I asked my facebook friends today to submit some ideas for me to blog about and after receiving several, from the same person (Isaac Cervantes) I decided that this idea was a good one for today. “How much joy animals bring to us and why?” Truly this is a simple answer but instead of just answering it in a few short word I want to tell you about My Cam, who has been the example of this to me. He is a 5 and a half year old pure breed Lab. He is around 90 lb. and believe himself, at times, to be a lap dog. He had a furious but short lived bark an active tail, that has knocked down coffee cups and love of all people that is unmatched. If you enter his universe, which would be his sight, smell or proximity, he loves you and is all about being your best friend. For me his is a travel buddy, a warm blanket, a child, a friend but never just my dog.

Cam came to me in a very strange way. My parents took a trip to missoula with some friends who where searching for a black lab puppy, they had looked all over kalispell and there where none to be found, so they decided to look in missoula. They had been all around Zoo town, to all the pet stores and Pounds and animal shelters and still they couldn’t find any labs. So on there way out of town they stopped back by Sportsman Wear-house. Mike my parents friend wanted to run in a buy some work boot he had looked at on there earlier trip by that morning and before he was gone a whole five minutes he returned carrying a puppy, Cash. He was the runt of the litter but so cute. Mike and Dottie agreed that he was the one they wanted and their search was complete. The two couple decided to grab lunch before they left town. Meanwhile, I was working away, straining siding for a house we where remodeling. The work need to be done by monday and Danae my cousin was helping me. about 2 in the afternoon I got a texted of from my mother of Mike holding his new puppy which I jokingly replied to with “I want one” It was a standing joke with me and my dad, whenever I saw a puppy or a dog anywhere I would ask my dad in my sweetest voice, “isn’t it cute” and he would alway reply “we don’t have the yard for a dog” truth was, we didn’t have the fence for a dog, we had plenty of yard. My mother responded to my text, “I tried but your dad just didn’t go for it.” Danae and I continued about our work and I began to consider how much work a dog would really be, and came to the conclusion that it was a lot of responsibility to have a dog and would be mildly restrictive to my life plans.

When Danae and I finished our work and returned to our house Mike, Dottie, my parents and Cash had just arrived as well, there was as you could imagine a great deal of petting and cooing over Cash. After I had gotten a sufficient amount of puppy love I started head upstairs to shower and get ready for my evening plans and my dad called to me and said, will you go help your mom with the stuff she bought, and I made an excuse, “Dad  I really need to go shower, I’m gonna be late.”  He insisted, with an almost gruff face, “Go help your mom.” I begrudgingly when out to Mike and Dotties car as mom shouted from the door, “My stuff is in the front seat.” I pulled the door open sharply to retrieve what I thought would probably be a single bag and her purse and curled up on the floor board was another black lab puppy asleep. I instinctively scooped him up and turned around toward the house, where my mom, dad, Mike and Dottie all stood with smiles and tears in there eyes. I had no words. I couldn’t guess at the shear number of times my dad had said no to me about getting a dog and now I was holding him in my arms.

For the next three years Cam, when to work with me everyday, slept either on my bed or in my room, he was with me all day long, on job sites, in the shop, in the truck, at the office, Everywhere. When I moved from my bed room to my brother old room across the hall he began to sleep outside my door, like a sentinel. When we moved from our house to an apartment again he slept in front of the door to the apartment, when we drove across country to Mississippi he spent most of the journey in the front seat of my truck, curled up in a 90 lb. ball. In the new house he slept in my room between me and my door. When I drove a uhaul across country again he was my co-pilot and lap blanket for my mom.

After being separated for almost a year, he still remembered me. He couldn’t get closed enough to me, for the first week he followed me around like a shadow, not letting me out of his sight. He would lay in front of the bathroom door when I took a shower, he would lay beside my chair at the dinner table, and would follow me to the front door and lay there until I got home again. He steal my socked and hides them in his crate, he jumps up on my bed when I get in bed, he moped when I leave and jumps around like he has won the lottery when I come in the house, even when I just went out to my car for something and came right back in.

So why do animals bring us such joy? Because they love us like we all wished to be loved, completely, passionately, unashamed, and unconditionally. That is the simple but true answer, the complicated and extended answer is they bring us joy with there sideways looks, their wet noses, their deep sad eyes, their silent presence, their surprise messes, their Houdini honoring escapes, How their butt wags with their tail, their favorite toys, etc., etc., etc.

Don’t forget to love them like they love you.

Until then…