Dallas’s breeder took this photo in late January, 2007, when I picked up this two-month-old ball of fluff to carry him to his forever home.
I’d made several trips to her house after the litter of three was born. To see the pups; to watch them grow and explore their new world.
He was the only male, and she said he’d be perfect for me.
How could she know, since pups that young don’t have much personality yet and she didn’t really know me?
Somehow she did, and it’s something I’ll be forever grateful for.
Look at that sweet face. Those sleepy eyes. The fur that almost matches my hair.
No wonder we fell in love with each other!
The dog-human bond, I’m told, goes back to caveman days, when wild dogs approached man’s campfires in hopes of getting a morsel or two. Today, people keep dogs for a variety of reasons, chief of which are loyalty, companionship, and unconditional love.
Pet dogs quickly figure out how to get what they want from the relationship by adopting a sad-eyed look while their humans eat. By whining to go out. Or chewing the furniture if they’re left alone too long.
A dog’s lifespan averages 11 years, depending on the breed, lineage, and the care it’s given. A Shetland Sheepdog, which is what Dallas is, typically lives 12 to 14 years — not long, really, although my first Sheltie managed to make it to age 16.
Recently, the vet’s office sent me a postcard reminding me it’s time for Dallas’s “senior profile.” That’s a series of specialized checks they make so they’ll have a reference point for when the dog gets old.
I’m not ready to think of my baby as “old.” To consider the possibility that he won’t always be with me.
But I have to be realistic. Dallas is seven, and most owners outlive their pets.
Loving somebody (or something) is risky. But the delights trump the heartaches, don’t you think?