One of the key events in human history and civilization was the domestication of animals. A number of species have evolved to cohabitate with humans. Chickens, cats, pigs, cattle, horses, camels, elephants and even some fish possess a trait in which they rely on humans and in return humans can rely on them.
Some are called Beasts of Burden. Typically these are thought of as the pack mules, oxen, and elephants that handle the heavy loads and allowed humans to change their habitat. The manipulation of fauna for human use dates back long before Christ to the very beginning of our ability to create civilizations.
Wolves were likely the first to be domesticated. No wonder, dogs are considered man’s best friend.
We use dogs in a variety of ways. Growing up, I mostly thought dogs were primarily used for hunting. My grandfather had several bird dogs. We had several breeds of hunting dogs through my early years.
They may have been more companion than hunting dog, but the hunting trait was why we had them. We had Labrador retrievers, red Irish setters, and golden retrievers. At one time we had one dog that was less a hunting dog and more of a guard dog with Ranger, our German shepherd.
Ranger was a great guard dog too. Once, I am guessing I was around three or four years old at the time, I had wandered to the other side of the pond from our house. Underneath a pine, amongst the straw and cones, was a perfectly disguised copperhead. The scene that inhabits my mind now is an overhead view with a small boy screaming without a sound coming out of his mouth. I was frightened to that stage.
From the house, Ranger took off like a cheetah after a gazelle, sensing my danger. He jumped between me and the serpent and shoved my out of the way with his body. The poor snake didn’t stand a chance.
There is a special connection between a human and dog. One that only the thousands of years of friendship can explain. Though there are the numbers of species in which we have taught to work for us and with us, the dog is the only one in which both species have gracefully created a bond of more than just a Beast of Burden.
Dogs are our companions through both of our existences. They provide their abilities for things such as hunting, retrieving, and tracking. They also provide a source for rescue, leading the blind, sensing disease, smelling for illegal substances, and protection. We depend on them in countless ways. In return we offer a caring home, easy food, and the same love for them as they offer us.
I write this with a heavy heart with the loss of a companion, friend, and family. Our Siberian husky, Kodi, provided these things to my kids, my wife and I for the last 14 years. She was a beautiful creature and while she has been a part of my wife and my life for a decade and half, we were with her for all of her life.
She was perfect for our kids as they grew up, tolerating tail pulls, bareback riding, and of course hugs and kisses without so much as a growl. And we all loved her for it.
She will be remembered throughout our lives and immortalized in everything from Christmas photos over the years to vivid memories etched into our minds.
And over time, our other three rescues and time will help ease our hearts’ pain, as our love for these animals has been established for thousands of years.