With the exception of a few people that I know, almost everyone loves puppies. And with today being National Puppy Day, I thought it would be a good time to pay homage to my dog Lucy, and the other dogs in my life. Though, I don’t think Lucy can read this.
I’ve had dogs ever since I can remember. The first family dog that comes to mind is Spike, a mutt who loved digging holes. The crawlspace under the front porch looked like an World War I bunker.
Then there was Hennessy, an Irish Setter who arrived on my fifth birthday. My parents came to pick my brothers and I up after we watched a double feature of “Rollercoaster” and some other movie I don’t recall at the old Fox Theater in Redwood City. I remember lying in the back of the Volkswagen bus as we rode home and rubbing Hennessy’s soft silky fur and warm puppy belly.
After that came Hennessy’s buddy Kerry, another Irish Setter that we got from someone who didn’t want her anymore after the she gave birth to a litter of 12. When those dogs passed, we got the goofy black labs, Aristotle and Socrates. They would be the last dogs I lived with until I got the first dog of my own, Guinevere the pit bull. The best gift I ever received (thanks to my brother Marc!).
Sadly dogs don’t live long, and after 13 years, my little white pit bull got quite sick and we had to euthanize her. I gave myself a little time to mourn, and then adopted Lucy, a Shepard mix who now runs my life.
Obviously I love dogs. I can’t imagine life without one. When my dog isn’t around, it feels like something is missing. So when I am without her, I’m the person in the room who baby talks to or plays fetch with whatever dog is around. For example, before Capoeira class, I can often be found playing tug of war with Caju, my Mestranda’s red pit bull.
And it makes sense. As an anxious person, dogs keep me calm, in addition to giving me lots of joy and love. For instance, if I am having trouble sleeping in the middle of the night, I often cuddle or pet Lucy. When I feel her warmth and pet her soft fur, my muscles relax and my breathing slows. After that, I can usually fall asleep.
And science backs this up. It’s been shown that pets can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s guaranteed exercise everyday, not to mention a reason for me to get up and out of the house even on days when I really don’t want to deal with the world.
So, cheers to my puppy and all the puppies (or dogs) that give us love.