Photo credit: Robin Malmanger

By Dave Markwell

As a beautiful sunrise begins to peek over the mountains and the pale sky shifts into the rich blue it will carry all day, I sit in a chair and look at the world and believe in magic and miracles. Sitting next to me, likely not thinking much, is my old, little dog, Grace. A miracle I’m pondering is how she got here. Not just in my life, next to me on a nice morning, but I’m wondering who invented pets, and kind of “why?”.

I’m sure, like many things, pets began with some utilitarian value. I suspect that, once upon a time, they were useful. Dogs were likely protectors. And, I’m not sure what cats have ever done, except agitate dogs. There may still be a case to be made that dogs can add some security, but in most cases, it’s probably more an excuse to justify another unnecessary hassle.

That said, I love this stinky little dog I didn’t want. And, we do silly things for love. I’ve had several dogs I’ve loved very much, and a single cat I’ve truly enjoyed. It’s easier to love dogs than cats, at least for me. They are much more shameless with their expressions of affection. Dogs make us feel loved, too.

Cats, well, cats are cats. They are more selfish. Cats will let us love them until they bite us. Cats are weird. We’re never quite sure where we stand with cats. Their indifference is sort of attractive, though. I rather admire their sometimes hostile independence. How a cat became a pet, minus an explosion of mice needing killing, remains a mystery. I suppose we’ve just come to love them, too. Silly love, again.

Each day, I feed my dog and not-my-cat. I take care of them. Perhaps, as the world became softer, we needed something to take care of. This does feel nice from time to time. Being responsible for a little life makes us feel useful. The hard part is being responsible for its death, too. This experience lives as a valid reason to forgo the pleasure of a pet. Few steps in my life have been heavier than walking my old dog, Diego, into the clinic for his final shot. Damn dog. Silly love.

The sun rises higher in the sky as a lovely day unfolds. I’ll go to work and my dog will find a comfortable spot in the sun and nap all day. I’m jealous. I would very much enjoy her day. But, we have different jobs. I work and serve, and she just loves. I suppose it’s a fair exchange, and on some hard days, can feel like a real bargain.

Dave Markwell is a life-long Des Moines liver and lover. Former owner of Waterland CrossFit and the Waterland Arcade, Dave is now using his unique story-telling voice to help small businesses tell a better story, and his love for people to help folks live bigger and better lives.

For more info. check out his website:

He can be contacted at:


Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...