For the past two weeks, for every lunch break from work, I head home and greet the dogs. We grab some snacks like a soda and some chips. Then we pile onto the couch together to munch on chips and watch The Mandalorian. My dogs wag their tails very excitedly when I toss them some chips and grab the remote to start Disney+.
It has been awesome.
Today, we finished the finale of Season 2. Wow. It actually brought tears to my eyes when someone special shows up to rescue Grogu. I won’t give the ending away for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet.
But yes, it was very awesome.
I think the dogs enjoyed it too. In fact, I was reading about The Mandalorian Season 3 online and found several recent articles related to scientific research findings about dogs watching The Mandalorian. According to all these articles, scientists put heart monitors on dogs and had them watch a series of 8 or 9 shows. They studied the dog anxiety levels and found that the research dogs were most at calm and happy when watching The Mandalorian with Stranger Things as a close runner up. According to the research, dogs appear to like dramatic shows with big special effects.
For more info on the fascinating canine love for Star Wars, here’s a link to one of these interesting articles with the scientific charts and data:
In his book, Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey talks about love. He compares it to archery. He says, “The arrow doesn’t seek the target. The target draws the arrow.” He was probably talking about romantic love.
Many of us spend much of our lives chasing romantic love like Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner. It evades us when we force it. But if we go with the flow enjoying life and the present moment, if we stop to “smell the roses” so to speak….that love will come sit down right beside us and we don’t even have to try…much like the Roadrunner going “beep beep” to get Wiley’s attention.
Bottomline, as I get older I don’t chase love as much. For one, my knees are bad. Chasing is exhausting and makes you want to drop an anvil on someone’s head with frustration when you fail. For another reason, there’s no point in it. Policing a man or woman gets you nowhere. Love will come to us when love is ready.
But tonight, I talk of a different kind of love…the love from pets. There have been only a few times in my life that I have been drawn to something or someone like a strong magnet. One of those times is the day I first encountered my second dog.
When I saw him, I knew in my heart I wanted that dog. I didn’t go to Petsmart to get a dog. That was the last thing on my mind. I was there to get fish food. I had brought my son and one of his friend’s along to the downtown shopping district. We were just enjoying the day.
Do you believe in random occurrences or are our steps ordered in some way as if predestined? Why do I say such gibberish? I will tell you why in a moment.
This is my second dog. I took him home from the pet store that day as a spur of the moment decision. I said I’d take him the moment the volunteer said his name.
Such an odd name for a reddish brown border collie like this:
Why would that name make me instantly buy him?
This picture right here:
In 1982, my grandma bought me an Avon toy called Slushy the dog. I carried Slushy everywhere. I slept beside Slushy. I ate beside Slushy. Slushy never left my side….for years. He was my favorite toy comparable to a favorite blanket. I loved Slushy with all my little girl heart.
How is it possible that years later I would encounter the real life look-alike to my favorite childhood toy friend? Coincidence? Random fate? Or something more…
Today, I type this by the fireplace as Slushy sits beside me napping. The fire is warm and toasty. He is resting. His eyes are closed but I know if I shift just a little, he will open them to peer at me curiously….my toy brought to life in later years, just when I would need him most. I would need his friendship once again.
I sleep beside Slushy curled up near me sometimes. I eat beside Slushy. Once again, we are inseparable. And we will probably be inseparable to the end of the road for one of us, whomever that might be.
On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate romance. But what of the other types of love, including the love for our pets?
I have two dogs. One is a mix of different breeds, probably Italian Greyhound and Jack Russell. That’s what my vet said. To me, he’s just a little white dog I got at the pound.
I tore my ACL in my knee and was limping around. In a few weeks, I planned to have surgery to repair it. It was a Saturday afternoon when the kids and I drove out to the Humane Society.
I did not pick the little white dog at first. In fact, no one seemed interested in him.
He sat in a steel cage alone in the small dog room. He looked miserable. He didn’t seem excited by my arrival like some other more bouncy dogs. He didn’t bark nor make a noise. He lay with his back facing me. I bypassed him and went to a cuddly little black furball dog and a few other cute and energetic ones.
We played with the others and were set on the black furball pup. Then one of the volunteers brought the little white dog out of his cage to clean the cage.
That’s when I realized exactly why everyone bypassed him…..he limped around on three legs. There was something wrong with him. I looked down at my own busted knee.
“What happened to his leg?” I asked the volunteer curiously.
“He needs a minor surgery on the ligament. Sometimes some breeds of dogs like Chihuahuas and such can be born with a leg problem.” She said sympathetically.
His leg was messed up. So was mine. We seemed fated to be together I suppose. We took the quiet, little white dog home that day. We named him Gizmo.
He had surgery for about $170 at the vet clinic. My knee surgery cost much more in the thousands. I shoulda had the vet fix my knee.
We walked together a lot in the weeks that followed. I hobbled along behind him grimacing in pain every now and then while he still hopped around on three legs. My knee got stronger every day with his help. Eventually he figured out too that he could step down on that fourth leg and it would work. I remember watching him that moment. He gingerly placed the leg down as if afraid of the pain but soon found there to be none. Now he bounces around the house. He runs and plays and wrestles with our other dog.
Nothing makes me smile bigger after a long day of work than to be greeted by the dogs at the door. I do believe all dogs go to heaven. They seem to bring out our better nature. Over the years, these dogs have greeted many visitors to our home with equal measure of love. Young and old. Pretty or not so much. Thin and thick. It doesn’t matter to them. And I think that’s what I like about dogs best. How unconditional their love and support can be. They treat every person like a good friend.
Yes, cats are softer and fluffier and easier to take care of. But a dog will lay beside you when you’re feeling blue. So this Valentine’s Day, remember not just the romantic love but also the love of companionship, an unconditional love mastered by dogs.