The Wonderful Companionship of Dogs

Hello all!

Hope you are all doing well under the circumstances and finding time, place, and new ways to keep your Art and work going.

Today I want to talk about something that might seem unrelated to the Performing Arts, but in reality, affects our lives – personally and professionally – more than we are aware of: Dogs!

We recently posted on our social media and website statements that from now on we are engaged in making the world better, one dog at a time. Of course, we wish we could help all animals, the whole environment, people in need, etc., but unfortunately there is only so much we can do, and so we are focusing on dogs. Why? There are loads of reasons. The general and scientific are well-known and briefly described on the link above. But in this post I want to talk about my own personal reasons.

Ever since I can remember I wished with all my heart to have a dog and nagged my parents to let me have one. The closest I got was when we had a couple of German Shepherds to be guard dogs at our small farm. I loved them, but unfortunately only saw them on weekends at most, which wasn’t enough for my “dog needs”. Then, one night, when I was 12-years-old, the surprise finally came, out of the blue: Dad said I could have a dog at home and should start looking for him/her (in retrospect, I find it he gave too much trust and responsibility to a 12-year-old! But it turned out well, as you will see). I was beyond myself in happiness and couldn’t believe it was finally true. Fast forward some months searching for a puppy, we found – or she found us – a gorgeous yellow Labrador we named Pepita. My memory is usually not the best, but I still remember vividly the day she moved-in with us – what I was doing, the game I was playing on the computer (Ange of Empire II, green colour, Celtic civilisation – what a surprise!), the first time I looked at her face, the first time she stopped being shy and started playing and running.

I was a very shy child and didn’t have many friends, and the other kids in school were quite hostile – the term “bullying” didn’t exist back then, but that’s what was happening. So Pepita became my best friend, cheered me up, played with me, gave me attention, gave me someone to talk to and, most importantly, with no judgement whatsoever and endless love.

This relationship helped me gain confidence and put myself out there throughout my adolescence and young adult life. I wonder if not for her, I would have chosen another career, more introspective and away from the limelight? Probably not.  

Pepita passed away at almost 15-years-old – and that was only because she got and infection her body couldn’t fight. Otherwise we believe she might have lived for a couple more years. We were all devasted of course, and my parents vowed not to have a dog again, for the pain of losing them is just too hard. I definitely agree with the latter, but I believe that all the happiness, love, and good moments that dogs bring offset the grief of losing them, and all the memories serve as a comfort. This happened again with my Rottie cross Magnar and will once more with my another yellow Lab Fionnuala Ann, but I can’t imagine living without a dog.

This is why I find dogs so important and hope you will join me in appreciating and sharing their wonder! Our plans are to engage and partner with animal welfare organisations to assist with fundraising, awareness, fostering and adoption. If you have ideas to engage dogs in our Arts world, please email us at dogs@anahassett.ie, and please do follow our sister Instagram page!

Until next month!

Ana