Wednesday, August 10, 2011

They Are More Like Us Than Not

Nearly two years ago now I adopted my little guy Buddy.
I had lost my Golden Retriever to cancer nine months prior to adopting the little guy. Buster and I had been together for 17 years, and losing him was really painful. He had been a great and loving animal, who was also extremely smart.

I have heard all kinds of estimates on a dog's ability to think/learn. Most people say they can learn about the same things as a two to three year old child. I have found this to be pretty much the case. The other thing I have learned after having had dogs for many years now is just how much like us they are.

People will frequently say a dog doesn't have "human" feelings, and don't try to assign that to them. To the contrary, I have seen dogs get depressed, cry at the loss of a "friend", and grieve the loss of an owner. I have seen them give love and comfort when their master is lonely or upset. These aren't "tricks" but demonstrations of real emotions and feelings.

Once, when I lived in Maryland, I had four dogs. All of them got along well and played together constantly. When one of the dogs was killed following a truck when we were moving, all three of the other dogs stood beside the road and cried mournful howls for several minutes. They realized what had happened and were mourning the loss of their little friend.

I had a German Shepherd once that was a fantastic baby sitter. He would follow my oldest son every where he went and any time anyone approached the child, the dog would step in between and watch to see the person's intent. Once when another child was bullying my son, the dog knocked the other boy down and stood over him nose to nose until I told him to stop. He didn't injure the other child, he just protected his master's son.
My daughter and I talked yesterday about a movie which was made about HachikĊ, an Akita from Tokyo who showed an incredible loyalty to his master. If you want a story that will tug at your heart and make you understand just how faithful and loyal a dog can really be, you must see this movie.

Dogs can develop many of the same illnesses and problems that people do. Recently, my little Boston Terrier Buddy has developed some serious allergies. He is allergic to grass, and keeping him from rolling in it when he occasionally goes out is a challenge. He gets a runny nose, red eyes and his skin gets red and rough. I give him antihistamines prescribed by the vet when this happens. I have done some additional research and found that dogs can even be allergic to poultry. That was a surprise. Many dogs are allergic to wheat.

If your dog exhibits excessive licking of paws, chewing at his feet, runny nose, or other symptom you think might indicate allergy, you need a quick trip to the vet for treatment. These allergies can sometimes cause serious infections. If you love your pet, please care for him just as you would any other member of your family.
They will return your love and give you more in return than you can imagine.

They are like us in so many ways. They can't talk, but believe me they can communicate. They can love and feel pain. They can be sick and tired. I love my new little companion Buddy, and he loves me. I hope he is around for many years, and I plan to take really good care of him to insure that is true.

Let me hear from you about your wonderful pets. I would love to know your stories.

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