view counter

What We See in Our Dogs

And what our cats see in us

What could she see in him?    
    I’ve often wondered that about my friends’ husbands. Even more often, about their dogs.
    Husbands are more ambiguous. Dogs are absolute.
    Love me, love my dog, my grandmother taught me, was the rule of friendship with a dog fancier — which my grandmother was not. Not, love me, love my husband.
    Other people’s husbands may be more attractive than your own; often must be, as they’re so often switched. But nobody’s dog is more beautiful, suitable or satisfying than your own. Rarely do people divorce their dogs. When they do, in come the rescuers — about whom you’ll read in this week’s paper. Apparently, we do better at choosing our dogs than our husbands. Or perhaps our dogs are better company than our husbands.
    My husband and recent dogs — Labrador retrievers Max and Moe, short for my family name, Massimo — are nearly perfect: Especially the dogs, as their slight imperfections died with them.
    (My success in choosing partners has not come without trial and error. What I saw in Slip Mahoney — a dog you can meet at www.bayweekly.com/node/18404 — nobody outside my household understood. If Slip hadn’t bitten them, he’d chewed up their shoes or through their screen door. Then there was my early husband. Now I claim those errors as proof of the wisdom I’ve gained through experience.)
    Still, my friends’ significant others — dog and human — often call to mind another piece of my grandmother’s advice: There’s no accounting for taste, she told me. That’s what the lady said when she kissed the cow.
    What you see in your husband is a question one dare not ask. (Or do I? How about for our next Valentine’s Day issue?)
    About what you see in your dog — you, me and everybody else waxes eloquent. You’ll read those testimonials in this week’s annual Pet Tales, our Dog Days of August special issue.
    Readers joined contributors in sharing their stories — and pictures — of animal companionship. The stories are wonderful; they bring tears to my eyes and laughter to my heart and lips. For, as Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle reminds us, mirth is among the gifts we get from our dogs.
    About our cats, the tales are different. Cats are superior beings; just ask them. The question with them isn’t what people see in their cats. It’s what their cats see in them.
    Read on to learn what we see in our dogs and cats. You’ll find stories of love between species exemplified in intuitions of mood and will; shared spaces; improvisations comic, sad or dramatic; gleeful welcomes; improbable alliances; and partnerships that help us be ourselves and go beyond ourselves.
    You’ll also find insight into caring for your animal companions from Bay Weekly’s nine Sponsoring Pet Partners for this issue. I’ve learned, and I expect you will too, something of the scope of veterinary and boarding options and how our pets’ wellbeing depends on the food we buy.
    I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I have.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com