Thursday, May 18, 2017

Downward Dog got to me

My family was a dog family.  Throughout my first 19 years a four-legged canine was part of our family unit.  Brownie (three guesses as to how we came up with the name "Brownie") was with us the longest.  She was my Mom's dog and after my Dad passed away, Brownie was the best companion and friend that my Mom had.  Me, I liked any dog that would play fetch.  And Brownie, in her younger days, was like Brooks Robinson, the famous third baseman of the Baltimore Orioles - never missed a ball.

When I married my dear, sweet wife, I married into a cat family.  And I really dug cats.  So much different than all the dogs I'd known.  The biggest thing was that you really had to work hard to earn a cat's affection.  Dog were easy.  Some cats acted like they cared less whether you loved on them or not.  So, throughout our married life we've always had at least one cat around the house.

Not that we were devoid of canine affection.  My oldest daughter loved a dog that was given to us. Duppy the Puppy had a Lab body and with short legs.  A bit odd looking but lovable as the day was long.  Later, we acquired a second dog, Sunny, an Australian shepherd, that exclusively belonged to Steph.  And when Steph went to Law School, Sunny went with her.

Afterward, we were without a dog for a while.  But then our youngest, Katie, rescued a dog and gave him the name, Howie.  Howie came to our house every Sunday with Katie and Josh.  On Superbowl Sunday, when the Arizona Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Steelers, I taught Howie how to sit up and shake hands.  This was my way of dealing with the tension of the game.  Howie ate at least a dozen dog biscuits that day.  By the end of the game my stomach was upset over the Cardinals loss to Pittsburgh.  Howie had an upset stomach too - too many biscuits.

Three years ago, Katie and her family moved to Wisconsin.  Howie went with them.  I usually see Howie once a year and the first thing he does is lead me to where the dog biscuits are kept.  I walk him every day and he takes naps with me - I'm on one pillow and he's on the other.  I miss him terribly.

I found Downward Dog very clever.  Martin, who seems like a very lovable and loyal dog to me, talks to the viewer throughout the program.  He shares his thought processes about his life, his master and about the evil cat that sits outside on the porch.  Martin explains his love for his master, how he feels when he is left for hours at home while she works, and his reasons for destroying a pair of shoes.  Who knows if dogs think the way Martin expresses himself? I think what this communicates by the creators of the program is this - our pets are more than just "pets." They show unconditional love.  They crave our attention.  Their loyalty is off the charts.

At the end of the program, Nan, Martin's owner (played by Allison Tolman), makes a presentation where she wonders what our world would be like if we loved each other the way Martin loves her. I believe that the love of Jesus is the model and motivation for reaching out and loving one another. But Martin comes in a close second.

Check out Downward Dog.  It takes the place of Modern Family on Wednesday's on ABC. Even if you're a cat person, Martin might just steal your heart.