Recently while on a sailing vacation and docked on Toronto Island, I witnessed an amazing dog. Now keep in mind that I work with dogs daily. I live with dogs who do amazing things daily.
I comb the internet looking for amazing things to post to our social media channels, so I often watch in awe and wonder as another dog does something wonderful. You'd think I'd have had my fill, but this still blew my mind and made me take stock in my gratitude for dogs.
There was a rather eclectic old boat docked behind us. It clearly stood out amongst the giant yachts and sailboats as something different. Covered in skulls and painted black, this house boat caught the eye. On it, I couldn't help but notice a cockapoo type of small mixed breed. He sat on the bench at the back of the boat with his head resting on the railing for several hours. On a few different occasions, a woman with another small dog tried to coax the dog off of the boat. Calling him by name, he would raise his eyes to look at the spunky little dog with her, but he didn't once budge from his solitary vigil. She even encouraged him with food and he still showed little interest.
As I regarded this dog, my thoughts were that he was old. Too old to want to venture off the shaded boat deck and onto the beach. Too old to be interested in an island walk or a romp with the neighbouring dogs. He rested in his cozy spot for several hours looking out over the water, head in place, eyes simply watching.
What struck me as amazing was the transformation that occurred when a small power boat pulled up to the spot in front of the boat. The elation the dog felt was wonderfully evident as he recognized his person - the being he was clearly put on this earth to love and admire. The man was obviously happy to see his dog again, but the dog was over the moon to see his man. It was as if the earth had stood still in his absence. It became evident in that moment that the dog was young. I couldn't identify his age exactly, but it was clear that he was not the geriatric I had assumed. He was young, limber and spry. As he bounced at his owners side in extreme joy, his youth and exuberance showed.
For the remainder of the day, I watched him bounce around, greeting people and dogs with the excitement you'd expect from a young, happy dog. Playing with his dog buddies, begging for scraps from the neighbours, greeting people walking by. Once his person was back, all was right with his world again.
This was not a surprise to me. I know how much dogs love us. I know that they get so attached that they want to be with us for everything! It didn't shock me to see the display of loyalty, but it did take my breath away. In that moment, I felt my heart swell for my own dogs, both here and gone.
Dogs have such benefit in our lives. If you need to boost your ego, get a dog - watch as you become the centre of their world. Feel them give you their full heart and soul and ask for little in return. Truly, where else could you feel such loyalty? Those of us who love dogs know all too well how lucky we are to do so. And the most amazing thing about this situation is that it really wasn't that remarkable and not at all unusual. These are the blessings we get when we are loved by dogs.