Monday, March 23, 2009

Reality check

I love talking to people about dogs. As a reporter, I get to talk to a lot of people about a lot of stuff all day, every day. But not usually about dogs.
I recently wrote a story about a couple who were facing foreclosure on their home. A lot of people who face foreclosure become renters, and a lot of rental places don’t accept pets.
The husband had mentioned he had a dog and I asked him if he was worried about what would happen to the dog if they had to find a rental.
Hesitating, he told me that, no, he wasn’t worried about the dog.
His black lab, he explained, had already exceeded the average age for Labradors. The dog was turning 14 this year and was starting to have a lot of health problems.
The man was basically telling me he didn’t expect his dog to live for much longer, and I could hear the sadness in his voice.
“What bothers me more, losing my dog or losing my house?” he said. “I’ve put a lot into the house. But the dog, he’s family.”
Thinking about his dog seemed to help him put his situation in perspective. A reality check, so to speak.
No matter what you lose in life, the greatest losses are those which are not material. As much as a home can mean to us, a dog is a life, a family member, a friend.
I thought it was rather profound the way a dog’s mortality evoked a bigger-picture perspective for this man.
I also think that everyone — dog owner or not — can apply this perspective to their lives.
Let’s follow this man’s example and remember the big things, the important things, in life — our families, friends, and of course, our pets!

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