Updated: Mar 30
I think it's fair to say that for my six-year-old son, Ben, there is nothing on Earth better than a "surprise". Whether it's a packet of suspiciously sticky, old-looking sweets from the shop up the road, or yet another cheap pirate sword from the Crazy Store that Ouma was conned into buying, my boy loves getting gifts. Then, in June last year, a confluence of events brought the biggest gift into his and my family's life: Jackson, our boisterous but gentle and sweet-natured now 10-month-old German short-haired pointer.
This was my first foray into being a dog mom. Luckily, I had help from my sister, a seasoned veteran in all matters K9. Jeanne had brought their fiery Ridgeback, Penny Lane, home as a companion for their now senior (but with no less zest for life) rescue, Diesel, one month before we got Jackson.
After hard lockdown ended, our families could gather once more, and I watched the relationships between children, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents grow. And in the middle of that, at the heart, were Penny, Jackson, and Diesel. Because we love to watch their antics. Because they make us laugh. That was the gift they gave our family as a whole: they strengthened our bond through our mutual love for them.
And that is what dogs do for us: they give us their gifts. Diesel’s gift to Jeanne has always been true companionship and unconditional love. Penny’s love has healed heartbreak and is a daddy’s new girl. And Jackson has done something that I never thought was possible: he has made me enjoy exercise. Long walks on the beach, through the neighbourhood, in the mountain… bring it on.
So, we must repay our best friends in kind. We must give as good as we get. We must give them back the gift of life. And that gift is good nutrition. We can’t expect an engine to run efficiently if we put bad stuff in it every day. It simply won’t work. It doesn’t work with humans and it won’t work with animals either.
I made the switch with Jackson when Jeanne and I started this endeavour, and at the risk of sounding like a dog food sales rep, the results speak for themselves. As I keep saying to my sister: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
Thank you for reading.
The Slobber Team