I’ve seen people with all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, birds, fish, pot-bellied pigs, goats, etc. But I’m going to focus on dogs in this article, because that’s what I see the most when spending time in the outdoors.

I’ve seen couples who, for whatever reason, don’t have children, but had a dog. You can see how much they love their dog and how much their dog means to them. It is no doubt one of the family. I’ve also seen single people, especially an elderly person, who loves their dog so much it has become their best friend.

I’ve seen hunters and fishermen with their dogs and can see how close they are as companions to each other. When a hunter takes his dog hunting, he’s hunting with one of his best friends.

When one of these people loses their dog, it’s very hard. I’ve heard people say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a dog.” Well, they just don’t understand.

I also can see how much these dogs love their owners. It goes both ways.

One last thought: Years ago, PETA came out and said hunters were mistreating dogs by making them go hunting. Well, I’ve seen dogs when they realize they get to go hunting. They don’t hide how excited and happy they are. I know a dog can’t smile like people do, but I swear I can almost see a dog smile when he finds out that he gets to go hunting today.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis.