When I was a kid, I would get annoyed at what felt to me like a proliferation of stories on print and screen about boys and their dogs, but none about girls. I still do. I've always wondered where there are distaff equivalents of TV shows like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, not to mention books like Jim Kjeergaard's Red series, Eric Knight's Lassie Come-Home, or even Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh series.
Because, make no mistake about it, the bond between girls and their dogs are as powerful as those between those dogs and their brothers. I was crazy about the dogs I grew up with. As an adult, that adoration hasn't diminished. When I went off to college, I worried most not about homesickness, whether I'd get good grades or whether I'd make friends (especially the male kind). I worried most about whether our Dachshund, Casey, would remember me when I came home for Thanksgiving. And on many levels, I missed him more than I missed the human members of my family.
Apparently, I've passed that dog craziness to my daughter. Julie and Allie have always been great friends, but the intensity of that bond has grown exponentially since Julie started college three years ago. Julie's heading back to school for her senior year on Sunday--and she's said more than once how she'll miss Allie most of all.
I don't take offense at that. Unlike me, Allie can't respond to Julie's text messages or emails, and she certainly won't be coming with me when I got to visit Julie in Chicago next month. As close as Julie and I are, the mother-daughter relationship still carries a weight of history that is blessedly absent between a girl and her dog. With Allie, everything can be simple. I get that. It was the same for me--and, in fact, still is.
(Pictured above: Julie and Allie)