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For some reason I don’t know – and don’t have the energy or inclination or desire to look up – someone has assigned today as International Dog Day. In honour of this day, I wanted to pay tribute to the dogs that have squirmed their way into my home and my heart.

Motley: A Kid’s Best Friend

I don’t have a childhood memory at home without Motley. She was just always there, having predated my arrival by at least a year. I’ve been told that she took her job as my protector very seriously, calmly guarding my nursery room door from an unsuspecting babysitter who tried to go in there to get my diaper bag. As I grew older, and we moved to the home I remember growing up in, Motley was a constant. She had no problem letting kids ride her, was terrible at tag, and didn’t see anything wrong with eating the peanut butter sandwich that 5-year-old me carried outside right at her nose level. She seems so large in my memory, because in relation to me, she was a big dog. But in fact, it was her heart that was huge, not so much her frame.

Pebbles: “Who, Me?”

Not long after Motley crossed the Rainbow Bridge, my Mom and I brought home two puppies. bandit bonded strongly with my Mom, and Pebbles… she did her own thing. Pebbles was a bundle of energy, had no listening skills to speak of, and seemed to be getting in to everything! If you called Pebbles, she would ignore you so intensely that you wondered if she had a hearing problem. But if you called Bandit, Pebbles would come running to you, stretch out a paw, and grace you with her attention.

Pebbles wasn’t well suited to our home. After nearly two years, we found a new home for her on an acreage, where all she had to do was keep her new canine brother company. She could run all she wanted, swim in the pond, and play with the kids who just loved her. And when her new brother was called in, Pebbles would come running, stretching out a paw, knowing that she came when she was called.

\Jenny: The life Changer

Jenny is a dog unlike any other, both in my heart and to many who meet her. She works and plays, listens and disobeys, in equal measure and with equal enthusiasm. She’s taught me how to be a good guide dog handler – because I made so many mistakes with her in the beginning. I wouldn’t be a runner without her. She’s been able to pivot from a city-commuting, packed-social-calendar guide dog to a homebody overnight. She’s taught me how to trust another being with my life, because she shows me every day that she’ll keep me safe. She loves completely and exuberantly, has hilarious ways of showing that she’s right about stuff, and is constantly learning and thinking and growing.

I’ve said it before, but I want to be like Jenny when I grow up. If I can have half of her good qualities – and look as good at her human age (65+) as she does – I’ll be thrilled!

How about you?

I’d love to hear about the dogs that have impacted your life. pet dogs? Service dogs? Office dogs? Tell me about them in the comments below!