It’s a dog’s world and they let us live in it

Published 11:46 pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

I was amused recently when observing people showing photos, not of their children or grandchildren, but of their pets. Once a conversation develops, the next thing you know pets are the point of interest and out come the smart phones with the photos.

Since I am a pet owner, I can understand the enthusiasm about their fur babies. Our two started out as our “granddogs,” who know us as Mamaw and Papaw and now live at our house. I think they are about as cute and as smart as any but I have not yet succumbed to carrying around pet photos.

Pets at this point in time absolutely live the life of Riley. If you do everything that should be done for a pet they can be very expensive. There’s not only food, but taking them to the vet for necessary shots, medications when they are sick, getting them bathed and groomed and all the accessories. It is a big industry. In today’s world, dogs get monthly medications for tick and heartworm control and they are not inexpensive. It is probably the same for cats. You could almost raise a child for what it costs to keep a pet in luxury!

When we were growing up, there were two types of dogs at our house. One was the little feist-type dog my brother usually had as his personal pet, and which also served as his squirrel-hunting buddy. The others were my dad’s deer-hunting dogs. They were not pets, and lived in a fenced in pen. We didn’t play with them.

We remember one dog that would run to pose in front of any photo being taken. It was the darndest thing how he knew what we were doing and came to pose. When we look at pictures made during that time period, there he is posed on the front row! He is truly unforgettable. 

 Daddy named this dog after a relative who used to grab her children and run to put them on any picture being taken. They are on a lot of these old photos, too.

There were several pets over the years, and those dogs did not come into the house unless my brother brought one in when nobody was looking. They were yard dogs. They weren’t bathed unless they went to the creek swimming, and fleas, ticks and mange were controlled by a special smelly dip Daddy stirred up. They mostly ate table scraps, not expensive dog food.

My sister and I were partial to cats, but they were hard to keep. Cats won’t stay long when they spend all their time being chased up trees by dogs.

We had a scare this week when our 15 year-old Sassy was sick. By her symptoms, it seemed we might lose her to old age, but a visit to the vet revealed a heart problem was causing her symptoms. Medication was necessary to make her better, but she is getting pretty old in dog years.

They do everything they can to get us to do what they want. Lola brings her little ball and lays it at my feet while I’m having my morning coffee. She patiently waits for me to throw it down the long hallway for her to retrieve. Sassy stares me down until I figure out what she wants — usually to go outside, to eat or to go to bed. If I don’t “get it” she barks at me.

Dogs are very social, and need to be near people. It is amazing what they understand. They are such amazing creatures that I cannot understand how anyone can mistreat them or leave them by the side of the road at the mercy of the world.

We had not planned to have pets at this stage of our lives, as they need a lot of time and attention. Sassy and Lola do not know that they belong to us — they think we belong to them. If I didn’t stay on top of things, they would be running the place.