Written by: Chuck Brooks
While some of you may know me from my frequent writings and posts on cybersecurity, emerging tech, and homeland security--today, I am writing on a topic that touches my soul: our earthly partnership with our pet companions.
Everyone who has owned a dog, cat or other pet can sentimentally recall many great anecdotes and stories of how their pets added to their personal happiness. The adage that “Dogs are man’s [and woman’s] best friend” really rings true. Since being domesticated tens of thousands of years ago, according to the latest archeological estimates, dogs have had a long and special relationship with humans. Cats as well have provided us the love and friendship that makes the human pet-bond special.
Recently, we lost our close pal and pet, Spoodles. Spoodles was a pug of 12 years who is now at the Rainbow Bridge looking down at us. We named him after our favorite Disney World restaurant. Over the years, he gained many affectionate nicknames: Spoo, Doctor, Little Guy, Bear, and countless variations of these. He exemplified the pug breed: intensely loyal, protective, and often whimsical, and always a true companion. Built like a keg on peg legs and with a smooshed face, his appearance alone embodied these delightful characteristics.
Spoodles was the center of our family, like a little ball of love and sunshine pulling us all together. He was excited to welcome us home from work and school. In his younger days, he loved to play fetch and tug the rope. He traveled wide and far with us wherever we went, from Savanah, Georgia to Uptown Manhattan. Spoodles gave our family an endless supply of unconditional love.
In his eighth year of life, Spoodles was met with an unexpected obstacle. I was playing fetch with him, and I noticed he could not find the ball. We took him to Veterinarian specialists, and they diagnosed him with an auto-immune condition called SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome) that took away his sight in both eyes.
The loss of Spoodles’ vision changed all of our lives. We padded the corners of our furniture, moved things he could run into, and helped him regain his confidence by patiently guiding him on the stairs. He was on a wide variety of specialized medications and supplements designed to help his immune system and cognitive abilities. To his credit, the loss of sight did not change Spoodles’ demeanor or personality. He persevered with amazing determination to remain an independent, fearless little dog.
Despite his loss of sight, Spoodles was still Spoodles--a loyal, protective, entertaining, and beloved companion. The situation made us more cognizant of perspectives of our dog and how meaningful relationships can be despite health issues. Our special canine relationship with Spoodles has taught us more about love and life than we could have ever expected.
While most of us can manifest memories of how much joy and happiness our pets have brought to our lives, there are still many out there who diminish the definition of humanity.
Sadly, many countries in this world still practice cruelty to dogs and cats. They are often kept under horrible conditions, disregarded, or even sold as food. This is not only immoral; it speaks to the cruelty of humankind.
Thankfully, in the United States, Congress has passed legislation against animal abuse, including enacting the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act, Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act, and other federal statutes criminalizing malicious acts of cruelty. Still, much more needs to be done, and it needs to be done on an international level.
One final note, although we are still mourning our dear Spoodles, this past week we formally adopted a dog who was rescued from the wet markets in China. We are eagerly waiting her arrival to the United States. We are looking forward to seeing our new pet companion and sharing mutual joy and care.
Chuck Brooks is one of the earliest Global Goodwill Ambassadors. He is a globally recognized thought leader and subject matter expert Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn.” He was named by Thompson Reuters as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer.” He is also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today, Expert for GovCon, and a Contributor to FORBES. Chuck is Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University’s Graduate Applied Intelligence Program and the Graduate Cybersecurity Programs where he teaches courses on risk management, homeland security, and cybersecurity.
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