The very first week Pawsitive Partners Prison Program started, an inmate at the facility, not affiliated with the program, an observer in the crowd, asked if someone would read this essay to the trainers during the next training session. So moved by the mere presence of dogs in his environment, he looked up the essay, copied it by hand and arranged to have it delivered to the training program administrator with the request it be read. There were no dry eyes in the house that day …
Just a Dog
From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog,” or, "that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog." Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog." Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not once feel slighted.
Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of "just a dog," I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day. I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a man."
So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog" just smile, because they "just don't understand."
Sandra Dee Adopted Shepherd Mix, Born May 2004