So back in the springtime, I went out to the Stanislaus County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and there I found, and adopted, my little terrier puppy, Jack. People keep telling me that he is the cutest and smartest dog they have ever seen, but they don't live with him.
He's not as smart as he is manipulative, though he does have this "cute" thing he does when he crawls towards me when he wants something or has done something that I will have to clean up and he doesn't want me to be mad about it.
I also take him to day care. Yep. Doggie day care. Pretty much every day, because he throws a serious fit if he doesn't get to go and play with his friends Bella, Toby and Chauncey.
Anyway, dogs are supposed to be great for meeting women, but the truth is that most of the women have dogs as well. Usually their dogs are much larger and, frankly, manlier dogs than Jack; the message being that because I have a small dog I might not be as manly as their dog is. Jack, however, is a terrier, so he tends to think of himself as being the studliest dog around -- despite being de-maled (if you get my drift).
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He will stand up to just about any other dog and valiantly hold his ground ... until the other dog barks. At that point, Jack just rolls over and plays dead. Leaving me holding the leash.
I find that as I take Jack for walks around the neighborhood, he does make me a friendlier person as we often stop to talk to parents with children who want to pet him. Other adults smile at us as we trundle by, causing me to smile back. So maybe the whole point of having a dog is to make me a better person.
Anyway, I meant to write this months ago when I first got Jack from the SPCA, telling you about how wonderful an experience it was dealing with the folks out there and what a great job they are doing in getting dogs and cats adopted into loving homes. But somehow I got busy and kept putting it off until I was walking Jack one afternoon and we met a little girl on a tricycle out for a ride while her mother walked along.
It was quickly obvious that the little girl was in love with Jack as she reached out to pet him. The joy in her eyes at meeting my little puppy made me wonder, for just a moment, what might have happened to Jack if nobody had cared enough to allow the SPCA to give him a chance to find me.
So my point is that if you find that maybe you have a small hole in your life, what better way is there to fill it than with a dog (or a cat) from the SPCA?
Bowman is a former submarine weapons specialist who lives in Modesto. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.