We celebrated Valentine’s month (oh, you thought it was just a day?) by inviting you to count the ways you love your dogs—and then to share the results with us in 100 words or less. Thanks to everyone who submitted love stories. Not only did you manage to stay darn close to the word count, you reminded us of so many things we love about our dogs, and sometimes forget to appreciate, and gave us a few more to consider. (Read all the Love Stories.)
Our five favorites (below) provide lovely illustrations of the peculiar and compelling human-dog bond—and what loving a canine does to and for us.
They inspire us to help others.
“My Boston Terrier was given to me as a birthday gift and he was the best gift that I have ever received. My husband gave him to me in order to train me and prepare me for kids. This tactic was a huge success. I have learned so much from my Boston, such as patience (from trying to outsmart my Boston to go outside during the middle of a New England winter) to unconditional love, to the beauty of silence. After a long day, he can be found cuddled with me. Next to my Boston there is no one I would rather spend time with. We enjoy long walks together and games of fetch and I could find no better way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Because of all the love that we have for our “breeder” Boston, we have chosen to adopt a rescue Boston who is deaf to share our love. She has been a fabulous addition to our family. It has only been a week so it’s love at first site, but I know that in a few months we will share our same deep love for her as we do with our first.
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—Written by Amanda MacIsaac of Fitchburg, Mass., about her Mr. Reagan and Lady Thatcher.
They make us question how we ever lived without them.
I’m asked to put your existence and our pure love into 100 words or less. How can I share how my heart fills when you give me the stink eye, when you play bow when I’m trying to do pushups? How is it possible that a mere 21 pounds makes our family so utterly complete, and the house feels so empty even when you go the groomers for just a few hours? Since you came into my life I haven’t had a good crying session, not because I haven’t been sad, but because you attack me with kisses the second I shed a single tear. It’s impossible to feel sad as the sincerity of your love and concern wash over me with your puppy kisses. Atticus, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I simply don’t remember what life was like when you joined our household just 3 ½ years ago. I know we existed, but I really can’t remember if that even felt like living at all.
—By Gina Lopez-Gerlach, Pomona, Calif., about her miniature Schnauzer Atticus.
They make us laugh…a lot.
There’s just something about this dog. There’s just no logical explanation for this. I’m a grown woman with many fulfilling human relationships, but when I think about this dog, well, I behave like a love-struck teenager. Maybe it’s the way he cracks me up daily. I’ve always been a sucker for a wicked sense of humor and this dog has it in spades. Maybe it’s his beautiful blue eyes that twinkle when he’s up to mischief. Maybe it’s that he embodies the idea that looks can be deceiving. He is SO beautiful and appears SO sophisticated, but in reality he’s such a big doofus that the juxtaposition makes me smile just thinking about it. I can’t really explain. There’s just something about this dog.
—By Kathy Konetzka-Close of Atlas, Mich., about Wyatt—a "Collie-extraordinaire” and ladies’ man.
They seduce us.
Sunny was a chronic fusser from birth, possibly the only pup ever to complain with a nipple in her mouth. Cuddle her litter mates? "Paw in the ear!" Sleep alone? "Cold!" Person picking her up? "No! Put me down!"
When she was two weeks old, I (the kennel help) decided it wasn't good for her littermates to get all the socializing. I scooped her up, ignored the objections, and lay down on the couch. On my stomach, she fussed, marched like a cat, made a contented gurgle, and fell asleep. Quietly.
After that, I was her person.
—By Erika Tracy of Decatur, Ga., about her German Shepherd Sunny. When we contacted Erika we learned that Sunny died of cancer a week ago. She provided a photo from their search and rescue days.
They heal us.
“Daisy healed me. After a severe bout of depression and suicide attempt, my therapist and I discussed me getting a dog. What I got was much more: a doctor, daughter, pillow, tissue, blanket, best friend, and as close to a cure as I could come. Daisy saved my life.
—By Karen Six of Allentown, Penn., about her one-year-old Schnoodle, Daisy.