My wife likes to tease me that I would be happier on a deserted island or deep in the woods in a cave since then I wouldn’t have to deal with annoying people. I ponder the question in mock seriousness for a brief minute or two and then ask if I get to bring our dog Nittany, a six-year-old Bichon Frise – Shih Tzu mix.
If I get to take Nittany, then I would sign up for the deserted island, preferably on a cool Caribbean island, in a heartbeat. There’s no question that I like Nittany better than some people. And I suspect it’s that way for other pet owners too. Here’s why.
1.) Loyalty matters. I pull up to the driveway after a long day at work. I’m barely out of the car and Nittany has raced from wherever she is in the house to our front door pawing at it, trying to get out to come greet me. My youngest on his way to the basement to play X-box will let out a weak wave, “hey dad, you’re home, good to see you.” His brother, who texted me nonstop the past hour, making sure that I’ll be able to drop him off at his friend’s house on Saturday, will be lost somewhere in the house. He won’t even bother to get up. My wife will have just gotten home herself and will be busy getting out of her work clothes. Nittany, though, will be at my side. She’ll have a smile a-mile-wide and will jump up-and down, like she just won a year’s supply of Petco dog treats.
2.) Remember me too. Nittany is not happy until we’re all together. I’m a selfie person, not of me, but our family. I love family selfies. We’ll all get together to take a shot and inevitably Nittany will mope because she’s not in the picture. My youngest son will have to pick her up and get her in the shot too. I thought it was just him feeling sorry for her, until I saw it for myself. She was literally upset that she wasn’t part of the love.
3.) The sixth member of the family. Nittany considers herself a family member. My wife or I will yell for the kids to come to dinner. She comes too. She thinks it’s her dinner too.
4.) I will protect you. I came down with a virus recently and couldn’t sleep. I got up in the middle of the night to sleep on our sofa. I didn’t want to wake my wife with my coughing and figured I had a better chance of falling asleep on the couch. Nittany woke my wife because she was worried about me, that I hadn’t returned to our bed.
5.) The perfect companion. My wife teases me that I’m a hermit because people have a way of getting under my skin. They complain too much, they’re too negative, they’re too talkative. Funny I’ve never had that problem with Nittany. She fits right-in.
And for all of you who I know in real life (outside of my wife), sorry . . . but if ever given the choice to take someone with me to a deserted island, I’m choosing my dog.