Anyone claiming to be a journalist must possess the soul of a cynic. As a member of the fourth estate for more than four decades, I have developed a thick skin in addition to the ability to find a dark lining in any silver cloud.

As Helen Thomas once told me, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”

Exceptions to that rule are abandoned dogs looking for a home. No need to be suspicious, nothing to check out. They are loving companions with no strings attached.

After a day of challenging authority and “checking it out,” what’s now known as work-life blend can get difficult. It’s hard not to bring it home after the workday ends.

If you are experiencing the challenges of leaving work at work, there is a remedy. I read a story last week about a dog named Sophie, a mixed breed mutt abandoned and wandering the streets of Milwaukee. She was a mess: 10 pounds underweight, matted coat and suffering from a loss of hearing. Oh, and she was 14 years old.

Her sad face was posted on a Facebook site run by the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. The good people of Milwaukee responded, and Sophie ended up in a caring home. Her suffering is over.

But more than that, Sophie’s new owner has the opportunity to enjoy the companionship of a thankful dog.

I know that sounds weird. How do you know if a dog is thankful?

I realized that a few weeks ago after my wife and I adopted an elderly Lab-border collie and whatever-else mix. Our dog, Sadie, was recently impounded in Houston, Texas. She is not only old, she has a heart murmur and a bum knee. She was headed for doggie heaven until Paddy Paws in Wisconsin brought her north.

Moving from foster home to foster home, Sadie ended up with us. She was initially nervous but quickly settled into our home.

So, what does this have to do with a snarky journalist who sometimes can’t shake it all off before coming home at the end of the work day?

A lot.

Sadie quickly became part of our lives. When I walk in the door, she is there, tail wagging, welcoming me home. She seems to be excited to see me, and that’s a big change from the reaction I get from a lot of people during the day.

Sadie asks for very little in return—a pat on the head and an occasional walk.

I have trouble explaining it, but it seems as if this dog knows she has finally landed in a safe, warm and caring environment, and she appreciates it. It’s just a sense I get.

Mike McManus, the executive director of the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, and I discussed this during my talk show on WCLO. I was surprised when he said I was not going around the bend.

Mike said I was experiencing something that is common. Animals can express their joy when rescued. The good feeling is contagious.

What we have done for Sadie, she has returned tenfold. Do you need a pick-me-up? Contact Mike and adopt an old dog looking for a little love. You won’t regret it.

And don’t tell anyone I have warm feelings about a dog—it will ruin my reputation.

Stan Milam, a Janesville native, worked 40 years for The Gazette and its former parent company. He is the host of the “Stan Milam Show” on WCLO Radio.

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