It was October 24th, 2004 that I first met young Theo (then called Pauly) at the Old Bridge Shelter in New Jersey. Eight years later, he’s certainly greyer and far less boisterous than the untamed adolescent I first brought home.  But he’s lost none of his spark, wisdom or goofiness, and he reminds me that I’m fortunate, even on the days when the world feels heavy and its challenges great.

We celebrated our big day by visiting 4 Food , a friendly burger joint at the temporary UrbanSpace Market in the Meatpacking District where the dog loving staff was super sweet and accommodating. Theodore placed an order for a medium rare beef burger with cheddar cheese and pancetta, served on a toasted brioche bun.

It looked so good that when it was ready, I was tempted to fill my own belly.  But sweet Theo had waited so patiently, and when I thought about how much love this pooch has shared with strangers, friends and family over the years, I wished I could have bought him a mountain of burgers for a lifetime.

The kid scarfed down that deliciousness in record time and topped off his special snack with a birthday cuddle, courtesy of his new friend, Annie.  Theo made an instant connection with Annie the previous week while strolling the aforementioned market.  So when he spotted her that night, he made a beeline for his new buddy and her kind embrace.

As it turns out, Annie is in New York City for a brief stint before returning to South Africa to continue her work with Global InVision, an organization she created to help women in developing economies launch their businesses in the global marketplace.

No wonder Theo fell for Annie.  He can’t resist a woman with a warm heart and a mission.

Hanging out with Annie, an unabashed dog lover who emanates a special kind of grace and lovely energy, reminded me that we’re so lucky to meet such fascinating dog people, while simply strolling the streets of NYC!

And that reminded us Why Dog People Are Awesome.

Then we started to make a list…

Dog people laugh at your stupid dog jokes.

They back you up when you declare a suitor unfit, because your dog found him or her repellent in some way.

They interpret and voice their dog’s thoughts and feelings, and will happily do the same for your pooch. They often employ silly voices to communicate the relevant canine’s feelings.  It’s all so ridiculous, (while being completely accurate) that even a lousy day can turn sunny.

Dog people won’t make you feel like a nutcase when you report that you’re still mourning the loss of your dog…one month, five years, or even a decade after the actual loss.

Neither will they ridicule you when you reveal that you have more photos of your dog on your phone than of your children.

They understand when you tear up talking about how much you love your dog and can’t imagine the world without him or her.

Dog hair and drool, distributed with wild abandon by your dog, while annoying (the former) and gross (the latter) elicit this response from a true dog person: “Oh, I’m used to it.”  Utterly charming.

They house hunt for properties with an eye for what works best for THE DOG. eg: Spiral staircases leading to master bedrooms + arthritic or aging dogs are immediately stricken from the list of potential homes.

They won’t make the mistake of inviting you to stay overnight and then require that your pooch sleep in the garage. Or the laundry room. Or in your car. Or anywhere other than with you.

They’re easy to amuse. One ridiculous You Tube video of a talking mutt, or a Boxer jumping on a trampoline, or a Bulldog attempting to haul his wading pool (full of water) into the house, via the sliding glass door, can elicit a giggle fit.  And then they press ‘replay.’

Before they worry about their money, property or other possessions, they ponder who might provide a suitable home for a furry family member left behind in the case of an untimely death.

And of course,

Dog people make fun of how cuckoo dog people are, which is always the most excellent entertainment.

Have more to add? Feel free to share in the comments below, or on our City Dog Country Dog Facebook Page!