From the Editor’s Desk: ‘God’ Upside Down | Columnists

Is it possible that the answer to our society’s problems has always been with us?

I’m talking about man’s best friend, the dog. “God” spelled backwards.

I noticed that one of the few things people will agree on today is that dogs are wonderful. Yeah, I realize cats are cool too, we’ve had both in our household for over 40 years. Yes, people will also discuss the issue of cats versus dogs, I grant you, dear reader.

Dogs (and cats, to a lesser extent) give us unconditional love, a prized commodity that seems to be in short supply these days. Dogs are always happy to see you, happy to spend time with you, and relieved that you’re not dead when you get home.

But, as the owner of a pet, you are responsible for its health, happiness and well-being. Since pets like dogs live a fraction of our lifespan, you are inevitably faced with end-of-life decisions and losses.

We went through this last week at home when it became apparent that our 11 year old terrier mix, George, was in severe pain from something that could not be determined. I’ll spare you the details, but it was obvious to my wife and I that the time you dreaded as a pet owner had arrived.

Ending a pet’s life is a tough decision. Since they can’t tell you in a language you can easily understand what’s wrong, you rely on your vet to give you information to make an informed decision. We are lucky to have a great vet.

Once the decision was made and the date was over, a tsunami of emotions and memories washed over my wife and me. I relived moments of George’s life. I laughed, I cried and above all I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to be his companion – his human.

George and his sister Gracie were abandoned as puppies. We adopted them very young. The shelter insisted that they go as a couple. We had recently become a dog-free home after Zoe, a shitzu, literally died of a broken heart when another of our dogs, Punkin, passed away. I was pretty moody about the situation and ready and anxious to become someone’s human.

George and Gracie fit the bill. If you can swing it emotionally and financially, I highly recommend adopting litter mates. There’s comfort and companionship for animals and twice as much joy (and yes, possibly heartache) for you.

Remembering George as a puppy makes me smile. He was able to figure out how to jump out of the pen we left him and Gracie in during the day. He was able to stand and walk on his hind legs, trained well in obedience and even learned to touch my arm when he wanted something.

He learned that from watching Willie, my daughter’s diabetic alert dog. Willie touches my daughter when he feels changes in her blood sugar. If he is right, he gets a treat. George found he could train me to do the same thing. He was quite the guy.

Right now, I swear to have more dogs. I will love Gracie very much, as I always have. When she leaves, I will face a crisis of faith, and I am okay with this struggle, because I have received oh so much more than I have given from my dogs.

As always, I await your comments. You can reach me by email at [email protected]theameryfreepress.com, phone 715-268-8101 or write to me at PO Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading. I will stay in touch. Do not hesitate to do the same.