'He is loyalty iself' quotes Gene Hill about his faithful little dog. The words loyalty and dog are never far from one another in a sentence, and for good reason. In fact it is this deep unshakeable loyalty possessed by our 4 legged friends that has inspired me to pursue a career in canine behaviour; perhaps to give something back to the species that has given me so much.
3 years ago things were very different, I was a total dog-phobic, severe enough to cross the street if i heard the pitter patters of paws, however tiny, approaching me. Volunteering as a dog walker in my local rescue centre, Bath Cats and Dogs Home, soon changed my perception of dogs, and as it happens, my life.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of befriending a dog, that wonderful moment where you've gained their trust and a bond starts to develop between the two of you. You become close through walks, those precious quiet moments where it's just the two of you exploring unknown fields and pathways, sharing sandwiches and affection, and receiving so much more than you give without intention.
Dogs give all without asking for anything, love with their entire beings all the way from their licky mouths to their waggy tails; perhaps most overlooked is their ability to tell us the truth without malice or tact. Dogs do not act out of vengence or spite, they don't feel guilt or empathy in the way we assume they do, but this does not make them inferior to us because they don't see the world in shades of grey. It is this blunt, selfish innocence that makes our 4 legged furry friends far morally superior to their analytical 2 legged counterparts.
My love of dogs has so far cost me thousands of pounds in behaviour courses, nights full of tears when a beloved friend is euthanised or loathing kennel life, more versions of the common cold than I knew existed from walking rescue dogs in the Winter, and I will never need blusher again thanks to the sunburn I have constantly subjected myself to from paddock playtimes in the blistering heat....however please do not assume I am moaning as I have adored every single moment. No matter how dismal life can at times seem, one look in the soulful eyes of a dog and the world seems beautiful for me.
If there is ever a day when I question my purpose in life, the answer is always there clear and true....live will always be worth living if you have earnt the love of a dog. Or many dogs, as I hope has and will be the case!