It is thought that dogs and humans have been a team for perhaps as long as 100,000 years. Perhaps dogs not only accompanied Man across the Bering Straight and down into the New World, but made it possible for us to migrate through dangerous territory. If it’s true that dogs and humans have largely grown up together, learning language and migrating around the globe, is it strange that we can be so attached to one another?
Dogs have complied with our requests no matter how insensible, inexplicable, or just plain stupid the jobs have been. We’ve asked them to do everything from hunt for us to be content to be adornments in gaudy handbags. Dogs naturally inclined to work herding cattle or sheep are companions to construction workers and to blind people.
I know one dog who helped me navigate my own terrifying and unknown territory of divorce. Learning to live without a partner who I loved, still love, with every cell in my body seemed impossible most days. If she only served to be a reason to get up in the morning and feed, water, and walk, it would have been enough. But she put up with me uprooting our lives, and did what I needed her to do, more or less, for 12 years. I don’t even mind that she ate a library book once.