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Why We Love Dogs

Once in a lifetime, perhaps, a very special dog comes into your life, one who really “gets” you. Brooks was mine.

Why We Love Dogs: How one dog became a woman's best friend

Do you love dogs? Maybe you’ve shared your home with several—a childhood dog, a series of family dogs. They’ve all had a loving place in your life. But once in a while a dog comes along who is a bit more special, for whom your feelings are much more intense. This dog seems to “get” you, and you him. That’s your heart dog.

I might say that our spaniel Kelly is my heart dog, because she helped me get fit and healthy when we lost weight together. And I might say that our golden retriever Ike is my heart dog, because he follows me around everywhere and rests at my feet while I’m working at the computer. In truth, they are both amazing dogs and very special to me, but my one true heart dog was Brooks.

We adopted Brooks in the spring three years ago, when he was 12. He’d been abandoned and on his own for many months—no one really knew for sure how long—but his protruding ribs, patchy yellow fur and multiple abrasions spoke the truth. It had been a long time.

Someone had thrown away an elderly dog. It made my heart ache.

Brooks somehow sensed the dog we needed, and became that. We’d been searching to adopt a dog Kelly might accept, with no success. Brooks walked into the house, and instantly there was peace.

We sometimes had to leave the dogs alone in the house for a few hours. Brooks curled up on the couch, or in a patch of sunlight, and never barked, cried or chewed furniture. No separation anxiety, no phobias, no bad habits.

We took the dogs out for a walk every evening. Brooks sauntered along at our pace, never pulling, never straying–the easiest dog on a leash I’d ever met. And he was always just as happy to go as he was to return. At night he slept wherever we put his bed. After only a few nights, he was up on the foot of our bed with us.


Best of all was each evening, when I sat in my big green chair to relax, read or watch TV. Brooks climbed up beside me and rested in my lap–all 80 pounds of him. For the first time in a long time, maybe, he felt safe and protected. He didn’t wiggle or get in my way or become a nuisance. He just rested in my love. And I rested in his love for me. He made my heart turn to mush. 

Brooks, the blessing of a dog, posing.I know, adopting a dog that old is sure to lead to heartbreak. It did with Brooks. He died of cancer after only one year together. It’s okay, however. God sent him to us to live out the last year of his life in total comfort and love.

How much of an impact can one year really make? All I can say is, I’m pretty sure that one year was one of the best of both of our lives.

It’s okay if you don’t have a heart dog. After all, it is pretty much a once in a lifetime blessing. Maybe you just haven’t met yours yet.

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