I’ve watched Sean Penn in “Dead Man Walking”, I’ve seen “The Green Mile” and witnessed first hand the reaction to Tom Robinson’s demise when teaching Harper Lee’s classic. Carlson shooting Candy’s dog though in “Of Mice and Men” made little emotional impact on me, until last weekend.

You see, like any major decision: buying a car, choosing a holiday, selling and purchasing a home, last weekend I ended months of googling and adopted a dog.

In the end, it was an easy decision, as I’m now firmly and terminally self-employed.

I was torn between two options: a puppy or a rescue dog.

I did the usual online research, the normal asking for advice from real and virtual friends, and, in the end, remembering the films and novels I’d watched, read and taught – I went for one that could have been on Death Row, at an animal rescue centre.

It just felt morally right and, one week in, I have few regrets.

Finally, the penny has dropped and I can see why friends of mine go doe-eyed over pets. There is something about them that gets you like that. I used to be puzzled watching a friend mourn with real grief when their cat, dog or horse died, but I totally get it now.

I can see the connections, the affinity between owner and pets, having only connected for under one week with my rescue border collie.

There is only one drawback as far as I can tell so far – that dog smell.

Just as you can tell a house where there’s a smoker, you can smell a house with dogs, and to be honest, I’ve found it distinctly unappealing.

I’m coming to terms with it though.

Because the advantages of being a dog owner, even dare I say a dog lover, outweighs that pong.

Cassie the border collie makes me incredibly happy. She is energetic, fun, loveable and quirky. She is obedient, clever and a bundle, of albeit smelly, joy.

Now I know I’ve laughed to scorn people who get hooked on animals. I’ve taken the piss out of people who treat them like close family, but I get it now.

A good dog, a smelly dog, gives you purpose – Cassie needs love, lots of exercise and food and attention every day.

No matter what the weather, what is happening in my head, in my career, with my life, she gives me an even more pointed focus on her needs.

This border collie, potentially Dead Dog Walking, is now free like me. She is doing what she is supposed to do – have fun, be walked (not round up sheep) within a great home environment.

Cassie is now as happy as me, self-employed, and doing what she was born to do: run free, just like me, who left educational Death Row.

To twist that old marketing warning:

A dog gives you life, and they’re better than Christmas.

I’ll let you know too how we get on when the dust has settled.


This article was originally posted on LinkedIn – feel free to connect with me on there.