I won't bore you with the animals I have had in the past, they have been numerous, but I do want to talk about one in particular. I had a dog named 'Magic'. She was an oversized sheltie, sable in colour, and she was a gentle and loving dog. She didn't particularly like kids but her innate herding sense always made her want to keep them in line so nipping at their asses was occasionally called for. Human parents don't appreciate that sort of behaviour in a dog.
Magic was an extremely intelligent dog and after about 6 months of living with me, she realized that I was an okay human with which to hang out. She would walk with no leash, never wandered and was not a squirrel-chaser. I trusted her and she listened to me. I learned all of the commands she knew and with a little coaching from a friend who trained dogs better than I knew how, I learned to think a bit like a dog so I could give Magic better directions.
After a few years together Magic and I became best friends. Even on days when I wasn't feeling up for a long walk, she waited patiently, never peed in the house, and was always a faithful companion. My little Lassie-girl. It was a love affair and I miss her to this day.
I have thought many times that I could never love another dog again. And then an 80 pound husky mix came into my life. He loves me more than I deserve. He tucks his chin against my chest when he's worried about me. He puts his paw in my lap to alert me when he needs to go out, or be fed, or when his water bowl is empty, or to apologize for chasing the cats. He's very smart. He's not my dog, he belongs to my partner, but he loves me and protects me just the same.
If I could just remember how to think more like a dog, I would be able to love him as much as he loves me. I'm working on that. I already know how to think like a cat and a fish. They are companions too. But honestly, I think that dogs think more like humans than we realize. And once I figure that out, I'll be able love a dog again.