Rescue Dogs

Why is it that bungalows and pets seem to go together so well? Bungalow owners may be rugged individualists, but they do have certain traits in common, and one of those is a propensity for pets. In that spirit, inspired by the fauna at Jane Brackman and Rod Holcomb’s bungalow in Volume 1, Number 1, we have tried to sneak at least one photo of a cat or dog into every issue of American Bungalow.

Today’s kinder, gentler society has given rise to a wave of humanitarian interest in adopting abandoned or unwanted pets, and many of our bungalow friends have discovered the emotional rewards of bringing home a “rescue dog.” In this context, a rescue dog is not the kind that bounds through 10-foot snowdrifts to deliver life-restoring brandy, but the sort that needs to be rescued from possible destruction, even though the poor thing might have done nothing at all to warrant this unkind fate—except to show up. It soothes our human conscience to know that we have extended a life and given it purpose.

One family we know decided that it was time for a family pet and came home with just such a rescue dog, a three-year-old mixed shepherd/black and tan coonhound named Earl. All that was known of Earl’s past was that the previous owner boasted that the dog was smart enough to say his own name, and Earl wasted no time in demonstrating this, although the word came out slowly and with a distinct drawl befitting his hound heritage. Aside from that one remarkable quality Earl seemed rather slow, but he was gentle, good mannered and liked people. The kids took to him right away and he tolerated—or maybe he appreciated— their antics.

In spite of the best intentions of all parties involved in human/pet relationships, problems do occasionally pile up. Once at home in the family bungalow, Earl was initially confused by the subtle Arts & Crafts blending of the outdoors with earth-toned interior space and was sometimes unable to distinguish the difference. Now, experts deny that animals have emotions, but anybody who has owned one knows better. Earl’s obvious and lasting guilt about each mistake motivated him to quickly acquire a proper education about interior decoration. With it, his demeanor changed from pitiful to proud.

Over the ensuing years, Earl’s history with the family has been pleasantly uneventful. He has shown no propensity for doggie heroics, even if on two occasions he put his large frame between a stranger and one of the daughters. The real joy of having him around, say the owners, has been much more subtle. He’s a good listener: no matter how they ramble, he’s always interested in what they have to say. In family disputes he never takes sides, yet the tension goes out of the air the moment Earl ambles into the room. Aside from his name, he has little to say, but the look in his eye often makes them suspect he understands the universe better than they do.

So just who, exactly, has been rescued? Earl’s very presence exudes love and companionship and works like glue to bond relationships, holding the family together. If love is more beautiful the second time around, rescue animals have something special to offer. What started as an altruistic need to save another creature from destruction has brought this family unexpected rewards, blurring the distinction between redeemer and redeemed.

I suppose one might say the same thing about saving old houses.

Looking forward to hearing from you,





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