Okay. Allow me to preface this by making an admission.
I am not a dog person.
I'm not scared of them. I'm not oblivious to their many useful contributions to human beings and society. I just don't like them, plain and simple. That said, however, I can appreciate a dog. And I can appreciate those who appreciate them.
My parents for example. They own a young, miniature Jack Russell terrier named Maggie (also affectionately known as "Magz" or "The Magzster"). As dogs go, she is a very cute dog. She's adorable, friendly, energetic, loyal, and otherwise everything a good dog should be. But she's still a dog. And in my eyes, that will perpetually work against her favor.
However, as I pride myself in being open-minded and forgiving, I will often tolerate Maggie's company when I run while visiting my folks. She usually comes along with my Dad on his bike and we'll follow along a paved trail for a good several miles, with Maggie vigorously leading the way. By the end of the run, she's a little tuckered, but still oh-so-happy to have been included in the outing. And in spite of myself, I can't help but enjoy her as it makes for a unique experience for me to have her company.
Last week, Maggie pulled one of her mischievous doggy tricks and broke into a bottle of Advil. Without my parents knowing, she chewed and swallowed half a dozen of them and by nightfall, she found herself a semi-permanent resident of the vet hospital with liver and kidney damage. The prognosis was not good. Upon hearing the news, I admittedly felt quite sad-- a fair amount of sadness for the dog itself, but even more for my father. He's perfectly aware Maggie is "just a dog", but she's his little companion and the thought of having to put her to sleep at Christmas-time was obviously making him quite somber. Long story made even longer, after several touch-and-go days, Maggie finally pulled through this morning and is back home being her adorable, friendly, energetic and loyal self.
A Christmas Miracle, as told by a miniature Jack Russell terrier named Maggie.
So, I will continue to take along Maggie for runs when I visit my parents, perhaps with a little more respect and gratitude. She'd better keep up, though. I won't be taking any "I was on my deathbed for six days" excuses.
She's still a dog, after all.