I love dogs. I can honestly say that I have never met a dog that I didn’t like. Sometimes I wonder if I like or at least, relate better to canines than I do with humans (one of my daily highlights from our Samana trip was running with the stray but friendly dogs on the beach). Anyone out there that shares my fondness for dogs understands what I am talking about.
Dogs have been called man’s (or woman’s for that matter) best friend, and for good reason. No animal on this earth demonstrates unwavering love and devotion like our canine friends. I think I got my love for animals in general from my Dad. My Mom on the other hand, was not such a fan. For that reason, we never had a family dog growing up, but the funny thing is, pretty much all of my four brothers and sisters ended up getting a dog shortly after moving out on our own. Maybe that want or need to share our lives with a canine counterpart is something in our blood.
There are numerous reasons why I love my dog, Kobe Lebron Dugas. Here’s the top 10 reasons why I consider him such an important part of my life and my family’s life:
10. I try to exercise five times a week. But on those days that work is a bit overwhelming or I am not feeling all that energized, not taking Kobe out for his two walks a day is just not an option. Having a high-energy, 3 year old dog means long walks, whether I like it or not. Rain, snow or shine – Kobe forces us to get out there. Having a dog probably helps burn an additional 200-300 calories a day. Can’t beat that.
9. We love the great outdoors. Our vacations are usually built around some kind of outdoor activity like snorkeling or hiking. And when we can bring him along, nobody gets more out of these little excursions than Kobe. Seeing how much enthusiasm and pure joy that he gets out of exploring a new provincial park or trail is truly inspiring.
8. Kobe is a social butterfly. Like me, he has never met a dog that he didn’t like. I think he actually has more friends than I do. Big dog or small dog, male or female – Kobe is always friendly and playful, and although he can get a little rough sometimes, he knows when too much is too much. He’s a real gentleman.
7. Having said the above, on the very rare occasion when Kobe has been faced with what he considers a legitimate threat – like a jogger at nighttime dressed all in black with a hood on approaching us – he has demonstrated some serious ferociousness. For such a a lovable and sucky dog, it makes me feel good knowing that Kobe would not think twice about protecting our family. I don’t think we would have too much to worry about with Kobe patrolling the household.
6. We are very affectionate with our dog – bordering on abnormal behaviour. We all love to cuddle and roll around on the floor with Kobe. And he is one tolerant dude. When we are laying on him, he always makes this loud and deep groaning noise that I never get tired of hearing. Kind of a “seriously, do you really have to do this again – sigh…alright, do what you gotta do.” Love it!
5. Ever see the awesome movie “Up“? There’s one recurring gag where someone yells “squirrel”! – and then the dog or dogs go into this rigid trance-like state. Well, that’s Kobe. And we never get tired of that bit. The face he makes is hilarious. Good times.
4. Kobe loves food. I mean, he LOVES food. This is something we share in common. Whether unpacking groceries or opening up a bag of chips, he can be three floors away and he seems to appear out of no where. Gotta respect that.
3. Like most dogs, Kobe has a sixth sense for knowing what kind of mood the people around him are in. He seems to know when I’m upbeat and happy, and he knows when I am stressed or in the dumps. And he always behaves accordingly. Whether it’s excitedly bringing me a toy, nuzzling me gently or just laying quietly next to me, he is the perfect therapist.
2. This is probably one of the best things I have learned (or am trying to learn) based on Kobe’s personality. He is a very well behaved dog. But on a few occasions, he has caused one of us to blow our cool and yell at him. And the guy just never holds it against us. When wronged, it’s very easy to a have a grudge, but being able to quickly move on after someone has pissed you off is not always easy. An old friend shared a saying with me several years back and I have never forgot it. “If something isn’t going to bother you a year from now, why let it bother you today”? Sounds like good advice to me.
1. And the number one reason I love my dog is the fact that he introduced us to the very rewarding experience of rescuing an animal in need. Sandra and I had two dogs prior to Kobe, a British Bull Dog named Chloe and a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog named Jackson. Both were beautiful animals and both were pure breed canines purchased for big bucks from breeders. I had always wanted to give a good dog that was down on his luck a new lease on life. Friends had recommended the organization A.R.F. – The Animal Rescue Foundation. What I loved about A.R.F. was the care and attention they put into not only finding a dog that was right for our family, but a family that was right for the dog. Having a young daughter at the time, it took a considerable period to find the right dog that demonstrated a genuine rapport with young children. Kobe had a difficult start to his life. While we don’t believe he was physically abused (or at least we won’t bring ourselves to think that this may have been the case), he did experience extreme neglect. Case in point, it took us the better part of two days to get him to actually enter our home without shaking and panting to the point of exhaustion. He was coming from a foster home that also had a young child in the house. Right away we realized that Kobe was one of the most docile, gentle and un-aggressive dogs we had ever met and was perfect for our little family. Two and half years later, Kobe is still a little neurotic (thunderstorms are a loooooong night for all of us), but he has become an important part of our family. And we all feel great that we were able to give such a wonderful dog a loving and secure home after such a tough start to his life. We can highly recommend A.R.F. for anyone looking to adopt a dog. Please support this excellent organization. They do great work. For now, back to the cage.