No one ever buys a dog

dogs on beach

…nor do you get one as a gift. Dogs aren’t slaves or property.

You earn dogs, the way you earn children: by cleaning up their poo; by never giving up on them; by firm corrections; by loving forgiveness when you know damn well they knew better; by playing with them anyway when you’re just too busy; by comforting them through illness; by checking out the monsters they hear in the dark; by teaching them not to play in the street.

You earn dogs, the way you earn spouses: by trying to parse their language well enough to listen to what is surely interspecies gibberish; by knowing the difference between impatient whining and whimpers of pain; by respecting an honest wag of the tail.

You earn dogs, the way you earn a lover: by taking the pain when finally, inevitably, they spangle the darkness of the sky with the shards of your broken heart.

At least with dogs, you know they never meant to.

Dogs in Old Growth Forest


  1. Lyle D. Gunderson says

    Dang, you sure know how to yank on those heartstrings. Beautiful.

    This should be printed, framed, and hung on the wall of every pet shop, animal shelter, and veterinary clinic on the planet.

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