Our Four Legged Friends

There exist stories of the infamous black dog who mercilessly drags spirits like mine through the muckiest of muds and the murkiest of puddles. Impartial jowls dripping and dragging along with them. Pulling those poor souls away from themselves. Souls who believed they never stood a chance to begin with. 

Yet there comes a moment in everyone’s life when one must decide how to manage that beast. The wilderness within teeming to be tamed. Chaos flickering from the corners of those wild and beautiful eyes. To tame or not to?

Such a haunting inquiry. The ghost of the infamous black dog lurking about, enshrouded with doubt, fear, and hate. Why not trade that ghost in for the real thing? A real black dog. A four legged pal who can see so deep into you with a reminder that you are so loved. That black dog for me, is my best pal Lola. That sweet little angel of mine who has gotten me through these unrelenting times of the vid. 

She has gotten me thinking about the origin story of these four legged creatures many American families feel compelled to bring into their worlds. Gross stuff and all. What is it about dogs that makes us feel so good? Without uttering a single word they capture our hearts and souls.

According to Britannica, these four legged beauties have been captivating our hearts for more than 12,000 years. Wearing many hats: hunter, protector, nuisant and friend. Having evolved from a common ancestor with the gray wolf, it is no surprise that just behind that chocolate colored gaze that adores also lies something inexplicable. A deep knowing. When locked into the loving gaze that is the human protector and four legged companion, one can see in a single flash before the eyes, every evolutionary phase our friends have lived through over millions of years. From its most basic ancestor Miacis, a small weasel-like mammal that existed 60 million years ago to the much larger, cunning mammals of the Caninae that emerged about 34 millions years ago. The Caninae genus that gave rise to the eventual domesticated dolls that now inhabit our hearts and homes.

We are beholden to our four legged companions in such an unbreakable fashion because they impart us with a deep wisdom that is evolution, life itself, which at its core is the only real thing. There is no hiding from that benevolent gaze. So it’s no wonder we cannot help to love and be mesmerized by that furry, unconditional, wildling of a being that wags its tail into a frenzy that symbolizes a deep love that is always available to us. 

That real, tangible ball of jittery energy bouncing about my apartment is a much better companion than the dark black dog that tries to take territory of a soul from time to time. The only territorial behavior I could ever allow is hers. 


  1. CONTRIBUTOR: Constance B. Vanacore TITLE: Dog PUBLISHER: Encyclopædia Britannica DATE PUBLISHED November 05, 2020 URL: https://www.britannica.com/animal/dog ACCESS DATE: January 02, 2021
  2. CONTRIBUTORS: Tedford, Richard H.; Wang, Xiaoming, 1957-; Taylor, Beryl E. TITLE: Phylogenetic systematics of the North American fossil Caninae (Carnivora, Canidae). (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 325) PUBLISHER: American Museum of Natural History Research Library DATE ISSUED: 2009 URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2246/5999 ACCESS DATE: January 2, 2021

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