Yes, by all checklists: Dogs are indeed, "Man's best friend." They are unconditionally yours. They forgive, they don't lie, they don't cheat, they are THERE for you. A fantastic definition of a true friend. However, this is unfair of a claim as a human's most-evolved needs and skills are not bi-directionally met with a dog. When we can truly find, nurture and connect with another human through a dedicated friendship our dogs remain as trusted and loyal companions, though our interactions with a loyal trusted human companion is so much more rewarding.
Case in point, I spent the recent weekend out in a remote northern California area with 11 true friends of mine from high school. Graduating class of 1982. An amazingly diverse, successful, loyal and scattered group of friends who have never lost touch, though we have lost sight of each other for stretches of years and a couple fellows for decades. The core bonds have been stirred and thinned at times, but never shaken. We gather together for mini-reunions on the average of 2-year points in time to revel in some adolescent energies and recall triumphs and travesties from our youth, while keeping in-tune with the what's going on with our families, kids, spouses, girlfriends, ex-spouses, careers, and yes our dogs and pets too. Drinking, grilling, gambling, hiking, hanging, sharing...Everyone is equal. Trusted. Loyal. Those friends you create during those childhood and teen years I submit are the strongest one could ever find due to all those dynamic changes that go through one's lives in those early years. I have found friends you make through times of struggle, adversity, and joyous "1st-time experiences" become deeply engrained in our core soul, and hearts - and are responsible for producing our own unique characters. Characters that indeed change and evolve - or even become corrupted over the years, but those memories shared never change and be recalled forever between those friends to laugh all over again, cry a little and put into even greater perspectives.
This last weekend I had a choice. A choice to join the crew or stay at home alone, but with my canine companion. A choice that has been difficult for me over certain years of my life due to some struggles with relationships to drinking, (which is now a "dry" one), and being the only one who doesn't partake in the drinking aspect of these reunions with my buddies can cause some awkwardness in some. In fact, I have RSVP'd as a "I can't make it" on several occasions. It can be a head-spinning mess.
Lo and behold....
The truth about the real, core friends in your life is their unconditional acceptance of you. No matter what place or space you may be in. A lot like a dog. (Men CAN be dogs, right?) Ha!
I justly put my "man's best friend" in a wonderful canine boarder she loves ("doggy day care" every day!) and let her be a dog with her dog friends and I took off to see my buddies. It was a grand time. For my dog, my soul, and my pals.