We call Charlie "the wonder dog" because we often wonder what he will be up to next. We never really know.
A West Highland white terrier (or Westie), Charlie will be 10-years-old this month and we don't know what we'd do without him. He is a member of the family. That's something every pet owner will understand.
He has lived in our house and neighborhood since he was a puppy. In his mind, it's "his" neighborhood. Any other dog is an intruder and, in some way or another, has to pass his smell test. But human beings — he loves them all. Even little kids, who pull his hair and/or pet him too hard.
All of our neighbors love Charlie and the feeling is mutual. He has no qualms about going into their homes and, once there, will go from one room to another to check out the premises. He is so casual about it that all the neighbors can do is laugh.
If you have never owned a dog or cat, this may seem like nonsense, but the love (there is no other word for it) that occurs over time is strong and the bond just gets stronger over the years.
We constantly marvel at how smart he is (he probably thinks the same about us) and his ability to communicate in one way or another is an amazement to us. As a result, we are always wondering "who's the boss?"
We had two beautiful Himalayan kittens when our son and daughter were young and they have been cat owners ever since. Both of those kittens lived to be almost 20 years old. The bond is strong.
That was brought home to me many years ago when I did public relations at Hess's Department Store in Allentown, Pa. We often had celebrities as guests in the store (actors, actresses and government officials), especially when they were signing books they had authored, but no one drew as many people to such an event as a local woman who wrote a book about her cat. Crowds of people came to buy her book — and in the process wanted to show pictures of their own pets. The bond is strong.
To all of you pet owners, none of this is new. There is no easy way to explain the love that occurs in the relationship between a pet and his/her owner, but it's there and it's wonderful.
(For more about Charlie, read "A Beautiful Friendship Comes To An End.")
Beau Weisman, Editor