My wife told me something the other day that made me oddly happy. It seems my brindle English Bulldog — Belleau Wood "Bella" for short — tends to mope all day until I get home.
Now I'm generally greeted by a 50lb doggy torpedo when I get in of an evening, who jumps on me, dances around, gets in front of me and then jumps on the arm of the couch to give me 20 minutes (not kidding) of slobbery kisses and cuddles on the couch until she's satisfied I'm actually home and not leaving again.
Bulldogs are known for being a bit ... stubborn ... and Bella is no exception, so getting her to obey is a struggle. She mostly won't for my wife, and will — after a delay long enough to let me know she's choosing to behave — do what I want her to. Ish.
We had a few months before purchased a Great Dane pup for our grandson and are now in the process of starting a kennel because we fell in love with the breed.
However, I have struggled with depression all my life and medications — for various reasons — simply aren't a good option for me. So my wife decided I needed a dog of my own, but we already had a Dane and, at the time, were not thinking about breeding. I initially wanted a bassett, because I loved their voices, and we knew we wanted another low-energy breed.
Well we were in Wichita for my former reporter Michael Stavola's wedding and had gone out a day early to get a well-earned couple days to ourselves without kids and were talking about dogs.
Just for the heck of it we stopped in a pet store (yes, yes I know, we know better now) and while they had no bassets, I saw this adorable pup with a squashed face and brindle coat.
Now, up to this point, I didn't really like bulldogs, but there was something about this one that spoke to me, so we asked to see her.
Well, she was set on the floor in front of us, looked up at my wife and then looked at me and then scampered over and pawed my leg.
I picked her up, sat her in my lap and started to stroke her back. She let out a huff and promptly went to sleep.
I was lost, and she went back to the hotel with us that night.
She's been a blessing to us really, no matter how bad the day I had, Bella's greeting and sudden happiness is enough to relax me and let me feel at home.
Despite gas bad enough to have, on a couple of occasions, caused us to change a baby's butt, the slobbers, stubbornness and snoring, she's wonderful to have around. Dogs just are love. They don't judge, they don't accuse, they don't expect anything from you. They just love you, because you're you.
I don't deserve the love Bella gives me — none of us are really worthy of the adoration of our dogs — but I do strive to be the man she thinks I am.
All of us could do worse than to be the person our dog thinks we are.
All IMHO, of course.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.