Woman’s Best Friend

We stared deeply into each other’s big brown eyes and I decided – yes, it was true love.  He expressed his mutual feelings with a passionate lick across my cheek. No, this is not the first line from the latest Nora Roberts romance novel. It is the true story about a dog.
Today I was mulling over a recent interaction with my teenage children. We had a discussion about gratitude. Well, actually, it was more like a mommy monologue. This was the kind of conversation where I elevate my voice and not so patiently explain the need to be more thankful and less, you know, teenage-like.
Not only were my kids unmoved by my outburst, they were even less impressed by my assertion that recent studies conducted at both UC Davis and the University of Michigan concluded that practicing gratitude can make someone happier. At least some expression of thankfulness by my offspring would make me happier.
That got me thinking about a special friend who displays gratitude daily without fail: Rugby, the family dog.
I love my dog. He is always happy to see me, whether I have been gone for two days or 20 minutes. He eats what I prepare him for dinner – without complaining – and is always a member of the “clean plate club.”  Every day he seems to thoroughly enjoy his food even though it has been the same meal 7 days a week for 8 years.
Rugby’s always willing to accompany me on a hike or walk, which often occur at his “suggestion.” He never rolls his eyes at me after we have spoken;  in fact,  he just stares at me a lot. And, best of all, he only barks at strange noises and people, not me.
This contrasts sharply to teenage children on any given day. Not only do they “bark” when in a foul mood, sometimes they even growl. They are always hungry,  yet often put out by the time, quantity or type of food at mealtime. And, unlike my golden retriever who prefers to be with me, they prefer time with their friends.
Yes, I’ve decided that on occasion it is perfectly justifiable to love my canine pal with the expressive eyes and twitching nose more than my children. True, he doesn’t clean his room when asked, but then again,  neither do the humans in the house. He has never slammed a door in his life; he only tries to nudge them open if there is something good on the other side.
Thank you, Rugby, for unconditional love, your warm furry face and never talking back or giving me “lip.” You are truly a woman’s best friend.
Carol Lewis Gullstad
May 15, 2011


  1. […] while back, Carol wrote about her dog, and that post resonated with moms who agree that dogs can be easier to manage and more pleasant […]

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