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This I know: an ode to dogs

By Shannon Published: May 9, 2009

People do horrible things to each other. A month into my new job, I go home with tears in my eyes sometimes for the things I see. I cry for a man almost killed from a hate crime. I cry for another shot to death on his birthday while crawling away from his shooter, a “friend.” I cry for a 74 year old woman punched with the butt end of a pistol by a robber trying to steal her purse.

All we can hope for is a handful (at most) of good people who take our best interest to heart. Life is sad. We’re born, we die, and in between we should love and do as much good as we can.

Dogs, however, love unconditionally by their very nature.

While I only trust and confide in a handful of trusted people in my life, I could literally live (and I have lived) with hundreds of dogs.

A Family Affair

Home is a fabulous place full of new discovery worthy of many photos and words. It is one of the few places where I am free to be my dog-and-dirt-loving, earthy, simple self. And no one judges me or points out my flaws or mistakes.

During the day, my backyard is a veritable silence; the average onlooker would not even suspect it of containing the chaos and craziness it does. But in the evening, when I get home, tomfoolery abounds. This is the land of tail-wags and smiling eyes, where my best friends ambush each other, tackling and teasing like quarterbacks....

...only to laugh and lick each other afterward.

Their favorite toys, besides each other, are wiffle balls and stuffed animals. A stuffed Spongebob is the cause of much commotion tonight.

First Big Brown has it, running with the silly sponge figure high in the air.

Then Ruffian gets it, quickly disemboweling the yellow stuffed sponge. Finally, when Yeti has it, it's too much for Jack the Stubborn Siberian and he moves in for the kill.

 ..

This sport and the dogs have taken over, changed my life. Some people build separate structures just for the monumental task of housing equipment needed for mushing. My own garage once housed a nice Honda. I traded that Honda in almost four years ago for my truck, rearranging my life around the dogs. My garage is now filled with things all dog-related: dog boxes, tools, hardware, rope, sled, harnesses, booties, dog crates. I rearranged my living space around them.

All for the love of dogs.

I don’t want to just spend time with my dogs; I want to watch my canine athlete companions thrive. I want to see them excel at what they were born to do: run. I don't want to just spend time with them, I want to survive with them, out in the wild open spaces where I’m free to be my dog-and-dirt-loving, earthy, simple self.

This is an ode to my dogs - and all dogs and dog lovers - and the simple joys dogs bring to life.

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