by Richard Biby, Contributing Editor, Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog," or,
"that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance
traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog." Some of my
proudest moments have come about with "just a dog." Many hours have passed
and my only company was "just a dog" but I did not once feel slighted. Some
of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog" and in those
days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and
reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog" then you will probably understand
phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "Just a
dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure
unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make
me a better person. Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long
walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's
not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the
future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. "Just
a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself
and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the
thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a man." So the
next time you hear the phrase "just a dog" just smile, because they "just
don't understand."

from Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine, February 2006