Marc Yacht: Dogs, they’re family

Over the years I have had many dogs.  They are pure spirits. An occasional pet or scratch on the belly, and regular meals, will make a loyal friend for life.

It is not unreasonable to read about a mutt warning the family of a house fire or saving a drowning tot.  Dogs have the most incredible ability to gain our affection.  Do they really love us?  Hard to say, but we love them.

Each dog has a unique personality.  My black lab likes to lie in the grass after finding a breezy and shady spot.  A snack or lunch will bring him to life and his 75-pound frame will leap with joy as his barks fill the air anticipating food.

He groans with pleasure when you scratch his rump. He is a trusting soul and will sidle up for a few more pets and scratches then be on his way to another grassy spot.

The yellow lab jumps.  He can leap half way up a tree.  He clears a 5-foot fence that will take him into the street and danger.  I have lost dogs on that street.

I talked to my vet about his springboard jumps and he suggested an invisible fence.  Costly but effective, he has remained inside of the perimeter of the property since the installation.  I recommend it.  Losing a pet is devastating.

My third, the Brittany, Sophia, is a handful.  She has a mind of her own and refuses any training.  Her orange and white coat is soft to the touch.  She causes much grief when refusing to answer calls at bedtime.  She loves to run and flies around the acreage.

As I have a large property, she eludes capture and barks throughout the night.  Sophia is a hunter and has killed rattlesnakes, squirrels and other critters that roam the property.  She is a digger and along with the yellow lab creates craters that must be filled and no amount of scolding corrects them.

All three love to swim.   An open pool gate will allow them a dip.  They will swim the pool frolicking about, quarrelling and splashing.  Helen will chase them with a scolding.  They shake water on anyone who disturbs their swim.  Of course, I also get scolded and blamed for the doggie jaunt in the pool.

Vacations are tough with three dogs.  Fortunately our neighbor is willing to take care of them.  However, away from home we soon worry about the house and further fret about the dogs.  We find it difficult to enjoy trips and each time we make one, consider it to be the last.

Mr. Wiggles, our fourth dog, suddenly died.  My daughter found him in rescue and struck by the funny shake in his walk, named Mr. Wiggles.  We were never sure of his age but we sensed that his previous owner had abused him.

Mr. Wiggles was a sweet, fragile dog.  My daughter took him away from harsh Pennsylvania winters to live with us.  He had a bit of a dark side and would growl to express displeasure with an unwanted request. We cried at his passing.

A rose planted on his grave gives us the most beautiful red blooms.  When calling the dogs at night sometimes, by habit, I’ll call his name. Tears then fill my eyes.  Perhaps one night he’ll come.  Dogs, they’re family. They know how to make us love them and we do.

Dr. Marc Yacht, is a semi-retired physcian living in Hudson, Florida. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Marc Yacht


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