Is there anything better than watching a dog run down a trail? They move with such enthusiasm and wild abandon, barely able to contain their excitement as they sniff each turn in the trail. Unlike humans, dogs don’t attempt to control the outward manifestation of their feelings to avoid looking awkward. Just watching their endearing expression of pure joy and wonder is enough to put a smile on your face. In honor of National Dog Day on August 26th, I thought I’d spend this post on our favorite four-legged friends.
Shortly after Derek and I got married, we started talking about getting a dog. We were set on rescuing a shelter dog, so we kept our eyes open. One day we went out to “just look at” a pair of dogs at a nearby pet foster facility. These two little pups were from a group of 30-something dogs that had been rescued from a puppy mill in Eastern Oregon.
Both were adorable, but one loved us immediately. She ran up to us, let us cuddle and pet her, and looked like she would just be the happiest girl in the world if we took her home. After falling in love, the staff person then informed us that shelter-named “Heather” had been claimed already. If we were still interested, her sister was actually the available dog.
We turned our attention to the other dog, “Meisha”. This little scoundrel had sprinted out of the gate as soon as it opened and was frantically sniffing everything in sight, swiftly and playfully running away as soon as any of us got close. When we caught her, she just wiggled around uncomfortably like we were restraining her from all the wonders of the world.
Despite this first impression, we ended up going home with that sweet girl that day. She settled down immediately once we were in the car, then promptly puked on my lap. We stopped at the store on the way home to get all the puppy necessities, then proceeded to get this new pup – now named Tonka – used to life with us.
Before we had kids, Tonka was our kid. She definitely lived the high life. Having kids has changed things a bit. In short, she’s had to get used to being an actual dog. Luckily, she hasn’t spiraled into a dark emotional state or succumbed to puppy depression. I still take her on walks daily, and she hiked just about every hike in Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon with me. She loves chasing Rowan around and, unfortunately, eating his diapers when she gets the chance.
I could write an entire book about Tonka’s silly and mischievous streaks, but that’s for another day. The bottom line is that this sweet rascal has been the perfect dog for us. She’s a little crazy, but such a lovey. She’s always up for adventure, and we’ve come to terms with the fact that she will probably never greet us calmly.
My dad, having observed his two dogs hop in the car countless times, mentioned once how he always wonders what they’re thinking when the door shuts and the drive begins. Besides little cues, like whether the trunk is filled or empty, dogs have absolutely no idea what’s in store for them. They don’t know if we’re taking them to a park, to the vet, or on a weeklong camping trip. They just hop in and trust us, knowing that home is wherever their owners are.
Dogs are just along for the ride and probably could teach us a lot about life if we really took the time to think about it. Happy National Dog Day, everyone.