ImageThere are two kinds of people in this world: those who love dogs, and those who don't.

Those of us who love dogs pamper our pooches. We buy them Christmas stockings filled with toys and treats, put their pictures in special frames, include them in family outings, and often surrender part of our beds to them. Those who don't share our affection for the canine breeds shake their heads, and walk away. In their eyes, we dog lovers are nuts. They just don't get it.

Our home is currently blessed with a three pound Chihuahua, who elicits a variety of critiques, some favorable, others not so. My brother-in-law told me, "I've seen rats bigger than her." When the little kids next door first saw her from a distance, they screamed that I had a "giant mouse" on my property. Usually, people comment on how small, or how cute, our dog is. In our eyes, she is the perfect pup. She may bark unceasingly when strangers call, and drop the occasional "present" in the hallway, but she's a member of our family. We love her. We are definitely among the pet lovers of the world.

So it was with sadness, but understanding, that I read today's tragic news report about the Plainsboro, New Jersey grandmother who drowned in an attempt to save her grandson's German Shepherd. It seems they were enjoying their daily stroll when the dog ventured out upon the frozen Plainsboro Pond. The grandmother stepped onto the ice to save him. The ice cracked, the women fell in, and drowned, despite the heroic rescue attempts of a passerby. The dog "unlovers" of the world are really shaking their heads at this one, but the rest of us completely understand. We get it. The woman was trying to save a member of her family, a creature she dearly loved, and one that, no doubt, loved her back.

No matter what animal "unlovers" say, pets enrich our lives. There's no stress reducer better than a cat, or a dog. The "unlovers" can shake their heads in protest while the rest of us willingly, and lovingly, put up with the pet hair, the expense, the "accidents," and the barking in exchange for unconditional love.

Why would someone hang a doggy ornament on the Christmas tree each year? Why would someone frame a pet's portrait? In these tough economic times, why would a person incur the added expense of the vet or the groomer? And why would a sixty-one year old grandmother step onto the ice of Plainsboro Pond in an attempt to save the family pet?

For the love of a dog. That's why. For the joyous, wondrous love of a dog.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...