Dear George Capsis,
My neighborhood a few nights ago reminded me of being in a pre-election period, a time when candidates fill the streets with signs displaying their photos, their name, their party affiliation, and the date of the elections.
But these signs were different from election paraphernalia. They were carefully, lovingly made. Tall, they were resting on three metal legs, covered by plastic, under which there was a crisp, beautiful photo of a dog with the words: “Dog lost, Reward,” followed by a telephone number.
How much time and money the dog owner must have spent on these signs and how much more would he give to see his dog once again, I thought with complete sympathy.
I like animals too, but I do not think of myself as a passionate, self-absorbed animal-lover.
When I grew up on the island of Lemnos I had a dog. It was black and white, proud, and of course, skinny. He was not a hound because I was not a hunter.
He went wild with joy to see me when I returned home from school. But I too loved him. Nevertheless he never crossed the stairs to enter our house. He recognized and obeyed the rules of our friendship. And I took care that he was always fed. Even when I gave him only bread, he did not disdain it. In fact, he liked it.
When we came to New York, I looked at the supermarket shelves filled with pet food and I could not believe in my eyes.
Later I read in an economics textbook that Americans spend about $26 billion on pet food annually. (Now this amount has reached $ 70 billion!!!)
It made a negative impression on me.
Here there are hungry souls, millions of people, and they spend so many billions on dogs! It took years for me to figure out that I was wrong.
I was not right, because a dog or a cat in a home today, especially when someone enjoys some financial comfort, is not a luxury. It’s not a waste of money. It is a warm presence, full of love and devotion, a loyal friend who offers his love unconditionally.
I know this firsthand.
When our children brought home a cute puppy, Plato, having no choice, my wife and I welcomed him.
And you know something? We are grateful to our children for this.
Plato became a member of the family.
He is indispensable.
So I understand the pain of those people who lost their dog and filled the street with signs. And I hope I never find myself in their place.
Apparently I discovered in New York the true value and beauty of the affectionate and faithful friendship of a dog.
Only if you lose a dog, only then will you understand what I’m telling you.
But I hope you never go through that pain.
Publisher/ Editor, The National Herald