Smith: Dogs are more than best friends, they are family

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 31, 2014

By Dan Smith

I cannot see my house until I cross the last hill, and that is when I look for Dave.

Sometimes he is in the yard, sometimes he is not, but when he is outside, there are no words to describe the elation he expresses that once again, I have chosen to return home.

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Dave is jumping and running and about to explode in a ball of fur, fleas and fire just because I have returned.

On the Sixth Day when God created animals -and dog – He might have thought to Himself,

“This is good.”

We all love our dogs, and we all love our family, but truth be told some of us love our dogs more than certain family members. Not my family of course: clearly my wife’s side of the family.

Currently there are two dogs at our house, Dave and Charlie.

Dave is a mix of yellow lab and golden retriever and has a higher IQ than most telemarketers and fast-food drive-through attendants. Dave enjoys playing games like most dogs, but excels at playing every night, for hours on end, “Please Let Me In So I Can Go Back Outside!”

Dave is just cool, hence the nickname “Super Dave.”

Charlie is a Pomeranian, which is French for “Dog on crack.” I am not saying how much we paid for Charlie, but for about $15 more, we could have gotten a good dog. I take that back, in case Charlie overhears anyone reading this. Charlie is my buddy also, and coincidentally enjoys many of the same snack foods I do including but not limited to popcorn, Little Debbie doughnut sticks and generally anything that is offered to him or hits the floor.

I am especially proud of both of our dogs as they have many responsibilities. To this day, our house has remained protected, and I believe I am correct in saying that we have never seen a Grizzly or Polar bear in our yard.

Actually, Dave and Charlie really belong to our children.

Charlie was my daughter’s dog when she lived at home, but now she is married and has too many dogs at her home in Montgomery, so Charlie claims residence in Troy.

Dave, a gift to my son from his most-thoughtful girlfriend, is also a temporary resident. But if Dave could speak he would tell you he enjoys his stay until the day and time comes that he will move, with my son, to the next chapter in his life.

Regardless of the ability to cook or clean, any girlfriend that gives you a fine dog is worthy of marrying.

For as long as I can remember, there have always been good dogs in our family. As a child there was “Rambler,” a three-legged Collie that made up for agility and ground speed with much love.

When we moved to our home several years ago, pre-Dave and Charlie, there was Blackie.

Blackie was a Boarder Collie that could run like a Jamaican sprinter, had the personality of Robin Williams, and was a friend to all.

Dogs come into our lives and sadly are gone in about 12 years, more or less, and, one day, Blackie was gone. It never gets any easier.

Be wary of anyone that wants to give you a dog. While I believe all dogs are inherently good, there are some that are not wired correctly. Someone once gave us a Rat Terrier, and that name alone should have been a red flag.

Slightly smaller than a shoe with legs, the dog growled and bared his teeth at everyone, especially us. He growled and nipped at the kids, which did not endear us to him. One day he disappeared, and three days later we got a phone call that he had been turned into a local vet, as the dog was located about five miles away. We picked up the dog, brought him home, and the next day he left again.

Thankfully no one located him and called us again.

Dogs are indeed part of family. They love unconditionally.

No matter how awful of a day I have had at work, no matter how bad my own attitude may be, no matter how many mistakes I make, they do not judge me.

They wag their tails and smile, and are overwhelmed that I decided to return home.