A dog: the greatest trade you can make
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 12, 2014
For anyone who has never had a dog — you wouldn’t understand this. I have grown up with dogs my entire life. My parents even say I learned how to walk by holding on to one of our dogs. Thanksgiving break will be different for me. This will be the first time in my 20 years that there won’t be a dog at home. My childhood dog, Wilson, was put down this week. Sitting here now suffering from this pain makes me wonder why people go through it. Why get a dog when you know that they will eventually die? Why submit yourself to such pain when it is completely avoidable? I think back on the memories of Wilson. I remember driving all the way to Kansas to pick him out. I somehow convinced the rest of the family to name him Wilson, even though nobody else liked the name. Wilson’s puppy days were something special. He would entertain himself for hours with a plastic water bottle and cock his head sideways when you made a weird noise. Wilson grew as I grew. He transitioned from puppyhood to adulthood while I transitioned from 8th grade to high school. Fall days were spent playing fetch or playing in a pile of leaves. I remember sledding on the hill by my house with Wilson chasing me up and down the hill. My favorite memory is the time he nearly drowned because he tried to walk on top of the pool cover and my dad had to jump into the pool to save him. On Saturday mornings, Mom would send him into my room and he would climb up onto my bed to try and wake me. When I went off to school I missed Wilson almost as much as I missed my parents. When I came home I always looked forward to the warm greeting I got from him when I walked through the door.
Wilson was the best dog any kid could ask for and that’s why it hurts so badly now. When asking why we go through this pain, I think Peter King sums it up best when he wrote about the loss of his dog Bailey. “By my calculations, we had Bailey in our lives for 159 months. I will endure a few weeks of the occasional dark thought, and I will think: ‘Pretty good trade, 159 months of companionship and friendship and unconditional love for one or three months when sadness creeps in.’ In fact, that’s a fantastic trade. I feel the same as I did when Woody died. The easiest way to not feel this grief is to never have a dog. And what an empty life that would be.” I agree with Mr. King on this one. Having a dog is one of the greatest trades that you can make. I may forget the pain pretty soon but I will never forget the memories.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.