By Harry Burrus


Sonny is a handsome German Shorthair Pointer mix—light on the mix. He arrived at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales, known as the SPA, in January 2014 at eight weeks of age. He was as adorable looking then as he is at age seven. I’ve discussed with him how his relatives were bred during the latter part of the 19th century in Germany as hunters, and how, if they would stand next to dead trees and snow, their white and dark brown patches made them difficult for wild game to see. He gives me a quizzical look since he doesn’t know anything about snow, nor has he stood next to dead trees or hunted anything. I told him his cousins have been in many famous 19th-century paintings. I showed him “Two Pointers on the Moors” by Thomas Blinks. “Just think, your likeness has been depicted going back over 150 years.” He shrugged. I’ve always been a fan of modesty and a self-effacing attitude.


Sonny is intelligent, distinctly independent, and, in many ways, surprisingly affectionate. In the exercise area, he conducts a survey of smells and then races around, showing me his speed and agility. He zooms from one area to the next, inquisitive and excited. Then he moves in for one-on-one attention.


I’m a big believer in always being a student and being reminded of things that are important. I often feel I am the one learning from him. I get a whiff of how Plato must have felt sitting with Socrates in the Agora. Being with Sonny reinforces things I already know but sometimes forget or push aside. He has two favorite moves when he winds down from his explorations. One is sitting in my lap. The other is when I am sitting, he gets in between my legs and assumes a formal sit. He presses closer, reacting to my massaging him. He’s alert. Relaxed. Gazes into the middle distance. Nothing is going on. Only our moment. Nothing else matters. I’m always struck by how wonderful that is; so simple. It’s cathartic and sets the tone for the rest of my day as I venture out with other SPA dogs.


The SPA is the only no-kill shelter for cats and dogs in San Miguel. Our goal is to find homes for all our animals. For some, it takes longer than others. Please learn about us by checking out our website, Please support our effort to provide a haven for what we hope are family pets-to-be, no matter how long it takes.