The Love of a Dog

A dog's love

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” —Josh Billings

I remember sitting on the front porch of my house with my dog, Prissy, after an especially bad day in middle school. As I rubbed her head and told her all about my awful day and how she was my only friend, she looked at me sympathetically with her dark brown eyes and licked my face. At that very moment, she really was my only friend and I knew–without a doubt–that she loved me and always would.

If you have a dog, you will never feel unloved or unlovable.

There really is something special about dogs. They get under your skin and into your heart in a way no other animal can. Do not misunderstand me, I love cats too. I have had a number of cats as pets throughout my life and they are lovely–great companions, wonderful to snuggle up with, etc. And while I may believe that my cat loves me, she just doesn’t seem to express it in the way a dog does.

I went for almost fifteen years without having a dog as a pet. I didn’t realize at the time that I missed having one. When I was around other people’s dogs they seemed so smelly and dirty and noisy. Once I had a baby there was no way that I was going to add that kind of chaos to our lives.

Over the years our daughter begged and pleaded for a dog but my husband and I tried everything we could to distract her: cats, a hamster, frogs,….We finally caved in when she was in fourth grade. We found Charlotte, a rescue dog from Pet Helpers in Charleston SC and gave her to our daughter for Christmas that year. The two have been inseparable ever since. It was a wonderful decision for our entire family.

A girl and her dog

A girl and her dog

Several years later we decided to add a second dog to our lives–an English springer spaniel. My husband located one in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (for some reason we wanted one from our home state). When we went to pick up the 8-week old puppy, Hattie (named for her birthplace), we could not resist bringing home her only remaining litter mate. We named him Chester (after Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre).

These two turn four years old today. Charlotte, the chocolate lab mix, turned eight last month. I cannot imagine our family, our home, our lives without this crew.

Our lives have been forever changed by these dogs–for the better.

Do you have a story about how your dog has changed your life?

*Photographs by Amy Watson Smith. The images have been altered using the Waterlogue app.