I love that having a dog means meeting new people, getting to know people, sharing a little of our stories... person-to-person connection growing through a dog.
When you have an unusual and very fluffy dog - particularly one that loves meeting people and calls them over with a massive grin - people want to come over and say hello to him and give him a stroke.
There's a few things that people say in this situation - one, in particular, I really love. They say, "Aw! Isn't he fluffy!" ... "It's Lassie!" (this one is inevitable, but some youngsters don't actually know Lassie these days!) ... "I bet he takes a lot of brushing!"
My favourite, though, is, said with a huge smile, "You don't see many of these anymore," usually followed by, "My mum/my auntie/my grandma used to have one of these when I was little."
I really love this, as with a smile and a little encouragement, you get to hear what they loved best about their faithful friend.
And the power of the dog is that this isn't just a memory but a whole emotion. As people speak about their remembered pets and furry friends, their faces soften, their voices slow and mellow, and a smile transforms their faces.
I remember particularly the day I met several lovely people sat outside a large city supermarket, waiting with my rough collie Noah for my husband to get some supplies for our holiday.
I met some very interesting people, including a charming gentleman who told me of 65 years of living with greyhounds, bearded collies, lurchers, horses, donkeys! He recalled travelling 100 miles by horse and wagon over a week to Appleby-in-Westmoreland horse fair - and a pair of 40-year-old donkeys called Noah and Moses from his childhood, prompting him to consider getting a pair of donkeys for his grandson.
Little connections, stories told, forgotten... but now remembered.
My favourite, though, was a gentleman who, stopping to greet our dog, told us about when he was a child and the elderly neighbour's rough collie, Duncan, who he used to take out for a walk to help out his neighbour.
He told us about getting to know Duncan and enjoying walking with him every day, building up a friendship.
He made a big smiley fuss of Noah, which Noah loved! He spoke with him and accidentally called him Duncan!
For this lovely man, he was taken right back to these warm, comforting, childhood memories. He felt again the happiness, the connection between himself and his doggie friend. And that was triggered by that meeting with our dog!
Something that's so priceless and precious.
These are the moments of connection that I love. Dog ownership at its best!
If you'd like to celebrate why your dog is precious to you, I can create a special custom pet portrait for you to have always...