Fast forward to my adult years and the same was true. It just didn’t feel right unless there was a cat slinking around the house, making things calm and beautiful. Then I got ill and everything in my life changed.
My wife nursed me through that long period of illness, and as I slowly improved over a number of years, I felt the need for exercise, but also for something more which I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I’m not sure when we started talking about having a dog, but it seems to have been one of those spontaneous things. Neither one of us knows who started the conversation or why, because neither my wife nor I had ever had a dog. We knew nothing about caring for a dog, but strangest of all, neither of us had any real interest in having a dog. It just seems to have appeared in our heads as a good idea, not just for me and my recovery, but for the whole family.
So we got Dougie, a German shorthaired pointer. We did our research beforehand and discovered that pointers are well known for their obedience and affectionate natures. They’re also absolutely beautiful dogs! So we found a breeder nearby, and one happy day, came home with the most gorgeous little brown pointer pup you ever saw!
I just can’t overstate the impact Dougie had on me, and on the whole family. He lit me up from within. He absolutely transformed my sad, sullen moods, bringing me back to the enthusiastic, energy-filled person I was before. He also provided a focus of love and fun for the whole family. Even to the extent of the children preferring Dougie’s company to their iPads and phones. If that’s not miraculous, I don’t know what is!
Looking back at that time, I now know what it was about dear Dougie that had such a huge effect on me. It’s all about the deep emotional intelligence of a dog. Just like cats, they sense a person’s mood and seem to know when you could do with de-stressing. And nothing de-stresses you quite like stroking a cat or dog.
But dogs go way beyond empathy. Dogs really do seem to have some kind of special awareness. They know what’s going on around them, they sense the ebb and flow of thoughts and feelings in the people they’re bonded to. They understand and respond as if they understand. They’re much more than pets, as my wife said. They’re beings. They’re little beings.
Dougie adds a certain quality to our family life in a way that we could not have imagined, he senses and responds to the needs of each individual family member just in the right way and just at the right time – he lights us all up from within.
Bringing it all up to date now, and at just over two years old, Dougie is as much a part of the family as anyone else.
And what’s so funny is that he knows it. He obviously feels entitled to his place on the sofa, or to have more attention if he wants it, or to have a cuddle when he wants it – even though dogs aren’t supposed to like cuddles.
He brought me back from the brink. Dougie can have a cuddle anytime he likes!