Friendship is good for you. Just ask the dogs

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Friendship can be good for you.

This (I suppose rather obvious) thought crossed my mind a few days ago when I watched Jam, our rather large, 14-year-old in-it-for-the-long-haul dog, playing around on the floor with Pepper, our three-month-old economy-sized puppy who seems to be having trouble learning the meaning of the word ‘tired’.

Jam has outlived two other dogs, both of whom he was very attached to, and both of whom died in rather painful ways that I have discussed in earlier posts and are still somewhat difficult to discuss all this time later. Smitty, who adopted us and grew to be a rather large and lovable but aggressive Akita, had to be put down more than a decade ago. Pepper the First died not quite a year ago, and he was a small one just like his namesake, who is running wild around the house even as we speak.

The point of all this being that it wasn’t long after Pepper died that Jam couldn’t sleep downstairs anymore because he couldn’t stand being alone without Pepper. Thing is, I still remember when, years ago before we had Smitty, that Jam had no problem sleeping downstairs by himself. But once he got used to having a brother around, he never could quite get used to being alone again. Which is why I let him come upstairs and sleep in the bedroom with me. He even has his own pillow on the floor.

And as I watch him struggle to keep up with the latest edition, I can’t help but notice how much happier he seems to be. Tired, no doubt about it, but still happier. Tired in a good way. Even as Pepper wears him out and encourages Jam to chase him all around the house, which isn’t an easy task for a 14-year-old dog with arthritis in both hips, his enjoyment of the activity is evident. He barks, pounces as best he can, and affectionately indulges Pepper as mini-mutt uses his sizable frame for hiking and exploration purposes for lengthy periods of time.

I’m well aware that larger dogs don’t tend to stick around much longer past the age that Jam is now, so I’m enjoying ll the moments I can while I can. And taking pictures and videos. Because these are some of the best.

Not just for me but, more importantly, for him. Friendship is good for you.

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kaoblues
Writer and musician.

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