Is your dog like you?

Jake, Max, and Quito in the front yard one spring day.

Max is the last of the trilogy. He’s 13 and a half and that’s pretty old for a Lab-mix. As we were walking on his morning walk today I realized how much I appreciate all he’s done for me.

Another road trip with Jake, Max, & Quito

At one time I had 3 dogs, and they were all special in their own way. They say dogs are like their owners and vise versa. As Max and I were rambling around the golf course edges, I had a revelation. I had 3 dogs, and each represented part of me.

Quito, the first, was a black lab. He came to me as the last of  a litter, via United Airlines out of Chicago. He loved attention, and give lots of licks and attention back. The most devoted, loyal, and fun-loving of the bunch.

Quito in the snow at Flagstaff

On the trails he would run ahead, but always come back to check on me, and make sure I was coming along. I taught him to be fearless, to dive off cliffs into swimming holes, and to swim underwater.

airborne, near Winslow, AZ

He was a Frisbee dog, and we competed locally in the national competition. His bark sounded ferocious when someone knocked on the door, but he just licked them when they came in.

Jake, the philosopher

Jake, the yellow lab.  Saved from the pound, because he put his paws up on the pen when Sula and I walked by. His eyes said “save me”, so we did. 2 years younger than Quito, he was eventually accepted, and became Quito’s understudy.

Jake in the Superstition Wilderness

But he was different. Not a ball-chaser. “The spiritual one” we called him. Usually quiet, and thoughtful. sometimes Jake would stop and stare off into ….nothing. Staring under a tree, or in a corner of the house. He could see the things we couldn’t see. He was a protector, and wary of other dogs until he got to know them. He wasn’t afraid to attack, and ask questions later, but he was the sensitive one, afraid of thunderstorms hiding in a dark bathroom shaking, while Quito snored away. When Quito died, Jake was there, and watched the soul leave his old friend.

Max "just being" with the koi

Max, the chocolate and the independent. He was found abandoned in a box with his brother, who was adopted by another friend. The other dogs were bigger than him, but taught him what they knew. So he would swim, but not dive in. He would fetch a ball, but not always bring it back. He wants his ears rubbed, or to lay beside you, but he’ll never lick you or show affection. But, like Jake, he want to be on the bed with you during the thunder. And I have had many sleepless nights putting up with his quivering and pacing, and whining.

Thanksgiving Day - 2010

Max is the only one left. He’s had more medical problems that the other two combined, but has outlived them both. He’s still independent, but wants attention and isn’t afraid to let me know when it’s time to get off the computer and give him some quality time, or a walk, or a treat.  Not a vegetarian, he’ll barking incessantly until he gets his after-dinner favorite: chicken jerky.

Max thanks for being here today, Thanksgiving, Day, and for teaching me something about myself.

What has your pet taught you?

About Dr. Greg Meyer

I'm a homeopathic physician, an urgent care physician, camper, hiker, traveler, and photographer. After Microbiology & Epidemiology, I studied medicine and more recently have become fascinated on how homeopathy can actually cure disease, or better said-how it allows the body to actually heal itself. I'm available for consultations in classical homeopathy. Check my website for more information.
This entry was posted in Dogs, homeopathy, relationships, the human story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Is your dog like you?

  1. Sula Meyer says:

    I teared up your reading your blog today. Quito, Jake and Max gave and give me so much joy! And I thank you for introducing me to the wonderful experince of loving a pet. Quito taught me so much! He was my baby. The one I read stories at night. The difference I saw in his life and mine through the loved we gave to each other, shaped my life and made me the dog person that I am today. Cheers to out four-legged friends!

  2. Amy Lansky says:

    Great Greg! I am very thankful for my dog too — Shadow — a border collie ? rescue who will be 15 years old next week. She is my 2nd dog and you are right — every dog is totally unique. Shadow is an outdoor girl who has no sense of territory and loves everyone. She rarely barks and although she is loving, she is not a snuggler. 2 minutes of petting and she’s had enough. She likes to be nearby but she’d rather be outside on her own in nature. A kind of loving nature spirit dog. And a very picky eater! No junk food for her — only the best. Her face used to be totally black, now it is mostly white, leaving her looking kind of like a husky. Everyone comments on how beautiful she is now, thinking she is some rare kind of wolf or husky, not realizing she is simply a very old lady. At 15, she still has a spring in her step, especially when the weather is cold — her favorite.

  3. Katja Schütt says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful story, Dr.Greg !! Your articles are all very interesting, but this one made my day !! I was just writing a story about one of my dogs when I came to read this article… It is soo beautiful and full of soul and heart !! I went straight to my beloved, 13 year old Goldy and gave him an extra portion of affection.. and realized again that animals and vet homeopathy are my true passion.. Hat’s off also for your work in Haiti, your help there is much needed and appreciated !!

  4. driftwood reid says:

    Good stuff. Now go watch Hachi: A dogs tale with Richard Gere and let me know what ya think. As I write this im sitting on my bed with Kutacowdog sitting right nex to me. I bought Hachi DVDs for many people this coming Xmas and eager to see if they get the same response I got.

  5. Tiffany N. Thomas says:

    What a great article and fantastic pictures. I used to be a dog owner until I lost all three in one year. (talk about depression) They too each told a story of who I was in their own little way. This Frisbee loving, easy going, laid back Border Collie (Sisco) was the easiest most obedient dog I have ever had. While his counterpart was my protector, a Queensland Heeler (Rowdy) was a little on the rambunctious side. Always standing his ground for what he believed in and protecting me, the one that was always there for him, and he knew it. That was a win win situation, but it all changed one day when I came home from work. I opened my gate that led me down the driveway to my home, both dogs ran down the long driveway and out into the busy 5 o’clock traffic. I called for them to come back but all I could see was their hind ends running away. I closed my eyes, said a little prayer but before I was done I could hear the screech of tires and blowing of horns. I had that low heavy feeling in my heart and knew without a doubt that I would be running to the vet’s tonight. As I ran to the street I saw something truly amazing happen between two beloved friends. My Boarder Collie lie in the street while Rowdy the Queensland is standing over him, not protecting me this time but protecting his friend. He nudged him, licked him then turned with anger and started bitting at the tires of the cars going by. I have never in all my life experienced such an almost humanly thing happen. It broke my heart to see Sisco laying there with his tongue turning purple grasping for air, but I also knew that I had to get Rowdy to safety or I would have two dogs to bury. It was a fight to get Rowdy away, he even bit me in the process but I knew he didn’t mean it. When I returned I sat next to Sisco looking at him take those last breaths as his spirit left him, replaying the events leading up to this, thinking about the things that I could have done differently and how different things were going to be now without him. He passed and I am glad he was not alone whether he knew I was there or not I know he wasn’t alone. Rowdy had become a very bitter dog after that. He chased a kitten one day and tore it to shreds. He killed the neighbors chickens so I could no longer let him out of the yard. A few months later I moved out to Maricopa with a friend. Wide open spaces, horses, cattle, I thought this would be great, til I saw chickens down the street. I got a puppy from a neighbor to replace Sisco and Rowdy loved him. I kept them inside that weekend til I had to go to work the following Monday. My plan was to chain Rowdy in the back yard where he could get under a trailer for shade. I left early and would return early in the afternoon so I thought he would be okay. Well. . . when I got home my roommate was in the back yard already looking down at something that was next to a big tree stump at the end of the yard. When I walked up I saw a dead duck, then I saw my Rowdy lying next to him dead with a mouth full of feathers. He had wrapped his chain around the tree stump twice and couldn’t figure out how to get back around it. That year was the hottest that we had seen in Phoenix in a long time. Temperatures had reached 120 during the afternoon hours. Rowdy had killed the duck, chocked on feathers and cooked in the sun. I was mortified and blamed myself for years.
    But it wasn’t over yet, I still had the puppy. We drew close and each day it was harder to leave for work. He was an outdoor dog and we had no fence. For a few days he would run just to the edge of the fence then go back to the house. About a week later he was not going to give up and ran after my truck all the way down the street. Apparently the car behind me didn’t see him and I had no clue he was still following. When I got home that night I had a note on my door. She was telling me how sorry she was for my loss. How little did she know that he wasn’t my only loss in that short amount of time.
    That was 20 years ago and to this day I still don’t own a dog. Not that I don’t want to, I am just not sure if I can endure the loss of a close pet like a beloved canine. I do have a cat that I rescued, she was mean, bit and hissed when we got her but with love and lots of good treats she has become a loving adorable cat, although she is our pet I still don’t feel myself loving her like I did my dogs. That will never be replaced.
    I hope for you Greg, that you think about getting another dog soon while you still have Max, for I truly believe that it softens the blow. Good luck.
    I feel like I wrote a book. Sorry

  6. Ben Hasan says:

    Wonderful blog Greg. Amazing writing and photography.
    Monty lived to 15 1/2. We now have 1/2 black lab Rayna from Wright-Way Animal shelter in Niles. She’s
    So are Lexi, Liza, and Evan. They keep us busy. Vicki herself delivers 120 babies per year.

    I’ll be in Beijing with USA Triathlon in September.


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