My heart beats dog® so very much that I trademarked that saying. Years ago at a pet blogging conference, I approached a mural. There we stood, dozens of us, waiting to etch a sentiment about our affection for animals on a 2×3 or so piece of paper.
My heart beats dog rolled off my fingertips.
“Did you just make that up,” the gentleman behind me quipped.
“Well, yes, it’s how I feel,” I replied. “My heart beats dog.”
He told me I should trademark it. And so I did. It’s mine.
And maybe it’s your mantra, too. What does it mean to have a heart “beat” dog? I am certainly not alone in this canine cardiac rhythm.
Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, writes in her book, For the Love of a Dog, about humans and our relationship with canines, “What we share, without question, is a rich emotional life. Emotions like fear and happiness and love simmer within us, sometimes bubbling to the surface, always linking us together. The glass of our shared experience may be half empty, but that means it’s half full. How lucky we are that it’s a big glass, and that, most of the time, the liquid is sweet and good.”
We are creatures united by emotions: Our dogs share a rainbow of feelings with us, their human companions. Dogs have the propensity to feel many of the same emotions humans do. It’s even written about in big-name journals such as Psychology Today. But…
Dogs Aren’t People
Of all of the criticisms my writings have received over the years, none has set off a firestorm of vitriol and unimaginable hatred in response to dubbing myself a dog mom.
I know that dogs are not people. Though I consider myself a dog mom, I know that my dog isn’t a child. If the fates honor me with my dog-sharing life for a solid 15 years or more, unlike a teenager at age 15, my dog isn’t asking for the car keys, won’t enter the dating world, and will never become a source of gray hair as I worry because he is out 10 minutes past curfew. His time is getting limited, at this ripe old age.
We humanize our dogs and transfer people-like notions and emotions upon them because we want to believe they are just like us. They are us, an extension of us. They live for us. Their way of being in the world is much different than ours, friends. They ask for so little and give the very little they have to us. They live in our world, after all. When there’s not enough room for all of them, at least 5 million or so times a year, we end their lives. Indeed, dogs are not people. Dogs would make room for every last one of us.
Dogs Rejoice With Us
The next time you see your dog, be really super happy. Send a shot of exuberance into the universe and make your dog a part of it. In an entire life of being with, around, and in the company of dogs, it is this writer’s observation that joy unites dog to human more than any other emotion. Joy comes in many forms, and dogs take it all in. Tails tell tales, even those with nubs or none at all. A dog lets you know when he’s happy. Be calm with your dog, be at peace with your dog, spend quality time with your dog, and not just today. If it takes a national proclamation to shine a spotlight into a dog’s soul, then let it be today. May the world echo a big “aroooooo” for all those dogs we have loved and lost: past, present, today, and tomorrow.
Dogs are more like us than not but they are not humans. Dogs are the best of us when the worst of us breaks our hearts and lets us down.
Canines Across Continents
Go ahead and Google “Carol Bryant dog mom” or “Carol Bryant dog lover” and that’s me, in all my SEO-optimized glory. My heart beats dog and its lub dub cadence crosses Internets and such. Asia knows I love dogs and New Zealand knows, too. I’m pretty sure Tokyo knows, and Great Britain adores my dog beating heart. Dogs cross oceans, form bridges, soar over barriers, and unite us as the people we are meant to be: Pure, kind, loving, and unconditionally human.
A Heart That Beats Dog
I embrace a passion for dogs and that passion somehow in this crazy, messed up universe so very perfectly found its way to me. A little girl once lost found her forever home in dogs.
My life is a celebration of dog and their time on Earth, a mere flicker. Poof, we blink and it’s gone. A heart that beats dog is all too keenly aware of its ability to break, and oh how it shatters. What began as a veterinary visit ended with a puddle of the former me on a floor as my dog made her journey from this life into the ever after. That pink-filled needle ended her suffering and catapulted mine.
Every day is Christmas with a dog. It’s a true celebration, a present waiting to be unwrapped every day. Cliche, but true.There’s a secret unspoken club for us dog lovers of the highest order. On fortunate days, we find each other: At parks, pet-welcoming stores, on vacations, and at traffic lights. Dogs sniff, we smile. Ages are exchanged, stories are passed on, and dogs bring strangers together, even for a moment.
“He’s 12 and he’s my baby.”
“I swore I’d never get another and never again. And here’s never again.”
The words change, but the feelings are the same: Those who love and have learned to love more richly because of a dog carry a light in their soul. We have hope when the world goes crazy: Dogs want us in it. We are welcome in their worlds. They celebrate our existence. The circle of life is pretty damned special with a dog in it.
In Celebration of Dog
So my heart beats dog, trademark and all. A beating heart is a sign of life, and for me, that’s what dogs are: Signs of life and hope and goodness and living for the now all rolled into one. Dogs have taught me to be more of a human being and less of a human doing. How fortunate that my heart’s door opened at just the right time to let that joy in. It’s mine, I’m not alone, and today, tomorrow, and until my final breath, I celebrate dogs. Arooooooo!