Jill's Dogs / by Jill Freedman

When I was little, I wanted a dog more than anything in the world, but my mother was allergic.  Every kid needs a dog, someone to play with a be nice to and he’ll always love you and be your friend no matter what.

I finally grew up and got to New York, found a job and an apartment and a dog named Fang.  Fang was the prettiest dog I ever saw.  He had a great sense of humor and a big grin.  I couldn’t get over him.

I had just started taking pictures and Fang was my teacher.  He taught me how to see.   When he walked down that street, he didn’t miss a thing.  He saw and smelled and delighted in it all, nothing went unmarked.  He saluted each tire, tree and hydrant, throwing his leg high and teetering like a wire-walker; and when he ran out of pee, he pissed air.  He had great style, my dog. We had wonderful adventures, and seeing through his eyes made everything new and strange and exciting.  I was lucky to have this great-hearted, loving being as my friend.

I admire them enormously.  Noble beasts, always saving people’s lives, pulling them out of rivers, scaring off thugs, finding lost kids.  They are our oldest friends.  Dogs will die for us.  Better yet, they will live with us, and it’s much more fun with a dog around.  I know why we like them, but whey do they like us?

Dogs behave better than we do.  They have better manners.  They don’t soil their nests.  They’re gentle with puppies.  They don’t dump  their people when they want new ones.  They  enjoy life and delight in protecting us and making us happy.   No wonder we like them.  If they could cook, we’d marry them.

I have always loved and admired dogs for their dogginess, because they ARE dogs.  I never saw them as little furry people.  They are nothing like people, they are like dogs, a nicer species.  I love watching them, playing with them, knowing them.  I wish I were more like a dog, but I’m working on it.  Sometimes people say my dog pictures look like they were taken by another dog.  I love that.  I was probably a dog in another life.  Maybe that’s why I chase fire engines.