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Animals Paul Batura: National Dog Day – celebrate the joy they bring to our lives


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Animals Paul Batura: National Dog Day – celebrate the joy they bring to our lives

It seems fitting that today’s National Day Dog falls right in the middle of the highly contentious political sparring season.After all, it was President Harry Truman who was said to have once remarked, “If you want a friend in Washington – get a dog!”Evidence suggests that dogs have been our friends for thousands of years,…

Animals Paul Batura: National Dog Day – celebrate the joy they bring to our lives

Animals

It seems fitting that today’s National Day Dog falls right in the middle of the highly contentious political sparring season.

After all, it was President Harry Truman who was said to have once remarked, “If you want a friend in Washington – get a dog!”

Evidence suggests that dogs have been our friends for thousands of years, a fact that has inevitably added so much joy to so many people’s lives, myself included.

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People like to say they have the perfect dog. Admittedly, I’ve probably said it from time to time, too.

animals Shadow (Photo courtesy of author)

Shadow (Photo courtesy of author)

But our current dog, Shadow, isn’t perfect – which makes him all the more lovable to our family of five.

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I was born into a family with a dog (a beagle named Snoopy), and remember picking out a shepherd collie puppy from the North Shore Animal League on a crisp autumn Columbus Day in 1982. Daisy was a terrific dog who was sweet, sensitive and could sense emotion. She was my childhood pal, a faithful companion to the end. We buried our beloved friend in our backyard beneath the maple trees, wrapped in her favorite tartan L.L. Bean bed cover.

Then there was a series of other dogs – Patriot, Shep, Macy and Sawyer – all great canines with many wonderful four-legged stories attached to each one.

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I still sometimes dream about Shep, our first Great Dane we “rescued” from a local shelter. He was everything the Dane breed is promised to be – regal, gentle and noble. Shep helped us get through the sorrow of many miscarriages and actually saved our infant son, Riley, when a space heater malfunctioned and filled the little guy’s room with smoke.

Another Great Dane – Shadow – arrived almost three years ago. Like many rescue dogs, his past is a bit checkered and uneven. We were told he was getting beat up by another dog in the family, but some recent findings suggest there may have been another reason for his displacement.

animals The author and Shadow (Photo courtesy of author)

The author and Shadow (Photo courtesy of author)

According to the American Kennel Club, there are seven “acceptable” colors of Great Danes – fawn (yellow/gold), brindle (yellow/black), blue, black, harlequin (white/black), mantle (black/white) and merle (gray/white).

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Shadow isn’t any of those – he’s a fawnequin – a white base covered with brown blotches.  Because he falls outside the normal seven colors, fawnequins aren’t permitted to compete in dog shows – a fact that likely made our big guy dispensable.

Our 125-pound buddy may very well be of little interest to breeders and dog shows. In addition to his unacceptable color, he has a crooked foot, a disfigured ear and eyes that chase shadows – but he’s become indispensable to us.

Whether a mutt or purebred, isn’t that the beauty and great draw of family dogs?

We say we rescue dogs – but many a dog has rescued their owner. 

Morning or evening, summer or winter, bull or bear market, they’re almost always in a good mood.

They keep us company when we’re lonely, cheer us up when we’re sad, calm us down when we’re mad, teach us patience when they screw up, force us to exercise when we’re feeling lazy, protect us when we’re feeling scared – and remind us that everybody needs somebody.

I love the sight of a sleeping dog in front of a roaring fireplace, especially when the wind howls and blows cold outside. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because I feel good about giving him a home and that he’s inside instead of shivering out there.

Truth be told, his presence warms our house and makes it an overall happier place to be.

We say we rescue dogs – but many a dog has rescued their owner.

The author’s name appears lost to history, but once upon a time, a fan of the famous four-legged breed wrote a touching poem about the earth’s creation, and how a faithful dog followed God around through each day and stage as He named all the world’s creatures. It ends like this:

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“When all were named upon the earth, And in the sky and sea, The little creature said, ‘Dear Lord, There’s not one left for me.’ Kindly the Father said to him, ‘I’ve left you to the end. I’ve turned my own name back to front, And called you dog, my friend.’”

Happy National Dog Day to all my fellow canine aficionados.

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