I know, we live in a time of Peak Dog. All you have to do to make someone squeal with joy these days is bring a dog into the room. And, for those of you who are annoyed by dog-mania, just move along, because I’m adding my voice to the Dog Choir.
Of course, I love my dogs for the joy they bring me. Who wouldn’t? Their love is unconditional (with the exception of food and belly rubs) and they are great for helping a stressed-out lawyer relax after a long day of lawyering.
But what turned me into a true disciple of the Gospel of Dogs was when I realized how they’re not just here for us. They’re here for each other, too. To illustrate, let me tell you about Skip and Kobe.
For a time, we had three dogs. Skip, Kobe and Ace. Two mutts and a schnauzer (Kobe), and all with personalities of their own. Skip came to us when a friend – knowing that I love Schnauzers – called to say she had found a homeless Schnauzer, and did I want to give him a home. I’m not sure why, but I said yes, sight unseen.
Suffice to say, Skip wasn’t a Schnauzer. He might have had a bit of Schnauzer blood in there somewhere, but nobody would mistake him for one. However, with a bit of creative grooming, he could pull it off. Skip and Kobe became, if not the best of friends, at least cordial colleagues.
They spent many years together, not frolicking and playing as much as I had hoped, but certainly providing each other companionship and the occasional low-key romping.
One year, when Skip was 16, he started acting lethargic. All of a sudden, Kobe becomes his constant companion. If Skip’s in bed, Kobe’s in bed. If Skip’s in the kitchen, so is Kobe.
“Finally,” I said, “they’re acting like brothers. About time.”
Skip’s lethargy got worse, though, so we took him to the vet. Sadly, Skip was quite ill and we had a decision to make;regrettably, we made it. That was Thursday.
On Friday, Kobe started coughing. The diagnosis: esophageal cancer. The vet explained that this wasn’t a sudden-onset kind of disease. Kobe has had this a while, but he never let on that he was less than 100 percent.
He was keeping up his strength for Skip. He knew that Skip’s end was near, and he wanted to help see him home.
The following Monday, we had to say goodbye to Kobe too.
That left Ace, who had always been the odd man out. When he began following the nanny around the house, begging for attention, she told us “You need to get another dog. Ace is so lonely.”
I then began the journey to find King, a Coton de Tulear, a breed that is very hard to find but I miraculously found him just two miles from my home.
Now Ace and King are the brothers and playful buddies I had always hoped Skip and Kobe would be. I love their company, but I suspect they love each other’s company even more.