“We aren’t house-proud. If we were, we wouldn’t abide the scratches on the door-frame, the holes in the screen, the darkened shine of worn spots on the chair. We would wince at the mottled carpet and fret at the hair clinging to our clothes.

“We don’t. If anything, we lovers of dogs are a tolerant lot, finding greater value in the unabashed affection of our friend than immaculate sofas. Shoes can be replaced, but heroic retrieves are timeless.

“Without dogs, our houses are cold receptacles for things. Dogs make a fire warmer with their curled presence. They wake us, greet us, protect us, and ultimately carve a place in our hearts and our history. On reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.”

─Paul Fersen, The Orvis Company

I didn’t write the above… but I could have because I have felt the very same sentiments, lived in that same house with scratches on the furniture, holes in the screen doors, and hair in every nook, cranny, and corner. But what we get in return for the distress to our house is love immeasurable—timeless in its constancy from generation to generation, and as true as the stars that light the heavens above us.

I find I never have to explain this to dog lovers. They accept these things as they accept sunshine during the day or gravity. They’ve made their accommodation with a less-than-perfect house because they know the joy of a perfect home with their loving companion.

There’s a story I heard many years ago and it concerns the Grand Canyon and the local Indians. Whether this is an actual legend or not is beside the point because it illustrates a truth we believe in our souls—and there is nothing more powerful or truthful than something we know because we believe. The story goes that an Indian was out hunting one day and came across a wolf. They were naturally suspicious of each other and each kept a wary eye out but, as time went by and their paths kept crossing, they became companions. Soon, they both looked forward to their walks together and spent hours and hours every day in each other’s company. One day, as they were walking along together, a powerful earthquake shook the ground and a chasm—which would soon become the Grand Canyon—began to open between them. As the gap grew wider and wider, the wolf looked across at his companion getting farther and farther away and, at the last possible moment, leapt the chasm to take his place at the side of man forever.

Our dogs love us, restore us, help us, guard us, and, more often than many of us know, lay their lives down for us. And they do these things not because they’re paid to or because it gets them a better doghouse, they do these things because they love us and because of that bond established far in the past when the wolf made that leap from a conscious and forever decision to remain on our side of the canyon.

I created this page on our website for a reason and it’s not so I could go on and on about our dogs. I created this page because these wonderful and loving companions don’t all find wonderful and loving homes. Thousands are euthanized every day in animal shelters around the world. Every one of these dogs has the same love for us as that first wolf. Every one of these dogs would gladly leap that chasm to be by our side. Every one of these dogs would give their lives for us if they had to. All they want is a chance to find that comfortable spot at our feet, next to the fire, or at the foot of our beds.

I have pledged that Saint Francis Capital will do everything within its power to bring this message to everyone: “Please rescue a shelter animal. They will always love you for saving them.”

We urge you, if you are thinking about getting a dog, to think first about the shelter option. If you must have a pure-bred dog, remember that there are rescue organizations for virtually ALL pure-bred dogs and the love of your life just might be waiting patiently for you there.

─Kaye (also Duchess, Lexi, Minnie-Moo, Penny, EmmyLou—and our sweet dogs who are no longer with us: China, Wiley, Miki, Willow, Max, Clover, Scout, Chief, Olive, Delilah… and so many others over the years)