My friends, Kate and Roger, moved to Mexico, taking their wonderful standard poodle, Tux, with them. As they organized their belongings, they decided what would go and what would stay, what they’d keep and what they’d give away. They presented me with a beautiful gift – four hand blown glass dogs that I know Kate dearly loved and she knew I admired. These small creatures, conceived of glass, talent, and love, convey so much to me – the beauty of dogs, art, and most importantly a longtime friendship born of a common love of dogs.
My friendship with Kate and Roger goes back almost a decade. I remember so vividly the day we met. I was sitting outside at a local coffee house, enjoying sunny fall weather with my foster greyhound, Deveron. Kate and Roger, who were sitting next to me, bounded up and surrounded Deveron, showering him with pets and hugs. “What’s his name?” they asked, “What’s his story?” they inquired, “Can we adopt him?” they mused. And so started a friendship that has grown over the years, a friendship rooted in a deep fascination and respect for dogs and nurtured by a deep caring for one another.
Kate and Roger did not end up adopting Deveron (I did!), but they did adopt me as their friend, and I them. Over the years, as our lives progressed, we have shared much, reflecting on changing relationships, considering jobs and retirement, discussing the balance between reality and dreams, and, most importantly, sharing our endless love of dogs. When Tux came into their lives I felt as if I had a nephew of sorts. My family grew and my life was enriched. When Kate and I lost beloved dogs we knew that the other understood our grief in the ways only a true dog friend can. When Kate and Roger embarked on a new life in Mexico, and asked me to care for their canine glass pack, I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude for my beloved dog friends.
Dog people see the world in ways that only other dog lovers truly understand. To the uninformed, our priorities may seem odd, our clothes hairy, and our conversations absurd. Yet, our friendships are rooted in a feeling of truth – that beyond the fur and flesh there is a common core to all beings – a need to love and be loved, nurture and be nurtured, and connect with other living beings who understand us on our own true terms.