Opinion column: There ain’t nothing like a great dog!

Today is National Dog Day.

I’m not bragging, but I have the greatest dog.

“Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.” – W.R. Purche

Thanks to Beatrix, or the Fabulous Miss Bea, or just Bee, as my soon-to-be neighbor Lucy calls her, each and every day begins and ends with a laugh or a smile.

Typically, I’m up by 5:30 or 6 a.m. Beatrix is content to lay on her bed on the floor until I get up and get moving, until the urge to pee gets too strong.

Her urge, not mine.

But even then she just sits on the floor and stares at me. If I don’t feel those eyes burning into my soul, she’ll start to whimper a little. If I still don’t get the hint, she jumps up next to me, puts her head on my chest or should and licks my face.

That always works.

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” – Ben Williams

I grew up with dogs in Galion. First was Snoopy, a beagle that, well, wasn’t really a beagle. He never stopped growing. We had a love-hate relationship.

I loved playing with him. Snoopy lived on a lot we owned across the alley. He was a great dog, except for the barking … in the morning … as soon as the sun came up … every morning.

Now I realize he just wanted some attention, or breakfast. At that time, however, I also knew he was barking just to aggravate me.

It worked. On more than one occasion, I opened up my second floor bedroom window and threw one of my shoes across the alley at that mutt. And usually, it shut Snoopy up. Not because it scared him, or because he had learned to obey me. But that new chew toy (my shoe), was what he really wanted.

Now that I think about it, Snoopy was much better at training me that I was at training him.

Happiness is a warm puppy.” Charles Schulz

Grandpa Bowman had a black cocker spaniel named Midnight. He’s the first dog I remember. Growing up we had other dogs: Ginger, a cocker spaniel; and Max, a shih tzu. We also had cats, all adopted strays, who someone found their way to our end of Summit Street by Heise Park.

The cats were OK, but I only remember the name of Rags.

But I remember the dogs. I always remember dogs.

There was Zelda, the Fendricks’s basset hound; Duchess, who belonged to the Lucas family. There was Nala, and Cola, and Mini, my sister’s dogs; and Pepper, my brother’s mutt. Indy and Wilson belong to the Miller sisters.

And then there was Shaft, a beautiful, white (German Shepherd?). She, who belonged to the Dunmire family, was the only dog I was never able to become friends with.

“I’m a lot less cranky when it’s just me and my dog.” – Bob Peterson

One day, I moved away to college. And for more than 30 years, I did not have a dog in my life.

My friend Jill talked me into two cats 10 years ago. I wasn’t looking for a pet, but Jill was always hard to say ‘no’ to.

Jack and Jill are still a big part of my life. If you follow me on Facebook, you’re likely tired of seeing their photos.

About four years ago, Hallie, a good friend and former co-worker, convinced me that I needed a dog. One Sunday morning my phone rang. For a week, she had been trying to catch a white puppy locked inside a factory fence in Mansfield. Finally, that morning, she got a leash on her and received permission from the guard at the factory to go in and get her.

A few minutes later, I met Hallie at the humane society in Richland County.

A couple hours later, Beatrix was mine. She’s been here ever since.

It’s hard to believe this outgoing pit bull is the same frightened, timid, shaking, puppy I brought home that day.

I wasn’t looking for a dog. I didn’t need a dog.

Thank goodness Hallie knew me better than I knew myself.

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” – Thom Jones.

Beatrix is with me constantly. Because of COVID-19, I work from home. Rarely are we apart. She loves riding in my truck. In fact, as soon as I get home from the store or from visiting others, before I can relax, I feel the need to invite her into my truck and take her on a ride around the block.

She makes me happy. She makes others smile. She is a notorious licker, and a great hugger.

She’s also a bull in a china shop at times. And she likes to jump on others. To some that’s an annoying trait.

To me, that’s Beatrix, being Beatrix.

Beatrix loves life, and most people.

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” – Andy Rooney

I’ve known other animals — cats and dogs — who hate going to the vet.

Beatrix has some health issues, so the two of us are regulars at Galion Veterinary Hospital. On a lot of those trips, she has to give blood, or a sterile urine sample is required of her.

Still, she enjoys every moment of those visits. I’ve been told her wagging tail never stops. Even when she is being probed and stuck with fingers and needles.

She doesn’t worry about those little pokes. Going to the vet is all about the hugs and caresses she’ll get.

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures. The give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner

The worst part of her day is when I leave her. She is often sitting on the kitchen floor staring at the door when I get home. Or she’s in her favorite spot on the sofa., staring at the back door from the living room.

And I wonder, has she been waiting there all day, in that very spot.

But when I call her name, she perks up. She runs to me, her tail wagging like crazy, with that great big smile on her face.

No matter how crappy of a day I am having, all my troubles go away, too.

That’s what it means to have a dog!


Courtesy photo
This is Beatrix, the greatest dog in the world. Today is National Dog Day, so do something nice for your favorite canine.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2020/08/web1_Beatrix-smiling.jpgCourtesy photo
This is Beatrix, the greatest dog in the world. Today is National Dog Day, so do something nice for your favorite canine.


Email Russ Kent at [email protected]