‘Dog People’ and ‘Cat People’
I’ve always heard that there are “Cat People” and “Dog People.” I’ve had a few cats through the years but I may be a dog person since I can’t remember any of their names.
There are also “True Dog People” that are totally devoted to their pets. Their lives revolve around their dogs. Dog sitters, dog walkers, dog groomers ... I can understand all of those. Dog psychologists and doggie day-care, not so much.
I really haven’t owned a dog since I was a teenager. Back then it was a non-descript mutt that was brown, so she was named Brownie and was notable only because she really didn’t like anybody. I really didn’t consider Brownie a real dog.
I had a real dog once. It was a beagle that I got when I was about 6 years old. I named it Bubbles after a killer whale that I saw at Sea World right before I got him.
The bad news is that he died not too long afterward. We think he got bitten by a snake.
There was another real dog that lived at our house but it really belonged to my daughter. But then said daughter moved away to college and Bubba the Dalmatian became mine, heart and soul. This dog lived for me to get home in the evening, forgoing food all day until I got home and he could confirm that it was truly me.
Forget fetching or chasing squirrels — riding beside me in the front seat of our Jeep with the top down and the doors off was truly heaven on earth for Bubba.
Bubba helped me understand True Dog People. He grieved when I was gone on a business trip or was otherwise away from him for a few days. I was gone for a week one time and we thought he would starve.
The night I buried him, I cried like a baby.
My wife and I had one other dog but it wasn’t a real dog either. It was a Shih Tzu named McGhee after our favorite character on a TV show we used to watch, back when we had time to watch TV. This dog was rendered permanently insane when we were forced to shave her after not properly caring for her long coat. Really.
The reality of it though is that dogs love you no matter what you do. Despite the cruelty, I bet Michael Vick’s dogs probably at least liked him. Such is the devotion of a dog.
Dogs are loyal companions that really don’t care what mood you’re in. Happy when you come home? Oh heck no ... they are deliriously joyful! Your arrival simply made their day complete.
That’s probably why I never really liked cats. A dog looks at you and thinks: “He feeds me, he pets me, he must be God.” A cat looks at you and thinks: “He feeds me, he pets me, I must be God.”
Dogs are so good at this love thing that we can actually learn about love from them. Maybe that’s why some people seem to like dogs more than people. You can hardly blame them. I think I’m the only person in America that has been disappointed by a dog.
OK, so it’s pretty clear I’m a Dog Person but I think my wife and I will probably never own another. After Bubba, it would be all downhill.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)