I descend the steps to the living room and spot my dog curled contentedly in my favorite place on the ivory sofa.  Luckily, the color of much of his fur matches the sofa’s fabric and it deceptively hides from view until I decide to sit on the sofa wearing black pants. The TV remote is under his head and the channels are flipping furiously.  If he hadn’t been asleep, I would have sworn he was surfing for Animal Planet.  My dog barely lifts his head to acknowledge my presence – long enough for me to grab the remote – and then drifts back to sleep.  I sit on the floor below him in my best subservient pose and kiss his velvety nose.

“You are one lucky dog,” I tell him, but he’s not listening because I didn’t use any of his key words like “walk,”  “dinner” or “goodie.”  I proceed to explain to him why he’s so lucky:

“Do you know that lots of dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture?  And many dogs aren’t even allowed in the house?  They’re either chained up outside or are left to fend for themselves.”

 I continue to talk but he’s still not paying attention:

“It makes me so sad that many dogs don’t have mommies or daddies and they live on cold concrete floors in shelters, waiting for a new mommy or daddy.”  He hears the word “mommy” and gives me a sleepy, sloppy kiss.  Maybe I’m getting through to him so I persevere once more:

“You know you really are a lucky dog.  You could be stuck in a cage at a puppy mill and never let out.  Or you could be in a laboratory at a research center. Or you could live in a dark basement, awaiting your turn in the dog fighting ring.”

By this time, I’m crying with the thought of the way our loyal friends are treated.  I get up off the floor and cram myself next to him in the very small space remaining on the sofa.  I gently pick up his head and place it in my lap, stroking that sweet graying face.

“I’m so happy that I rescued you, my boy.  Maybe one day, all dogs will be loved as much as you are.”