A Boy and His Dog


This photo of my friend’s grandson, Thomas,  and his dog, Charlie,  started me thinking about the first dogs in my life and my friendships with them.  I think the photo captures the essence of a boy and his playmate and the deep friendship they have.

Our first dogs often leave deep and lasting impressions and shape all future relationships and encounters with dogs right up into adulthood. I was lucky to have two goofy but loyal Irish Setters as a child.  One was incorrigible and one was a saint.  It was about this time that I was so attached to a stuffed cat with beautiful white fur and a red stitched mouth that I carried it everywhere.  One rainy day in Philadelphia while I was stuck in the house, I had the brilliant thought, and strong conviction, that if I just cut through that stitching my kitten would talk to me. With my mother’s embroidery scissors in hand, I gently snipped away. To my horror and disbelief, the only thing that came from her mouth was her stuffing! Likewise, with Taffy and Redsy, our two Irish Setters, I remember clearly not being able to grasp why they didn’t talk to me. I’d look into their eyes and know that there was something really important they really wanted to say. It was maybe then that the dog lover and trainer in me was born.  I still try to understand what dogs are saying!

Who was the first dog in your life? How did he impact your childhood? Did he shape or influence your relationship with dogs later in life?

Dogs as Friends

It was hard to narrow it down, but I picked a few of my favorite quotes about dogs as friends. What are your favorite quotes?

  • “The dog of your boyhood teaches you a great deal about friendship, and love, and death” Willie Morris -  My Dog Skip
  • “So far in my life I’ve had only a few friends as satisfactory as Jacques – and half of those friends have been dogs. Daniel Pinkwater – A Walk With Jacques
  • “You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, “My God, you’re right! I never would have thought of that! Dave Barry
  • “Dog, n. A kind of additional subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world’s worship.” Ambrose Bierce  Devil’s Dictionary
  • “There are three faithful friends- an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.” Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard’s Almanac
  • “Thorns may hurt you, men desert you,

                  Sunlight turn to fog;

              But you’re never friendless ever,

                  If you have a dog.

                              -Douglas Malloch If You Have A Dog

  • And the Woman said, “His name is not Wild Dog any more, but First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always…” Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories
  • “The more I see of men, the more I admire dogs.” Madame Roland (1754-1793)
  • “No one appreciates the very genius of your conversation as a dog does.” Christopher Morley

Related Posts

The Joy Of Interspecies Friendship

Things I’ve Learned From My Dogs

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4 Responses to “A Boy and His Dog”

  1. Donna 04. Apr, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    We as children are not very aware of the impact dogs have in our lives. We get to play with them but generally their care, trips to the vets, yard clean-up and walking falls to the adults in the family. Sometimes its not till years later when we have children of our own, buy them a puppy, that all those wonderful feelings come flooding back.. Then we get to watch our own children romp in the yard with their dog and you’re so grateful that you could pass on this wonderful life experience.

  2. Michelle S 05. Apr, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Mark Twain once wrote, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

    And in Letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
    “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s. ”

    I think that sums it up.

  3. Elizabeth Deitz 06. Apr, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    So true Donna! It was probably the presence of those two Irish Setters in my childhood that started the ball rolling as far as my passion for dogs. As my daughter was growing, we had several dogs as I was involved in greyhound rescue. When she was old enough to understand and really commit to caring for a puppy, she wanted a bulldog.And now as an adult, she has volunteered with rescues and wants a bulldog now. Long story short I guess, that love of dogs can be passed down!

  4. Elizabeth Deitz 06. Apr, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I love those quotes!!

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