They are all good dogs

Published 11:00 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

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We had to say goodbye to a beloved family member recently.

Sport, the ever-happy Springer Spaniel we’d loved for nearly 15 years, lost his battle with kidney disease. It was a heart-breaking decision to let him go, one made harder by the hope that the most resilient dog I’ve ever seen could pull through, just one more time.

You see, Sport was, quite simply, remarkable. He came to our family when we weren’t looking for another dog, a four-week-old product of a backyard breeder whose operation was being shut down by the police. And he quickly became the most expensive free dog ever.

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At six months old, he escaped a fence and was hit by a car. He walked home, despite the pain. A week at Auburn University and several titanium screws later, he was back home and swimming in the pool without a care in the world.

Several years later, a trip to the groomer led to alarm after a mass was felt in his stomach. One surgery later, our beloved vet removed a grapefruit sized bladder stone that, to this day, is among the biggest ever seen at that same Auburn veterinary school.

It was the start of a lifelong journey of surgeries and infections, special diets and lots of worries, for all of us. Throughout it all, Sport remained his ever-cheerful, ever-friendly self, snuggling and swimming, counter-surfing and begging for muffins whenever he had the chance.

So, when I stumbled on an article titled “Meet the most expensive dog in the world, plus its contenders,” I had to laugh. You mean, it’s not Sport?

Nope. As it turns out, the most expensive dog in the world is a Tibetan mastiff puppy that sold for nearly $2 million in China in 2014.

And the French bulldog – recently crowned the most popular dog breed in America by the American Kennel Club – made the top 10 list for expensive dogs as well, joining the Black Russian terrier, the Samoyed, the cavalier King Charles spaniel, the Bernese Mountain dog, the St. Bernard and the Staffordshire bull terrier, among others. All costs thousands of dollars, according to this article, and that’s before you factor in the lifelong cost of pet ownership, which averages about $1,000 a year.

Yet, dogs remain the most popular pet in America, as well they should. Nearly 69 million households owned at least one dog in 2021-2022, and most of them are not on the “most expensive dogs” list.

In fact, more than 3.1 million dogs each year are surrendered to shelters across the nation, according to the ASPCA. Of those, only 2 million will be adopted.

Here in Miss-Lou, you can see their faces each week in the Pet of the Week feature we publish in The Democrat and online, as we introduce pets from both the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, Concordia Paws and Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue to readers. These sweet pups, much like our beloved Sport, are simply waiting for the right person to come along and give them a new life and a new hope. They’re filled with love, with appreciation and with joy … and whether they become part of your family for five years or 15 years, they will leave their pawprints on your heart.

Because, we learned with Sport, they’re all good dogs, Brent.


Stacy G. Graning is regional editor of The Democrat. Contact her at