What a treat is was to watch a television commercial recently which focused on providing a dog with a special day! Congratulations to the Subaru organization for recognizing people’s best friends and wanting to do something special for them.

Devoted dog owners do not consider their furry friends to be a burden. They do not feel “tied down” or “bothered” by caring for a creature that, when given the chance, will provide unconditional love. How empty life must be for those folks without the companionship of a dog. It does not take much effort to care properly for a canine and there are so many waiting for a forever family. Willingness to spend time walking, playing with, and just plain loving a dog can provide benefits for good health and emotional well-being for both the animal and the owner. Dogs have a special way of brightening our days and possibly reaffirming their devotion for the life they found in our care.

The difficult part of having a dog is its relatively short life span. On average they live ten to twenty years and in that time they can develop a deep bond with the owner. Building rapport is an ongoing event that strengthens with time. The hard part is watching them age, living out their days until illness or simply time takes its toll. It is heart-wrenching to stand by, trying to help, but never completely knowing how much they might be suffering or when their end could arrive or when to make the decision for euthanasia.

Allowing for breed differences, energy levels, size, and temperament, most dogs are easy to please. They thrive on attention and TLC goes a long way to make them happy. They love to play. They love to go for rides. They love to accompany their master on a walk or curl up with their human companion at home. Most of all they love to please.

On this special day – and every day! - remember to do something special with your dog. Take a walk. Give a belly rub. Offer a special treat. Let your dog know how much you enjoy its company. Do whatever you know will make your dog happy. AND, if you do not have a dog, why not consider adopting one – or more? There are plenty of older dogs and special needs ones that need a permanent home. Shelters and rescue organizations will be happy to help you find the perfect companion. Recognize that puppies may have an easier time of being adopted but older ones need a home also. Carpe diem - you’ll be glad you did!

Pat Jauch is secretary of Caledonia Animal Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 4054, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819.

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