I thought everyone had already seen this photo but then I kept asking people about it and they hadn’t. Even my friends who have an arthritic cat hadn’t seen it. Even the cat himself hadn’t seen it.

The dog’s name is Shep. The owner’s name is John. You love him and his silver ponytail but not in an ironic way because this bond between animal and man is so powerful that it renders all your usual, cynical self-defenses useless. It’s like your heart was covered in plaque and this photo is the visit to the dentist that you’ve been avoiding for years mostly because it’s expensive and this country is ridiculous when it comes to taking care of it’s citizens but also a little bit because you’re scared of the drill.

Here’s a video with more of the story:

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Comments (27)
  1. That is Bob Saget right? Or am I just going crazy?

  2. NOOOo I made it through the Petting Zoo without crying so this like a sucker punch to the heart!

  3. I had a ponytail like that in 1995 when I was 17. My yearbook picture is a source of deep shame. Wise up, ponytail man.

  4. I am probably going to get a lot of downvotes for this but I have mixed feelings. I have a dog and he’s 12 and he is a golden and if he ever gets so arthritic that the pain can only be relieved by wading him in water…I don’t think I will keep him alive. That is not to say this is not adorable and sweet and I wish we cared about humans this much (hello healthcare America) but I’m not sure keeping a dog alive at 19 that is in this much pain is in anyone but the owner’s best interest.

    • 19 is pretty freaking old for a dog. You’ll get no downvotes from me. The longest I’ve had a dog live is 17 years, and she was an awesome dog, but that’s a pretty long life.

    • If the dog’s got energy and seems to be happy to be around despite the pain, then why put it down?

      • It’s impossible to know without seeing/knowing the dog. I would guess that if you have to submerge him in a lake to give him some good rest from the pain (at least that’s how I read it) then it may be time to let go.

        Dogs are also very stoic. They live and the moment and they want to see humans happy so they may appear happy but are truly suffering. That happened with my last dog – we didn’t even know she was sick until it was too late because they’re not like people and they can’t tell us how they feel and it’s not always easy to read.

        I kind of think this guy would not want to hurt anyone intentionally, but I do think that people can get a bit out of control with this stuff. My neighbor growing up catered to her cats so closely that they were all just skeletons on IVs at the end and I thought that it was very sad and unnecessary.

        • Well and retrievers and service dog breeds as a whole are raised/bred to be stoic. Thankfully I have spoiled my little lab-beagle mix to the point where he howls in pain or fakes a limp for 30 seconds so I will pick him up and attend to his needs, which usually involve wanting me to get a toy out of the cabinet or something else equally as bizarre. (Seriously, he makes me carry him if there is snow.)

          But yeah, it’s a weird line. My little guy is 10.5 and we had a scary incident the other month where he wouldn’t stop throwing up. I took him to the vet and had to prepare myself mentally for what I assumed would be the worst thing ever, but they told me sometimes dogs just throw up and he was fine and sent him home with a tennis ball.

          Arthritis is tough because the pups want to be pups but they can’t and it’s scary for them (and you). Glucosamine, dog stairs (so they don’t throw out their backs) and denial. That’s really the only way to handle it.

        • Honestly, you spend enough time with them and pay attention and you usually can read them pretty damn well, especially if they are smarter dogs. Any time something has been wrong with my goddog, we’ve figured it out together right quick.

          Did you see the dog in the video perk up the second they saw water? He’s still got things he loves to do, and that’s enough really.

    • Hey! I DO care about humans this much! Every summer, I take my grandma for a comforting river float to reconnect with nature and to help ease her hip pain.

      P.S. Remember, Meemaw: What happens on the Cahulawassee STAYS on the Cahulawassee.

  5. This is even better if you watch it with the sound off and Float On by Modest Mouse in the background

  6. I hope you are happy, Starlee. One of my subordinates saw me tearing up. Now I have to fire him, lest I lose the teams’ respect. His wife just had a baby. A Baby!

  7. Too sad, you guys. My dog is so awesome SO AWESOME and he has cheated death at least a couple of times and I just can’t think about not having him around!

  8. After I finished crying this reminded me how my goddog’s father and I have decided Merlin will never die, but slowly be replaced with cybernetic parts. We have already told their infant that the money will probably come out of his college fund. He didn’t have much to say about that.

  9. It is so dusty in here that I’m basically hyperventilating (it can be very hard to breathe in all this dust!!). But then my dog came over and gave me kisses, so I have that.

  10. I get into private dust sensitivity fits when I look at my 2 year old golden and realize in 11 years Obie probably won’t be around. Then he scares himself with his own wind-passing and my own laughter heals me.

  11. oh dear JESUS I HAVE TO GO HUG MY DOGS SO HARD RIGHT NOW

  12. It’s a good thing I’m so sweaty that if anyone comes into my work they will just think my eye balls are joining in on the action.

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