I’m a dog person — and based on the response from readers, so are a lot of other Eastern Oregon residents.

With National Dog Day approaching, I wanted to highlight man’s best friend. I received many submissions and enjoyed being introduced to people’s furry friends.

Started in 2004 by Colleen Paige, National Dog Day celebrates all breeds — purebreds and mutts alike. It honors family dogs and working dogs that give selflessly to save lives, keep people safe and provide comfort and companionship.

It’s celebrated each year on Aug. 26. Paige chose the day to coincide with the anniversary of when her family adopted their first dog.

When people ask if I have children, I always say I have two canine kids. While I think my dogs are the best, I know there are a lot of great dogs out there that mean the world to their owners. One of the stories shared by a reader especially tugged at my heartstrings.

Katrina Ortiz of Hermiston shared about Mason, a German shorthaired pointer. Choosing him from a litter, Ortiz brought Mason home when he was 8 weeks old.

In addition to serving as a mascot at the veterinary clinic where she worked, Mason provided support when Ortiz was diagnosed with Lyme disease. He helped her in dealing with extreme pain, fatigue and depression.

Calling Mason “an incredible friend,” Ortiz said, “he is extremely loyal and has so much personality — he really is a hoot.” Although not a wanderer, Mason went missing in April. Heartbroken, Ortiz scoured their property, put up fliers and posted extensively on social media in hopes of finding Mason.

“He has been such a huge part of my life for 5 years,” Ortiz said. “He was not just a dog, he was a member of the family.”

I totally understand Ortiz’s sense of loss. The first dog I got as an adult disappeared mysteriously.

To those who think, “it was just a dog” — you just don’t understand. But those of us fortunate enough to become part of a pack, we know dogs leave paw prints on our hearts and we are forever changed.

———

Community Editor Tammy Malgesini’s pack includes her husband, John, and their German shepherds, Lucifer, who’s almost 10, and the General, who turned 7 in June. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

 

 

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