The article “Service dogs help senile Aussies live at home” in the June 7 edition made me ponder the relationship between dogs and senior owners.
Since I myself love dogs, I know several dog-loving neighbors. They love taking their dogs for a walk every morning and evening. It is so nice for me to see both the owners and their dogs enjoy walking together.
Of course, usually the owners are walking their dogs, but sometimes I witness a situation where the dog seems to be taking the aged owner for the walk. The dog stops every few minutes and looks back at its owner’s health condition for a second, then starts walking again. The owner knows his own poor physical condition but still wants to go for a walk with his dog as usual. His dog understands and tries to answer the request. The dog walks very slowly in front of the owner, fully understanding his master’s very difficult situation.
Some elderly dog-loving neighbors walk alone, and when I ask them why, they reply, “I do not want to stop walking because my dead dog still requests me to walk every morning and evening as usual. I am not alone!” They maintain the friendship and companionship even after their beloved dog has passed away.
From this physical and psychological behavior, I may be allowed to conclude that the essential nature of the souls of dogs is compassion, and that its miraculous power can make elderly people feel alive both physically and mentally.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.