Of the many personality traits and preference bequeathed to me from my mother, perhaps one that is most glaringly apparent to others is my love for dogs. I love them, particularly of the sporting variety. So every year, I get very excited to watch the Westminster Dog Show on TV. This year, I was particularly pleased when a Black Cocker Spaniel, nicknamed Beckham, won the sporting group. In second place in the group, was a beautiful Irish Setter, the dog of my childhood. Knightley and I cheered on Beckham and watched the Best in Show competition in eager anticipation. Beckham came up a little bit short to a beautiful, elegant Scottish Deerhound. Now here is where I demonstrate my dog nerdiness. I remember this dog as a canine companion in at least two movies. Can you name them? Well, if not, let me tell you. If you have seen Colin Firth’s turn as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, then you might recognize the Scottish Deerhound as he walked the halls of Pemberly with Mr. Darcy one evening as Mr. Darcy began to feel more upbeat about his prospects with Elizabeth Bennet. The second movie (which did reflect the real life of this person and her choice of dogs) was Out of Africa, as Karen Blixen brought her Scottish Deerhound with her to Africa.
When I watch Westminster, I think that my ideal living situation would be to own a large tract of land (hundreds of acres) where I could have a pack of dogs from the sporting group to run around and play with. I watch and think to myself, I want one of those, two of those, one of those, and maybe one of those too. What friends do I want in my pack in addition to Knightley? How about the following: A Boykin Spaniel (state dog of South Carolina), most certainly a Brittany, an English Setter, an English Springer Spaniel, a Golden Retriever (there is no dog sweeter than our late, Ralphe), a Gordon Setter (I want a full set of those setter varieties), an Irish Setter, a Vizsla, and from the non-sporting group, an American and English foxhound. Here is my question, though. Why does no one ever say that person is a crazy dog lady?
If you are like me, and you secretly crave one person in your life who will show you unwavering loyalty and devotion in every circumstance, a dog isn’t an option, it is a necessity. You can be quite sure that all of the love that you give will come back to you in total, if not in greater. Don’t just take my word for it. You can watch this slide show from NY Magazine called, “The Dogs and Humans of Westminster.” My favorite statement comes from the lady talking about her Welsh Corgi and Valentine’s Day. She states, “I got him “Sloppy Kisser” hearts and little bones. We love each other so much. If my husband loved me as much as this dog does, we’d have the perfect marriage.” Wiser words were not spoken.
What makes the love of a dog so perfect? It is so pure. You get to give of yourself to this little creature that you know is always going to be right by your side, so long as you let him, for as long as you live. It is the perfect antidote to all of the ways human relationships, increasingly dependent on technology, can alienate us. There is nothing to intermediate the love of a loyal, sweet dog.