By BOB URBAN

rurban@tnonline.com

My good friend, Jack, who lives out of state, emailed me several weeks ago.

He was hurting.

He informed me that he had to put his dog down the day before, and he was in agony over the decision. The pet he had was 12 years old, and had become a bonifide member of the family throughout those years.

But age, and ailments, had caught up to him, and that necessitated Jack to play God, and decide on putting the dog out of his misery. It was a decision he dreaded.

Having gone that route several times with long-time pet dogs over the years, I realized that there wasn't much I could say to him to improve his spirits. Pet owners will understand that only time, and lots of it, will ease the pain of losing a loving, loyal pet. Words aren't much comfort at the time. Only time will heal the wounds to the heart and soul.

Several weeks after Jack's email, another reader sent me a collection of thoughts about pets, and dogs in particular, that every pet owner should read. They won't bring back the loving, lost pet, but they help put in perspective what having a pet means to us. See if you agree.

"A life without a dog is a mistake."......Carl Zuckmayer.

"Women and cats will do what pleases them. Dogs and men should relax and get used to it"......Robert A. Heinkin.

"The love for animals enhances the cultural level of the people." ......F. Salvochea.

"When you leave a dog behind, because he 'grew old', your children will learn the lesson. Maybe they will do the same to you when you are an old man. Think about it....."

"The dog has made man their God. If the dog was an atheist, it would be perfect."......Paul Valery.

"Love is when your dog licks your face, even if you leave it alone the whole day"......Anita, 4 years old.

"It doesn't matter if an animal can reason. It matters only that it is capable of suffering and that is why I consider it my neighbor.".....Albert Schweitzer.

"We can judge the heart of a man according to his love for animals.".....Immanuel Kent.

"Do not call me dog, I do not deserve such a high qualification. I am not as faithful or loyal. I am only a human being"......

"Every child should have two things: a dog and a mother who let him have one."

"It is shameful for our species being the dog (man's best friend) when the man is the dog's worse friend"......Eduardo Lamazon.

"Do not accept the admiration of your dog as an obvious conclusion that you are wonderful"......Ann Landers.

"The dog knows, but does not know that he knows."......Pierre Teilhand deChardin.

"Who said you can not buy happiness, when you are thinking about puppies"......Gene Hill.

"If your dog doesn't like someone, you probably should not either."......

"A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you will love yourself."......Josh Billings.

"You can live without a dog, but it is not worthwhile."

"If a dog does not come to you after looking you in the face, it is better that you go home and examine your conscience"......Woodrow Wilson.

"Buying a dog may be the only opportunity that a human being has to choose a relative"......Mordecai Siega.

"You can say any foolish thing to a dog and the dog will look you in a way that seems to say: 'My God, he is right!! That would never have occurred to me.'"......Dave Barry

"Sitting back in the evening, stargazing and stroking your dog, is an infallible remedy.".....Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"To exercise, walk with someone who will accompany you willingly, preferably a dog."......David Brown.

"Animals and nature are insignicicant for a man when the man is unworthy."

"There is no better psychiatrist in the world than a puppy licking your face"......Woodrow Wilson.

"Somewhere in the rain, there will always be an abandoned dog, that prevents you from being happy."......Aldous Huxley

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the manner in which its animals are treated."......Mahatma Gandhi.

"Many who have dedicated their life to love, can tell us less about the subject than a child who lost his dog yesterday.".....Thornton Wilder.

"Dogs are not everything in life, but they make it complete"......Roger Caras.

"Just thinking that my dog loves me more than I love him, I feel shame."......Konrad Lorenz.

"They will be our friends forever,always and always."...