I read an article on Buzzfeed.com entitled “10 Heroic Dogs that will leave you in Awe”  http://bit.ly/1emuFSc And as the subtitle says: These incredImageible dogs will shock you with their selflessness. Their stories will truly amaze you.

Over the years I’ve read about a lot of dogs who either wake the family at night to warn of fires, bark at burglars, and even warn their owner about pending earthquakes.

Well, I too have a story of a dog who saved a life. Or at least extended it quite a bit. 

This is a story about a little spotted dog (a Dalmatian) who was adopted at 8 1/2 weeks old. It was the cutest little thing, and it was so small and helpless when it started it new life in the city. It had no idea what it was doing or what was expected of it.

It learned quickly, and the dog and owner bonded almost instantly. The puppy seamed to be insightful even though it always wanted to romp and play. It loved to go outside and run in the yard but it was never to far away from it’s owner. If the owner walked out of the play area or toward the house, the pup would drop what it was doing and run toward him to make sure he didn’t loose sight of him.

Before long, the pup was getting restless and the back yard wasn’t giving this little guy enough physical or mental exercise. It was time to go for walks in the neighborhood.

After a week or two of leash training it was time to go exploring. The little guy was more than ready to go and with a extra high energy level he would prove to be a handful on occasion. The first few blocks were always a bit of a challenge. All of the new smells were overwelming and the excitement was more than the pup could take.

But that wasn’t the biggest problem!

ImageThe biggest problem was that the owner was a 2 1/2 pack a day smoker. By the time the two had covered about a 1/2 mile the owner was “hands on knees” gasping for air and had to stop frequently to catch some breath. Most of the time they stopped and sat on the curb and the pup would crawl up in the owners lap and lick the owners face as to say: “are you alright”… or … “what’s your problem, we just got started here”.

It was evident very shortly that something had to change. One of two things had to go! It was the cigarettes or the dog!

Well, the dog was cute, the dog was cuddly and dog was a great addition to the family. It also barked and kept strangers away. It also only cost about $1.00 a day to keep and at that time the cigarettes were about $4.00 a day. The clincher was that the dog was better for the long term health. 

The dog’s name was Chip … and I was his owner! His love of the outdoors and his love of “the walk” led me to stop smoking and I have now been smoke free for 21 years. Chip has been gone since 2007 but he was my four-footed little brother for 15 1/2 years. He kept me going and helped me with a lot of things in my life. I will always be indebted to him for that!