They say a dog is a (wo)man’s best friend

 For the love of…

They say a dog is a (wo)man’s best friend

Growing up we always had pet dogs, well my brother did. I wasn’t a huge dog fan (shame on me!) as the malting, stinky breath and overly enthusiastic jumping kind of did my head in. Don’t get me wrong the dogs were so adored by the rest of the family but I never really got the term, a dog is a (wo)man’s best friend.

Fast forward fifteen years and Oh My Dog (is it meant to be God or Dog?) I’m now that crazy dog lady that I never thought I’d be with a daughter – I mean French Bulldog – named Penelope! I rarely leave the house without her and if I do she mostly gets baby sat by a family member, holidays are even planned around her. Ridiculous, I know.

My name was on the dog list for eighteen months before getting to take home this crazy, fun loving girl that is Penelope. Within an instance, she became the centre of attention in our household and leads a much better lifestyle than the rest of us. She is over pampered and attends the dog parlour once a month for a blow wave. I don’t even get that; I’d be happy just to wash my hair once a month these days #mumlyfe.

Recently, on a Sat afternoon I found myself at the vet with Penelope because she had conjunctivitis in her eyes. No biggy just required some ointment as it had been lingering for a few days. A last minute appointment meant that we squeezed in just before closing time. That suited us as it meant we would avoid too much of a wait, because everyone wants to knock off work on closing time, right?

We arrived about fifteen minutes early for the appointment and sat in the waiting room. Penelope sniffed her way around the room wondering where all these dogs might be that she could obviously smell. As I watched out the window, I saw a four wheel drive pull up and as the doors opened; I could sense a sombre feeling gush out.

At a longer glance, I noticed a mum and dad, their teenage son and child daughter all wiping their red eyes. All those tears could only represent one thing – sad news. The dad lifted a big bulldog from the back seat of the car and stood him on the ground. The little girl lead the dog, which could barely walk into the vet and the rest of her family followed with few words spoken.

As the family sat opposite me, we began to engage in conversation about their dog and they told me he had cancer, which had spread so rapidly he needed to be put down. Today. There it was that big massive lump that enters your throat when you are trying not to burst into tears.

As they spoke, I listened to each one of them say their piece about the dog and the role it played in their family, obviously treasured by each of them. The little girl was so proud as she asked her dog to do tricks – on command he shook her hand and licked her cheek but was less able to do other tricks like jump and hop because of his achy body.

It was evident the girl grasped what was about to happen much less than the other family members. As I sat there chatting with them and enjoying their pet stories, I over heard them talk about which box they wanted to put his cremated ashes in. Yelp! The lump in my throat was becoming harder and harder to swallow as I sensed the heartache of this family. I can’t imagine what I would be like if I went through this with Penelope.

As the girl grabbed my attention again through my teary eyes, she eagerly wanted to show me her dog tricks again. The vet entered the room and called out for Penelope and this was our cue to move on. It was a hard moment to say bye to this family that had just shared their whole heart with me.

As I began to walk off with Penelope towards the vet room, the little girl grabbed my hand and innocently said as she pointed at her dog “he is our best friend”. Before I could take another step she looked up at me pointing at Penelope and said, “Is she your best friend?”


I never realised how much Penelope was my best friend until this very moment. Is your dog your best friend?

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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