As a Beagle parent, the words and drawings of Charles M. Schulz hold a particularly special place in my heart. The creator of perhaps the world’s most famous Beagle, Snoopy (please do not tell my own beagle, Dave), once said, “All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For, after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog”. These words will resonate with all dog lovers I am sure. Our dogs are inherently good; good company, good entertainment and most importantly, good friends.
When times are tough, we turn to our friends and family for help; whether it be for practical assistance, words of wisdom or delivering food, wine, and tissues. Whilst Dave is (unfortunately) unable to help with any of the aforementioned options, I have learned firsthand that the support we receive from our fur friends can be unrivaled, in its own unique way.
Following the breakup of a long-term relationship, and without truly realizing it at the time, I turned to, and increasingly relied upon, my best friend Dave (everyone has a friend called Dave, right?)
First and foremost, he provided a reason to get up in the morning. This might sound dramatic but following the breakup, the temptation to retreat was strong! As much as I wanted to stay at home in bed watching Bridget Jones, eating family-sized pizzas washed down with a vat of red wine, I just couldn’t… because a certain fur-kid wouldn’t let me. The familiar nudge of a wet nose, the paw pulling back the bed covers and eventually that familiar beagle howl would all haul me back into the real world and out into the fresh air for a morning walk.
Morning walks would inevitably (and somewhat reluctantly) lead to bumping into other dog owners, which in turn would lead to a conversation – can you imagine the horror? The fear of breaking down in front of a near stranger while picking up dog poo was enough to turn me into a recluse. However, Dave is a persuasive chap and as it turns out, those morning walks and casual chats led to new friendships, both human and canine.
As independent as Dave is, little things like getting his own food ready can be tricky without the use of opposable thumbs. It turns out that he still required me to function sufficiently to maintain his dietary needs. In turn, having a routine during this new period of singledom and the responsibility of caring for another being forced me to maintain some sense of normal life despite that constant urge to wrap myself up in bed linen, eat junk food, and watch trash TV.
Notwithstanding his best efforts, there were days where the appeal of the couch won, and you know what? That was totally fine. Dave is a massive fan of chick flicks, so he would be more than happy to sit with me and indulge my self-pity at times. These moments of empathy would include a strategically placed head on my lap, a paw on my hand, and not to mention the hound dog gaze that makes it look like he is just as sad (as well as a little bit judgemental because I haven’t had a shower in 2 days).
These daily tricks that he employed to get me out of the breakup funk were overwhelmingly successful. Although we are currently working on his ability to open a bottle of wine and order takeaway online.
It is widely believed that dogs can read our emotions and body language. I truly believe this. Dave was a different dog before this happened. Normally aloof and only remotely affectionate if it benefited him, he displayed a side that felt truly in tune with my emotional place at the time.
Needless to say, as I emerged from my post-breakup sulk, Dave returned to the independent, stubborn and scent obsessed dog of old times. That’s not to say I don’t still have my moments, and I can guarantee he is there at those times with a knowing tilt of the head or a foot warming service. I am not sure if there is any kind of comfort that can match that provided by our dogs. After all, we are only human.
Share a time when your pup was there for you in the comments below.
I’m Sophie, Dave the Beagle’s human. Together we make a pretty good team, sharing a love of Netflix, BBQ Chicken, and sleep! I am originally from the UK but have lived in Australia for almost 15 years.