Dozer Fitzgerald Gamel, the miniature Dachshund, is seven years old today, March 4, 2014. As I usually do, I've posted a photo of Dozer online, and he already has numerous greetings and good wishes.
Our pets become part of our lives. Even when they are a "back porch dog" or a "barnyard cat," the animals that we allow to share our lives become very much a part of our daily routines and activities. Whether it's the hamster in its elaborate cage, the dog at the foot of the bed or the cat sunning itself in the window, our pets are as much a part of our lives, and as much family members, as we allow them to be.
When I got Dozer seven years ago from Teresa Walker, he was the most rambunctious of his litter. His siblings went to Misty Criswell, Shayne Smith and Kyle Eckert. I believe that only Kyle's dog is still alive, as the others met untimely ends and were replaced with new pets. Dozer's mother had only one other litter before she met up with a rattlesnake in the front yard and headed to the place that all dogs go when they die. Dozer's father, Riley, still barks at me every time I pass Teresa's house, as if he knows that I have his boy with me in the pickup.
He got his name from Hawkins Allen because he was like a little bulldozer, plowing through his siblings to feed or to receive a tummy rub. Any time Teresa or Hawkins walk into my office, Dozer still goes crazy, almost as if he remembers them from when he was just a little puppy.
He knows Daddy, Steve, Merlina, Peanut, Sean, Terri, Rosemary, Aaron and Connar. He knows Connie and Randy and he remembers all the pets that go with those people. Sam, Freckles, Eve, Sally.... Dozer knows the pets, and he knows when we pass by their homes. Our pets know the people that are important in our lives, so those people become important in their own lives.
Before Dozer, we had never had an "indoor dog" in our house. I was a bit concerned about how well that would work out with my family; but, Daddy and Dozer are now fast friends and will watch television together, step out on the porch to check the weather and stroll around to check the rain guages (though that is often is fruitless task).
For me, Dozer is a constant companion. He rides with me in the truck wherever I go. He is under my desk at the office on his bed, waiting to greet folks when they come in to pick up their papers. He takes walks with me down in the creek, he patrols the yard, and he explores the pastures. I don't think of him as more than the dog that he is; but, I respect and love him for doing that as well as he does.
Since I've had Dozer, I tend to be at home and in bed earlier than I once did, as he starts to get cranky if he stays away from home for too long. I don't go out of town as often as I once did, as I have to make sure that he has someone to feed and care for him while I go to play. I actually step out of the office on a regular basis, ostensibly to let him walk about and do his business; but, it's also great to allow Donna and I to walk around a bit during the day, stretch our legs, and breathe in the fresh air.
This week, we have "Pets of the Week" from both of the animal rescue organizations in Mason. If you don't already have dogs or cats in your life, stop by either of those groups and find out how you can foster, or adopt, a dog or a cat. Find out how rewarding and delightful your life can be when you allow the child inside to just sit and stroke their fur. Allow yourself to enjoy the companionship of an animal that considers you the most important human being on the face of the earth, and who will react as if you've been gone for years when you've actually only just stepped out for groceries.
I'm a sappy, emotional person who really does love the way my pet makes me feel. I don't give him credit for any intelligence that doesn't actually exist; but, I respect the intelligence he does have. I don't think of him as a person; but, I do love him for being a dedicated dog, and for returning my affection with no expectations.
Happy birthday, Dozer! Here's to many more.
It’s all just my opinion.