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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Need a social life? Get a dog!

About 15 years ago some very deep and lasting friendships began forming in Yakima, among people who'd never known each other...before they went to doggy classes together.

The friendship circles widened like ripples on a pond, and newer circles formed off to the sides. People who had never before spoken to each other, and who had no previous connections, now had this common denominator: their dogs.

Now, many years later, some of these "originals" are no longer with us, and many of the dogs who brought us together are also gone. But a second, third and fourth generation of dogs has stepped into their pawprints, and the circles continue in perpetuity.

About a week ago it dawned on me that the same thing is starting to happen in my new hometown of Thompson Falls, Montana. A whole bunch of people who'd never known each other before now gather on Tuesday and/or Wednesday nights for some dog-training fun. I can't help but wonder where some of them will be, dogwise, in another 10 years. Maybe they'll be spending their childrens' inheritence on motorhomes so they can go to obedience and agility trials around the Northwest. Maybe they'll be teaching classes of their own. Maybe some of the kids in our little group will go to vet school.

One thing for certain: dog people are the best. They know they can depend on each other today and many years down the road. And it's not always about the dogs.

A dear friend of mine in Yakima is going through hard times. But one thing that's helping her get through is the support she's getting from other dog friends. She started as a student with a problem dog, many years ago, never dreaming that her life would become so wrapped up in "dog stuff." But thank God it did. The friends she made in dog training classes so long ago are still there for her, as is the one activity that brings her the most joy: working with her own dogs.

To own and love a dog is to enrich your life in ways you never even dreamed possible! It's good insurance.
Photo above: Another happy group of dog friends, the SunDogs Agility Club of Yakima. An offshoot of that original "circle," and an example of how the ripples continue to spread on the pond.

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