Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Different Angle On: Golden Retrievers

Dogs. They are possibly the most beautiful creatures known to mankind. They are profoundly emotional animals, capable of both intense hatred and unbound love. Dogs are commonly referred to as "man's best friend", and yet they are still treated by many as guard dogs and a lesser life form.

My dog, Bellezza Abaggliante, is the coolest dog I've ever known. My family has owned many pets, but they are all overshadowed by my Golden retriever. First there was Wormin. He died after only a few days of life. I don't remember him because I was very young. Then, a while later, we got Roger. Roger was a mutt and a half and he was sincerely ugly. He was funny, the way he used to throw the ball for himself and go chase it. He would run in circles when we'd come home. We had to put him to sleep when he was twelve because he had some sort of stomach cancer. We waited a few months and decided it was time to get a new dog, Doug. Doug was a pure bred beagle, and the runt of the litter. He wasn't an especially nice dog, but he chilled out after a time, and we loved him greatly. He also developed stomach problems (I am convinced it was the Pedigree brand dog food) and we put him to sleep.

I went for a few years without a pet, moved to Indianapolis, and got my own place. I had two cats by the time I got there, but I was still lonely, and living in a home with sub-standard construction. The windows were flimsy to the point that it would take no effort to break into my home. So, I asked God to send me a dog to protect me. I got exactly what I asked for.

I am still not completely sure about why, but Bellezza stuck her head out of a box of puppies at my place of work, and barked at me. I picked her up, and we were instantly bonded. She was funny from the very beginning. She climbed the couch like a mountain-climber, attacked the roses I planted in the garden, and bit my toes. She was cross eyed for a little while and her face was full of fur. She was so cute that the lanscapers 'gooed' when holding her. My boyfriend at the time took her for a ride in the Bobcat, and she sat in his lap, looking as though she were driving.

I took Bellezza on a long, long, long road trip. She got car sick a couple of times, but she figured out how not to be nauseous and stared at the oncoming highway. At one point, she was tired of sitting there, so she leaned back against the seat just like a person. It was so funny I thought I was going to wreck.

She is everything I need to keep me going. She is thoughtful, playful, funny, happy, and understanding. She knows when my heart aches, and gives me all the love and patience I need. You can tell when she's playing with me that she is trying to make me laugh. She had figured out what tickles my legs and feet, and does it just to get me to crack up. It is hilarious.

Lets look at dogs from a different angle.

A very unwise person once said that animals have no souls. He was wrong. My dog has a soul, I can feel it wash through me when I pet her. She has a sense of humor, she shows fear and the need to preserve her own life. She is self aware, makes conscious decisions on her own, and loves. That is called sentience.

All animals have birthrights as we humans do. They should be treated with compassion and honor. Pigs, cows, chickens, dogs, cats, snakes, spiders, ants, you name it; they all have souls. My life would be relatively empty without my Bellezza. I can't stop thanking God for her.