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October 8, 2012 at 7:38 AM

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Reader stories: What your dog meant to your life

Thumbnail image for Tia photo crop.jpg

Thank you so much to all the readers who shared stories about what your dog has meant to your life.

I asked readers to share their stories last Monday when I blogged about my dog dying. All of your stories gave me comfort and drove home the fact that Seattle really is one city, under dog, as I wrote in my column Thursday. Here are some of the edited highlights from your stories:

“Your coming-of-age revelation hit home with me, as I truly believe my dogs have given my life new meaning. I'm in my 40s, and long ago had children, but I wasn't ready at the time, and adulthood was slow to come for me. Mistakes and setbacks colored my life until I finally found the woman I would marry, and then shortly after that; Nala, Bianca and Penelope. They've transformed how I view and live my life. Once a night owl who hated mornings, I rise with the sun every day now. I have to, because they need me. But what they give back to us is immeasurable. The love, the companionship, the laughs... shape each and every day. I think about them all day when I'm working, and can't wait to get home to them at night. My wife and I plan our time off together around what's best for them, and they repay us with gratitude and joy.” — Dan Viens, Kent

Dan, we knew we were goners when we were brushing their teeth and cleaning out their infected ears without complaining.

“Our beloved Jack Russell terrier Molly passed away last March, but we all still expect to see her running to the door to greet us. She was more than our pet or even a family member. She was the creature who filled the house with a consistent and boundless joy every day, rain or shine. She taught our son, growing up, about the healing and hopeful love that a great companion can bring. She taught us all about greeting and treating everyone with warmth and enthusiasm.” — Margaret Larson, Bellevue

Yes! Is this the Margaret Larson from KING5?

“Our dog has been the center of our world for over a decade. As I sit here replying to your story, I wait for my wife to come home so Mia can take her last ride to the vet.” — David Mitchell, Vancouver, B.C.

This makes me weepy.

“Zoe is still in my life. I dread the day she dies. My pound puppy, who is now almost nine years old is much more enlightened than I was. Over the years she has taught me to live in the moment, to live passionately, to run like the wind, to wake each morning with optimism, to love with abundance, and to forgive always.” — Pam Udall, Austin, Texas

You'll love this comic from The Oatmeal, a Seattle cartoonist, about the dog paradox. Scroll down to the part where the owner accidentally kicks the dog. I bet your dogs are the same, and mine were, for the most part. The exception: Tia held a grudge against my dad for six years because he grabbed her paw and wouldn’t let go. I respected her for it.

“Yes. I'm a single guy with 3 kids. Three of the canine variety. zero that share my DNA. Hiccup, the oldest, is a 12-year-old beagle I got from a breeder. She has good genes. Charley does not. His 9-year-old face is prematurely gray from his constant stress and fear of the world. He's sort of damaged. But I love him — the way you love your goth, constantly upset emo teenager. The third addition to my little family is Simba, an Ewok lookalike except with white fur who came into my life recently.

I've thought many times that maybe I'm the male equivalent of the ‘cat lady.’ I post pics of them almost daily on facebook. I thought everyone did that. Upon closer inspection I realize that is NOT the case and that some have gotten tired of my endless doggy posts.

When I was married my ex and I loved our kids to no end. When she left she felt it best to cut ties with all of us. Hiccup and Charley were all I had. Pathetic as this sounds but I would sit on the couch and cry. I can't help but humanize Hiccup's actions and say that she knew how much pain I was in but she'd never stop cuddling with me or licking my face. Maybe she just wanted to taste my salty tears but I still believe she was trying to do whatever she could to wipe my tears away. — Cameron Wong, Seattle

I think we need to friend each other on Facebook.

“We currently have 2 beautiful wrinkleheads in our house. Your Tia had the sweetest face and reminds me of my Isabelle. Our first dog was a Kuvasz, a big white guard dog of Hungarian decent. We got him for much the same reason you brought Tai and Tia into your life, we wanted a companion and guard dog for our Son.

Titus brought a sense of security and family to us when we moved into our old house in a less than friendly neighborhood. He was a big brother to our only child, a steadfast guardian of our house and property and a goofy, playful kid to anyone we welcomed into the house.

He died while in the care of a kennel while we were away on vacation eight years ago. Emergency surgery could not save him. We came home to an empty house and empty hearts. Not being able to be with him in his last moments is one of my life's biggest regrets. — Shawn Dillon, Monroe

I am sure Titus forgave you for all sins, accidental and intentional when he was alive. I believe he would have done the same in death. (Again, check out this Oatmeal comic on doggy forgiveness.) But I share your feeling of guilt for leaving them with dogsitters. My dogs sometimes got sick when my husband and I went out of town. The week before Tai died, we were out of town for a work conference. I don’t know what the solution is, but it gives me pause about adopting another dog.

“Hannah is a beautiful 13-year-old Golden Retriever. She is a best friend, a comedian, a true believer in the religion of comfort (St. Sofa is her patron saint). Her unconditional love has helped me through the darkest times and helped celebrate the best. But maybe the most important lesson she has taught me and one that I will carry with me through the rest of my life is that kindness is a universal act that will always bring out the best in everyone, no matter the situation.” — Lee Glasgow, Marysville


Photo of Tia: Sharon Pian Chan / The Seattle Times

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