Pres. Harry Truman, having a bad day, reportedly said, "Want a friend in Washington? Get a dog." That's not bad advice, even if you don't live in Washington.

I was looking through some old files and came across something I wrote way back in 2003:


It's always heartwarming to see how loyal and caring a good dog can be. I am the main feeder, walker and disciplinarian for Hayduke, our yellow lab/golden retriever cross, so to him I'm THE MAN.
Last summer my family was backpacking in the High Uintas, en route to King's Peak, the highest point in Utah. Hayduke absolutely loves these wilderness treks. He thinks he's gone to heaven. And while on the trail he loves to range a bit out ahead of everyone, staying close, but checking out every stump, mud puddle, rock and tree along the way.

On the hike in to base camp, I walked mostly with the slowpokes, while the college kids moved faster.  It drove poor Hayduke crazy. He wanted so much to be out ahead with the faster hikers but didn't want to leave me behind.

He would stay with the fast-moving group, cavorting ahead of them, then would run back on the trail just to the point I was in sight, where he'd sit on his haunches and wait for me to catch up.  Then he'd whine and try to get me to move faster, and after a few minutes he'd set off at a run to catch up to the faster group. This little ritual was repeated over and over.

As the older kids got much further ahead, Hayduke finally gave up and stayed with my group, but not without some obvious dejection and frequent disgusted glances in my direction.

My dog's loyal even when he's mad at me. Wish all humans were like him.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .

Hayduke is long gone, of course. He got old, for a dog, and had multiple illnesses. It was a very sad day when he couldn't move, couldn't hold his head up, and the vet said it was time to put him down.

Today, we have three dogs at the ranch. They help guard livestock and herd cows. Each has a fun and different personality. And no matter what sort of day you're having, however overwhelmed you're feeling, the dogs help keep life simple and in proper perspective, expecting nothing but a nice belly scratch.