Want Friends? Get a Dog

Alice and I just returned from a 6-day trip downstate to visit my family. This trip came up suddenly… only 90 minutes elapsed from the time we decided to leave until we pulled out of the garage. Franco, as always, was delighted to leap up into his crate in the back of the car, and to settle in without a peep… until we stop the car. Then he’ll loudly announce that he is up for anything as long as we go with him.

Having a dog along gives one access to places normally denied to non dog owners. Dogs need to be walked, and big dogs like Franco often clearly express to their human where the next best smell is located. I do not mind this because Franco deserves to use his nose during our rare and all too short stops.

francoOne of the best features about owning a German Shepherd is other German Shepherd owners. I’ll be walking Franco and folks will come up to me that would have normally just walked by, and strike up a conversation about dogs. They’ll scratch Franco, which he really likes, and tell story after story about their dog. If Franco is really lucky, they’ll throw a stick or ball for him while we’re talking. I am not making this up. It happened over and over this trip. I got to meet and swap stories with folks from all walks of life, and walked away smiling and enriched by the contact. I also find myself doing it with people walking their dogs too. When I see a dog owner that obviously likes their dog, I know I’ll find a connection there, and I know that starting a conversation with that person will be as easy as saying, “What a pretty dog!”

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