I refuse to watch a movie or read a book in which a dog is the lead character. I’ve been burned too many times by the trailer of a cute puppy that is either saved by a human family or performs heroic acts to lead a child, couple, or whatever from the dangers of the world.

They all end the same. The dog dies, and I bawl.

For whatever reason, these were some of the first stories that we were introduced to in our grade school years. One year, Mrs. Dunn (now Mrs. Wolff) spent a good share of a semester reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” to us. Every day she would cover a new chapter, as we sat riveted to the story. The boy and his dogs took turns saving each other time and time again. Until the end, when both dogs perish. I was devastated.

The very next year, we were assigned to read “Old Yeller”. I guess when you’re 12, you are too naïve to see what’s coming, as you grow to love this rescued dog and the story of him and his boy owner. But there I was again, sobbing as Old Yeller has to get put down, shocked that there couldn’t have been a happier ending.

Sometimes the animals survive, but the story is just as sad. In 1981, I had to deal with the fact that Tod and Copper had to grow up and couldn’t be friends in “The Fox and the Hound”.

As an owner of a Jack Russell Terrier at the time, I shouldn’t have watched “My Dog Skip.”  That one pulled at my heart strings for weeks!

I guess the hard part is that we already know that our beloved pets are going to have a short life span. When you condense their story into a book or a movie, the brevity of their existence is magnified.

Maybe I’m just numb to the mortality of humans in movies because their deaths are so common and numerous, because that doesn’t affect me like the misfortune of an animal on the big screen. Or is it just possible that I like dogs more than people??

So, if you’re at my house and the wife and kids are watching “Marley and Me” or “A Dog’s Purpose” in the living room, you can find me in the garage watching “Die Hard” – with my dogs.


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