It’s ridiculous the love that our family has for our dog Buddy. It’s so bad that even I, mister manly man, admit that, when speaking to him, my voice actually goes up eight octaves as though I’m trying to get a baby to laugh.
That being said, I consider him part of our immediate family. I think that’s how it is for most pet owners, and it’s just natural that we get close enough to these little companions that we can’t help but think of them as relatives.
But I never realized how big our family was until I joined my wife and 17-year-old daughter to take Buddy for a walk.
Because of our schedules, walking Buddy was usually a solo mission. I would walk him early mornings, late at night or on Saturdays when the girls were at our daughter’s dance classes. Or they would walk him in the evenings before I got home from work. So we had different routines and routes.
A few weeks ago our calendars were aligned, and so one evening we all took “our boy” for a walk. I decided to let the ladies do their routine and I just tagged along for the exercise. Seemed like everyone in our neighborhood walked their dogs at this time, because I felt like I was at the Westminster dog show as I never saw so many dogs on leashes being walked by their owners.
What was amusing was that my wife and daughter seemed to know many of these other dogs, as they were pointing them out to Buddy as we walked along their route. If they saw any kind of dog not of his breed, which is a mix of Maltese and bichon frise, they would shout out, “Look, Buddy, there’s your cousin!”
If we saw a dog of the same mix, it was like a family dog reunion, as the girls actually knew the other dog’s name. “Buddy, it’s your sister Sophie!” or “Buddy, your brother Champ is here!” The whole thing was pretty cute, and I marveled at the number of dogs they knew.
I laughed and pointed out to them that we dog owners also belong to a family — that being the family of sanitation engineers responsible for picking up the poop left by our four-legged children.