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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

By Sherri Collins

Editor, Pet Product News International

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In keeping with the spirit of the season, the idealist in me hopes for peace on earth and goodwill toward all. My more pragmatic side would be delighted with a 50-percent reduction in hostility worldwide and no ill will toward anyone. “That’s wonderful,” you say, “but what do you really want?” My answer might surprise you (and shock my cats): I want a dog. Oh, I’ve toyed with owning one for a long time, but my recent field trip to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, Calif., reminded me in multiple ways just how much I’d love to have a canine companion—or two.

After a leisurely walk through the entire Meet the Breeds displays, I spent most of my time watching the agility competitions. The breed displays reignited my fascination with particular dogs (in no particular order, Irish Wolfhounds, Jack Russells, Basset Hounds and Borzoi) and added a few new ones to the previous list (Leonbergers, Briards and Belgian Tervurens). A stroll past the St. Bernard display brought back fond memories of Gunther Plescher, a short-haired 140 pounder who thought he was a lap dog and who spent time with my family when I was a teenager.

The agility trials reinforced the sheer amount of fun and joy a dog can bring into someone’s life. I know I’m doing a fair amount of anthropomorphizing here, but every single dog I watched compete that Sunday seemed to enjoy itself to the fullest; the phrase “bounding with delight” repeatedly came to mind. If happy tailwagging were a competitive event, then these dogs would be serious contenders. It was obvious that I wasn’t the only one affected by their enthusiasm, as nearly every spectator there heartily cheered on the dogs (and their handlers) as they ran their courses and the applause given at the end of each run—completed without or with mistakes—was loud and long.

Despite my fascination with purebreds, given the right circumstances that would enable me to keep one, I know I’d end up with a rescue dog—or two. True, I could opt to adopt an Irish Wolfhound or a Jack Russell from a rescue organization, but those adorable mutts at my local shelter need forever homes, too. Hmmm, maybe I could do both….

Unfortunately, as it now stands, while my heart is wide-open for a dog, my apartment is not, nor are my cats (also all rescues). All three flee at even the most-distant approach of a dog, which means they get plenty of exercise since they’re surrounded by dogs—Newfies to the left, a Samoyed and a Shih-Tzu mix to the right, a Beagle to the front and a Min Pin and German Shepard to the rear. If I had a secure yard (I share it with two other dwellings), I’d seriously consider getting a dog and figure out a way to deal with my cats’ perpetual displeasure—a lifetime’s supply of cat-pee remover would help. Maybe I should have first asked for my own backyard.

Here’s to a joy-filled holiday and a successful New Year. May all your wishes come true.

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