blood from my punctured and bleeding hand, and cried. I reluctantly inherited a six-month-anxiety-ridden puppy from a troubled soul. Quickly my entire life became an appendage to this dog’s issues, extended lunch breaks playing fetch, various dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and visits to the vet. We had good days; we had bad days. But with age, her bad moments hurt. She loved me (however a dog loves) and I loved her. We became attached. Unfortunately, her unpredictable viciousness became unmanageable, not only threatening strangers, but even me, the person she loved.
Animals can be therapeutic. Humans have bonded with dog companions for thousands of years. A new branch of therapy has emerged using animals, and specifically dogs, to soothe emotionally distraught clients. We find refuge in the loving companionship of a slobbery, playful dog.
"Just as human relationships can be heaven or hell, so can a mismatch between a human and a canine. We may love the animal, but ill-chosen, chronically abused dogs may be disruptive, over-shadowing the promised therapeutic joys."
Just as human relationships can be heaven or hell, so can a mismatch between a human and a canine. We may love the animal, but ill-chosen, chronically abused dogs may be disruptive, over-shadowing the promised therapeutic joys. The young adult, newly entering the demands of survival, may not have the resources—time and money—to adequately care for a pet. A large dog may interfere with future housing changes, new babies, or financial setbacks. Many puppies quickly outgrow their cuteness and are ousted from the comfort of the house, and isolated from family. The young dog develops personality tics from these disrupted attachments and social isolation. The canine’s needs differ from humans in some ways but may be strikingly similar in other ways. Like human relationships, pets require emotional and financial resources to create a healthy companionship. Relationships with animals are less complex, considering only one mind drifs into exhausting ruminations of long term meanings. Dogs seem much better at recovering from disappointments and allowing the moment to extinguish the past.
We learn from life, drawing wisdom from partners, children and animals. Our relationships teach of the magical tapestry of existence. The love of a dog (or a cat or a horse or etc.) soothes our lonely and aching souls, allowing us to give and receive in this stunning experience of living. But the companion, human or not, must be chosen with care to magnify the beauties and minimize the pain.