There are those who claim dogs don’t feel love the way humans do. They will say that dogs make investments in humans because they have something to gain from it because we reward them with treats and attention. NONSENSE!
Let them explain this —
The Story of Rocky and Rita
Rocky was a Boxer and had a pretty rough beginning. He was sold when he was seven weeks old to a family with an adolescent child. This boy had emotional problems and was jealous of the attention this puppy was getting. He threw the puppy into the lake inside a knotted pillowcase. Fortunately, the incident was seen by the boy’s father who was able to retrieve the terrified puppy before it drowned.
The following day this horrified Dad witnessed his son standing in the lake holding the puppy under the water trying again to drown him. He was able again to rescue Rocky and then returned him to the breeder for his own safety.
A few weeks later Rocky got a good home. He was given to an 8-year-old girl named Rita by her parents. They were instant best friends. She taught him basic commands, hand-fed and loved him, and let him sleep on her bed. They were together within touching distance whenever she wasn’t in school. Rocky took on the role of defender with Rita.
However, Rocky had an extreme fear of water. Boxers are not strong swimmers, but with Rocky’s early traumas, his fear of water isn’t surprising. He would become distressed and try to pull back whenever he came close to a body of water. He would pace along the shore whimpering and trembling when Rita would go swimming. He wouldn’t relax, watching her intently, until she left the water.
One afternoon, when Rita was 11 and Rocky was three years old, Rita’s mother took them to a shopping area at the edge of a lake with a short wooden boardwalk. This boardwalk was built over a sharp embankment that was 20 to 30 feet above the water. Rita was walking along the boardwalk when a boy on a bicycle skidded on the damp wooden surface. He hit Rita at an angle that sent her through an open section of the guard rail. She shrieked as she fell and hit the water face down. She was floating, but not moving.
Rita’s mother was a hundred feet or so away at the entrance of a store when she heard her daughter scream. She was shouting for help as she rushed to the railing. Rocky was looking at the water and Rita, trembling in fear, and making sounds of whimpers, yelps, and barks all at the same time.
It is hard to say what Rocky thought as he looked at the water that had almost taken his life twice. But this wonderful dog’s fear wasn’t as strong as his love for Rita, and he jumped through the open space in the rail and dropped to the water.
His natural programming allowed him to swim without any previous practice. He swam to Rita and got hold of her by the shoulder strap on her dress, rolling her over at the same time, so her face was out of the water. She began gagging and coughing. She reached out and caught hold of Rocky’s collar, and Rocky struggled to swim toward the shore, and fortunately, they weren’t far from shore, so they quickly reached a depth where Rocky’s feet were on solid ground. He continued to drag Rita out of the water and then stood beside her, licking her face while he continued to whine and tremble.
By the time somebody could have made it down the steep and rocky embankment and swam out to Rita, it likely would have been too late to save her.
It could only have been Rocky’s love of Rita that pushed him to jump into the water. Rocky’s actions certainly cast doubt on the theory that dogs only act out of self-interest and not out of love for us.
Rocky’s fear was absolute, and he continued to avoid the water for the rest of his life.