Why shouldn't my first video blog via Videoegg be about my dog? Doesn't that make this like most other decadent, narcissistic American web sites or blogs with not much of importance or interest to say to the world?
OK, let me try here to glean some larger meaning from this exercise.
"The more I know people, the more I like my dog." I was never one of those dog nuts who preferred canines to humans. I grew up with Boxers, but went decades without the desire for one.
But when my seven-year-old son started routinely carrying stuffed animals to school, a dog-loving neighbor observed the "pitiful" sight and pronounced that he needed a real dog. For months, we visited animal shelters searching for the right choice, the best fit. On the Internet, my wife found a dog-fostering group connected to a high-kill animal control facility in West Virginia. Shortly before Christmas of 2004, one of the sweet volunteers brought four dogs to our home for us to choose from. I looked into the scared and empathetic eyes of a six-month-old pup with a furrowed brow, spotted tongue, and curled tail -- a curious breed, perhaps part Chow, part German Shephard, part Norwegian Elk Hound, Keeshound, or Sharpee. Who knew exactly what breed he was? There were no documents on his heritage. (I've subsequently learned through Internet research that he may be part of a small, unique breed called Shiloh Shephard.)
He took immediately to my wife, but seemed afraid of me and other men, suggesting that he had been beaten, yelled at or abused in some way by a man.
We decided to give him a try. That was just before Christmas of 2004. Within a week, we had fallen in like, if not love.
There were moments of doubt. My wife was appalled when he chased a cat and snatched it in his mouth. She screamed. "He's such an ANIMAL," she cried in horror. Disappointed that she wasn't thrilled by his catch, he dropped and let it go and it ran off. Master's approval is very important to him.
A few months ago, he had a grand mal seizure. All I could see was a dog in pain, so I tried to comfort him. Big mistake. His eyes glazed over. Not knowing who I was or who he himself was, he bit my hand, and wouldn't let go, for what seemed like a minute. Panicked, we thought he might be rabid, and called animal control. Within 15 minutes, he was back to his normal, sweet self. Daily doses of phenobarbital seem to pretty well eliminate the seizures.
A year later, Shiloh -- my son named him after a dog in a series of books he was reading -- is an integral part of our family. He has learned to trust me and other men. He's a real community-builder -- the obligatory walks around the neighborhood almost guarantee that we strike up conversations with people who live close by. As demonstrated by Because of Winn Dixie (the book and movie), a dog makes connections between people happen. My wife and son are crazy about Shiloh, to the point of ordering him dinner at a restaurant when we're traveling. While that strikes me as decadent, we'll have to work out our differences. We're committed to staying together for the sake of the dog. He reminds us on a daily basis that we're all part of the same pack.
The world would be a better place, a more balanced, mentally healthy place, if more people and families cared for dogs.
Perhaps there should be a network of dog video blogs, demonstrating the joys of dog ownership.