Dogged Devotion

Next week, my dog, Ollie, has to go to the Vet, and have part of his tail amputated. Those who have read all my posts will know the history of this, and be aware of the reason for this impending surgery. But this post is not really about that, I digress.

Anyone who has a dog, or has ever had one, will be able to understand some, if not all, of this post. There is something emotionally overwhelming about the affection and devotion that a dog shows to its owner. I use the popular term owner, but in reality, a better word would be companion. I may own a dog, but I am also his companion, his provider, and his mentor. His love, and loyalty to me are like nothing else I could ever experience. No human emotion could even come close, because we have opinions, thoughts and fears, doubts and worries. The love of children does not carry the same selflessness, and even the love of a mother for her children, perhaps the strongest, most unselfish there is, does not match that of a dog for its owner.

As far as he is concerned, I can do no wrong. If I leave him, he does not meet my return with recrimination, or complaint, rather with an excited spinning, frantic tail-wagging, and a genuine desire to see me back. If I spend all day with him, he is content to lie under my legs, doze on his bed, or chew a toy, as long as I am nearby, or at least in sight. If I forget to feed him, he waits patiently, and if I forget to let him in from the garden, he waits patiently. Every time I move, or adjust my sitting position, he is instantly awake and alert, ready for anything we might be about to do. If I open the back of the car, he jumps in, ready and willing to accompany me anywhere, without so much as a moment of hesitation.

His only request, is the occasional acknowledgement of his presence; a pat, a stroke, or the crust from my toast. He greets callers and guests with hospitality; as I have let them in, he presumes that they must be alright. He doesn’t destroy anything, take something he is not allowed to have, or interfere in any business that is not his to bother with. If I move from one room to another, he is instantly by my side, and wants no more than to go everywhere I go, and to see whatever I see. I have no doubt that he would die to defend me, or mourn my loss for the rest of his life. If I allow someone to take him off on his lead, he goes uncomplainingly. If I say it is alright, then he trusts me implicitly.

After almost two years together, I am still uneasy about that trust. When I lead him in to see a Vet, he trusts me that he will come to no harm, and not be hurt in any way. If I took him into a forest, tied him to a tree, and left him all day, he would just wait for me to come back; trusting completely in his belief that I will return. It doesn’t even occur to him that I would harm him, scold him unduly, or ever leave him for good. No matter how long he has known me, that devotion and trust remains undiminished; if anything, it is reinforced by time.

It is something tremendous, and I don’t know if I will ever get used to it.

27 thoughts on “Dogged Devotion

    1. Thanks very much. Nice to see you here again.
      Ollie is 10 and a half now. He has arthritis, and his walking is slow. But nothing else has changed since I wrote this in 2014.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This reminded me of the quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, referring to her Cocker Spaniel, “his ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.”

    Thinking of Ollie and wishing him well. xoxo


  2. As ever you expressed the truth so well, I had a bit of a pang whilst reading this post as I thought of my two waiting back in Poland. Long walks in the snow only a few weeks away now 🙂
    I’m sure Ollie will blame the vet, not you 🙂


  3. Pete,

    I have only recently been the recipient of the kind of greeting you described and can fully understand your thoughts. We help watch (right word?) our son’s dog while he is away. He (the dog) has been around so much recently that he seems to have adopted us and we always get this incredible energetic greeting anytime we return.

    I am absolutely sure this has nothing to do with the fact we give him ‘treats.’ Absolutely sure. Nope. Nothing to do with it.



    1. They never forget anyone who gives them a treat, no matter how long since they have seen them. Glad you are getting some vicarious dog fun Phil.
      Regards from Norfolk, Pete.


  4. What a lovely post Pete. There is nothing quite like the companionship of a dog. But you’re right; it is not an easy thing either – especially when it comes to a visit to the vet!
    Too bad Ollie has to get his tail amputated (or a part of it). But, at least he will have a good story to tell when he’s a bit older about how he lost it!


    1. Thanks Mari. I am also hoping that it goes well, as he has no idea what is about to happen, the guilt is piling on! (Even though it was his own fault, he doesn’t know that).
      Regards as always, Pete.


  5. Lovely posts Pete. I must be honest and say that I do prefer the company of my two beloved dogs to that of many people, something it is almost taboo to admit, I’m sure. Such a pity the tail issue did not resolve itself. I’m sure the op will go well, and he will be happier for it, and won’t, of course, blame you at all, he will just be delighted to see you when you collect him. Revel in his devotion and the trust he puts in you, a very rewarding aspect of dog ownership. Aren’t dogs great 🙂 And re-your last comment to Debs. All true (although our 2 cost more than running our car!), and the loss of a dog will break you heart, every time, but the life you have together is always worth that heartache.


    1. Thanks Debs. REMEMBER though;

      You can’t jet off abroad, without making sure someone is willing to look after the dog. Kennels don’t really work.
      Not all dogs are as well behaved as Ollie.
      He is not often left alone, as I am not working.
      When you want to visit friends, they must be OK about the dog coming too.
      You DO have to give them a lot of exercise, not just short walks, or they will not settle in the evening.
      Insurance costs, and Vet bills, are almost as expensive as running a car.
      They only live for about 12-15 years, so will eventually break your heart when they die.
      If you can manage all that, there is nothing to match it.

      Love and best wishes to you and Mick, and hope that all is well.
      Pete. X


      1. Hi there…and may I add…as wonderful as a puppy is…it takes lots and lots of patience and hard work. But, even with the sleepless nights and, as you Pete, mentioned, giving up many things or changing habits, it is worth it all. We‘ve got a 9 month old Schnauzer and it feels like having a baby all over again. But wouldn’t change it for anything


  6. Pete: I imagine that you will never get used to the love and incredible loyalty of a good dog and that’s a good thing; all you can do, I think, is savour the time you have together. I hope that the operation goes well and that the vet’s bill is not too high. I will get back to my stale coffee and crusts now. Love B


    1. Vet estimating £400 on top of the £200 already spent Brian. We will get about 85% back from the insurance though, so that will soften the blow somewhat. Hope that coffee wasn’t too stale mate!
      Love as always, Pete and Julie. X


  7. I’d love to have another dog but that will never happen while I work the rubbish shift pattern I’m on. My dog went blind in one eye and needed surgery in the other, so for a short while was completely blind. When off the lead he would stand still, someone else/even my wife was holding the lead he would stand still, me holding the lead he would walk as if he had 20/20 vision.

    Hope all goes well.


  8. Great blog Pete, uplifting and joyous. Here’s to Ollie and a successful operation, I look forward to meeting the young man.
    You and Julie have a wonderful day today. As usual the sun is shining in London and it is dry and balmy, now, I have to get back to my fresh coffee and croissants on the lawn.
    Love Ro xxx


  9. I think similarly about dogs and all other animals that I’ve known and loved and the ones I have now; it’s an awesome experience being a pet’s mom or dad. Stay calm and Ollie will be calm, too and this will soon be in the past. Best Wishes.


    1. Thanks Gretchen. Never having had children, I sometimes feel that the responsibility for a pet can be a great burden, but a good one at the same time.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.


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