Sadie the German Shepherd is in with me tonight. She is asleep on a blanket, under the table. Normally she would be in her kennel. She does after all, have her work to do. Namely protecting my property and livestock.
My workshop is vulnerable to thieves, being just an open fronted shed. Sadie has, at least twice to my certain knowledge, deterred these skulking purloiners.
On one occasion, she had one of these scumbags pinned against the wall screaming for help. It was a wonderful thing to observe this creep,- whose obvious intent had been to steal the tools I rely on to make my frugal living - receive his comeuppance in this way.
I escorted this frightened man from the premises. He had two cohorts waiting outside in a van. Perhaps I should have called the police, but Sadie had actually bitten the intruder, and blood was pouring from a wound in his arm. I was worried that Sadie might be accused of being a dangerous dog. That man won't be back in a hurry!
Suppose I had come across this thief on my own, without Sadie to help me? He would have called his mates, and I might have been attacked. Of course I could have dealt with three big blokes on my own, no problem. But it is great to have Sadie as back up in these situations.
So, you might be wondering, why is Sadie indoors with me tonight? The simple answer is, guilt. My guilt at forgetting to feed her at the right time this evening. I was so busy painting, that I forgot her. Her dinner was served four hours late. She had probably been waiting at the wagon door for most of that time, but in the end she had given up and taken to her kennel. Guilt! Guilt! Guilt!
Eventually, she had extra rations tonight. But I felt so ashamed to have forgotten my loyal friend, that I let her come in, out of the rain, and sit by the fire with me. She won't stay indoors all night. She will soon want to go back outside. She gets extremely restless if she has to stay indoors for too long.
As I turn from my computer and look at her, sleeping peacefully on the blanket, I ask myself, how is it possible to feel so much affection for a dog? An affection that causes so much guilt to rise inside me. Indeed, is affection a strong enough word for my feelings towards her? The answer is, no, it is not. this emotion I feel is without a doubt, love.
It is a love engendered by her devotion to me. A devotion she feels so strongly, that she will literally, put her own life on the line to protect me from harm. She will be there to comfort me, when I am sad. She will share my joy, when I am happy. She will happily come with me wherever I go. She will be my constant and faithful companion. She deserves my love, and my respect.
That is why.. Guilt! Guilt! Guilt! Assails me tonight. All she requires of me, in return for her devotion, is care, and I let her down.
Extra food, and a blanket on the floor! I hope that is enough to make amends. It doesn't seem like a lot!