By Scott Shephard
This studio selfie was taken 14 years ago on the day that our wonderful springer spaniel Polly was put to sleep. She looks heathy in this photo, doesn't she? But bladder cancer had recurred and because we loved her, we knew what we had to do.
Is she looking adoringly at me? Maybe. But she's also looking for more dog treats, which I was using to get her to pose with me. I had run out and this was the last photo I ever took of her.
When I look at this photo, I still get a little sad. But I also think of the expression
"We should try to be the kind of person our dog thinks we are."
I do think Polly adored me but she adored everyone, except, perhaps, for the UPS Man, due to no fault of his own.
They say that dogs can sense human emotions, including fear and happiness. Some dogs can even sense an impending epileptic seizure, low blood sugar or even cancer in their owners. As I look at this photo, I wonder if dogs can't also sense goodness in people, even when the people aren't aware of it themselves?
I continue to try to be the kind of person Polly thought I was. But it's not always easy. This photo reminds me not just of a good friend who has passed away but also of the fact that I need to keep trying to live up to her high expectations.