A Dog For All Seasons


(from my monthly “IT Talk” column in “The Sweet Sea News”)

Ok, so I have finally lost the plot completely! And with it any chance of a convincing excuse that this article has anything at all to do with IT. So, Talk is all that remains… My loss of compos mentis has a reason, of course. No, itʼs not due to old age, thank you very much! Itʼs all about menʼs best friend, this particular one of the very spotted variety. … A bunch of us had gathered in the back yard of the Manly vet to take a look at our friendʼs soon to be family dog, a beautiful black spotted Dalmatian pup. He was released by the vet from a quaint wooden shed at the bottom of the garden, together with his three liver spotted brothers. Why the vet released them all, instead of just the one we came to inspect, became clear soon enough. The spotted bundles of joy all made straight for the bunch of kids in our group. All, but one! This one was on a mission from God! His face was as cute as the others but it had a look of utter determination upon it. No squealing child could deter him or break his concentration and he was heading straight for me! He would stay close to me all evening, scarcely even glancing at his brothers rolling around with the kids in the grass. That was 14 years ago and in a way, he has never left my side since. Until yesterday! … I am sad of course, but I knew it was time to let go and he certainly was ready to go. Ready, not just because of his age, but because he knew his work was done. Mission accomplished – beam me up, Scotty! Some things in life are difficult to reconcile for a non-theist without invoking something higher than ourselves. While I will remain a stubborn non-believer, I am happy to concede that I do not have all the answers. None, actually… Though one thing I know for certain: The reason that Jock (the name he acquired that very night) made straight for me, saved my very life! You see, in a way, I had a dog already – a big black one. It had been bearing down on me for a while, for no other reason than that he could, or so it seemed to me. Something (or someone?) made Jock see it clear enough, see the urgent need for help and, most importantly, made him eager to give it. And give he did in spades! Never questioning, always happy, never holding grudges and asking nothing in return. He let me feed him and take him for long walks, of course. Not because he wanted it, but because he knew it was good for me! He achieved with no more than a toothie Dalmatian grin and a tail that seemed to have a life of its own, what a psychiatrist with a Harvard Diploma was unable to do: He made me whole again.
So hereʼs to Jock, my best friend, faithful companion, healer of wounded souls, a dog for all seasons…