You often hear people commenting about how loyal their dog is or dogs in general. Sometimes I wonder are they transferring human characteristics on to dogs and are dogs really loyal or is it more to do with a pack environment. Then I hear various stories, which reinforce my belief that dogs really are steadfast and I wonder is there perhaps something we could learn from them?
We have all heard various stories over the years, for example Blackfriars Bobby springs to mind. The story as told by the keeper and gardener of the burial ground where John Gray, Bobby's owner was buried. "The Skye terrier Bobby was one of the most conspicuous of the mourners at John Gray's funeral. The grave was closed and the next morning he found the Skye terrier lying on the newly made mound of earth. Old James could not permit this, for there was an order at the gate stating that dogs were not admitted into the Kirkyard. Accordingly... Bobby was driven out. Next morning the same thing happened again, Bobby was lying on the grave. The third morning was wet and cold; James Brown took pity on the faithful animal and gave him some food." Now Bobby then went on to make Kirkyard his home even in the bad weather when attempts were made to get him indoors he refused. Life although wasn't all bad a weekly treat of steak was given to him by a Sergeant in the Royal Engineers and everyday at one o'clock Bobby would appear at the Coffee House for his dinner.
Another story that comes to mind however the one I like is set in Greek mythology, and it's the story of Odysseus (Ulysses).
After the Trojan War ended Odysseus sailed the seas for 20 years, trying to return to his Kingdom on the island of Ithaca. Finally the Odyssey ended and he was ashore. Now during this time and thinking he was dead there were a number of suitors for the hand of his wife and queen, Penelope. So Odysseus, who had changed a lot during his travels, decided to disguise himself as a beggar fooling everyone he met bar one. No, it wasn't his wife or his son but his dog Argus who by this stage was very old and dying. Argus now unable to stand greeted the return of his master with perked ears and a wag of his tail. With his Master home his own journey was now complete and Argus could die happy at last.
So what do I believe we can learn from these stories? Well people change, relationships fail, children grown up and move away, the world keeps constantly changing but your dog doesn't, it is loyal to his last breath. Imagine what a world would be like if people were as loyal as a dog, just possibly it might be a better place to live.