Monday, March 23, 2009


A while back, when I wrote about Dutchess, my first rescue dog, a friend sent me an email. She gave me permission to use it. I accidentally just deleted the original email ,sorry Joan, but this is as best as I can remember.

Joan and her husband Ted were lovers of the gentle giants, Great Danes. They usually got their animals from a Dane rescue so the animals often came with some baggage. Kelley was such a dog. Because Danes are such large animals they appreciate a soft place to sleep, usually the couch or your bed. Kelley had evidently been trained by a former owner not to get on the furniture. Joan and Ted tried but she must have been beaten badly in her former home. She would not, even with coaxing and treats,ever climb on the furniture.

Ted was quite sick and was subject to long hospital stays. Joan really would have liked Kelley's company in bed on the long nights when Ted was gone but the dog was too terrified to give her comfort.  Then one night around midnight, Hospice called to say Ted had passed.

Joan fell back on the bed when she hung up and was feeling the grief over come her as reality set in. Then she felt Kelley tentatively put her front paws on the end of the bed. It took  almost 10 minutes for Kelley to manage to get all the way up on the bed and she was shaking badly. She moved close to Joan who put her arms around the dog that stayed glued to her side the whole night.How did Kelley know that Joan had just lost her much loved husband of many years and needed someone to hold on to?

The thing is, they do know. She was alone in her grief until Kelley overcame her fear of getting on the bed to offer comfort.I think everyone who is a dog owner can relate a similar story. Dogs are true friends and always seem to know the right thing to do when we are in pain or ill. There is usually a warm muzzle nudging the hand or a furry body burrowing as close as it can get, bringing comfort. They just know and are quick to offer the pet equivalent hug. Sure glad they have always been in my life.

The following also came to me in the mail. You may have seen it before but it can stand repeating.

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog," or,
"that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog."

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog." Many
hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand
phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "
Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look
longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just
a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a
So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog." just smile,
because they "just don't understand."

Author unknown.

Now to lighten things up, the last of my email shares.
Just to let you know I'm thinking of you

No matter what situations life throws at you...

No matter how long and treacherous your journey may

Remember ~~ there is a light at the end of the

You're laughing aren't you? That's good ~~ my job here is done!


  1. Very touching story . . . how wonderful Kelley was there for Joan when she needed her. I am grateful Brandy found her way into my life! : )

  2. We had a cat like that. When one of my children was crying he jumped on her bed and started nuzzling against her head. She once said that Flucky was a great comforter. Cats feel exactly what we feel. And dogs as well.

  3. I know how dogs can be aware of what state you are in mentally and emotionally. They offer unconditional love and acceptance and I'm sorry I don't have one now. I have to wait until the cats are gone before I get another dog.

  4. Jewels,
    We are both lucky with our furry friends.

    Reader Wil,
    Yes, cats are also sensitive. My mother was asmatic and when she would have an attack, our cat would pat her on the shoulder.

    How about a dog that loves cats or is it the cats that don't like dogs? You are thoughtful not to upset the household.

  5. My sister has always had Great Danes. I'm sitting in her house right now as I type this and her Harlequin is at the slider waiting to come in. Danes, and dogs in general, have an innate sense of the people they live with and love. It is quite a remarkable thing.

  6. Robin
    Your sister has exquisite taste in dogs. My first Dane was a Harlequin which is my favorite. They are such gentle giants.