People say having a dog is like having a permanent toddler. (I say: better than having a permanent teenager.) But many people get a dog after the kids leave home. Even the Wall Street Journal has recognized the phenomena.
I might welcome the companionship of a dog in a few years when the human offspring depart—though I am not sure how the feline contingent would feel about that. And the spousal contingent already has voiced opposition.
Dogs and literature go way back. Old Yeller and Buck come immediately to mind. Wikipedia lists 30 pages of dogs in literature. Rin-Tin-Tin can have honorary membership in the club. And we can’t leave out Enzo, the hero of Garth Stein’s Racing in the Rain: My Life As a Dog. I don’t write much about dogs, but my first foray back into short story writing after a 20-year hiatus was Mistress Mine.
For anyone who longs to live more in the moment, dogs (and, we must admit, cats) are a tonic. Their concerns are elemental. In every way, they are creatures of few words. And, by example, they bring us back to our better selves.
I had a dog, once.
Now I have only children.
My dog ran with me.
When my nest empties,
I’ll fill it with happy dogs
To frolic with me.
Who frolics with you? What are your favorite animal stories?