Towards the end of last summer, I got my first speeding ticket. Ever. It was a headache day due to chainsaws blaring from 6:00 am till about 5:00 pm. Four of us in our neighborhood had trees taken down and the sound of the chainsaws put me over the edge.

I drove to Menard’s to pick up my husband and got stopped for speeding. And I deserved it. All I could think about was not throwing up in the car and getting through the two stupid roundabouts. I hate them.

Coconut could sense my stress because he tried to put his head on my shoulder even though it meant making his way over the doggie barrier.

“Do you know why I stopped you?” asked the kind police officer.

“I know I’m ready to throw up if I don’t get out of this car soon,” I answered.

He let me know I was going 51 in a 30. When I do something for the first time I do it right.

He leaned into the window and smiled at the back seat. “Is that your emotional support dog?”

“Yes, he is. His name is Coconut.”

“He’s a good dog. I’m glad you have him. I can see he’s helping you to stay calm. I’ll be right back.”

Because it was such a large amount over the limit he said he had no choice but to give me a ticket. He did drop it to 39 miles so that points and what I would have to pay were less. While he was at the car I explained about my fear of driving and the dog and Hawaii and Wisconsin and how Coconut had saved my life.

“You’re lucky to have such a loyal dog. Slow down and keep you both alive.”

I’m not happy about the ticket and the higher insurance costs because of speeding but each time I go through the roundabouts I think of that wonderful officer and his kindness and his good advice to slow down if only to keep Coconut safe.

Today is National Loyalty Day and without question a dog is loyal. The numbers vary depending upon the survey and reporting data, but is estimated that approximately forty-eight percent of the households in the United States with an estimated eighty-million dogs of breeds from Chihuahuas to Great Danes and every breed mix possible.

As different as these dogs are the one thing they all have in common is that they are loyal to their person. Coconut, and now to a smaller degree, Mele, know when I have a headache. They refuse to leave my side and seem to be extra comforting. They don’t bark or ask for walks. They just are. I can use my dogs to talk things over with, to cry with, to watch truly crappy movies with.

My sister is still amazed I have a dog and now that we have two she is convinced I lost my mind. I tell her that without Coconut she would not have me around. Coconut saved my life plain and simple, in large part due to his loyalty.

Headaches, money issues, not living where I’d prefer. Those are my reality. But no matter what is going on in my life Coconut and Mele are always there for me asking nothing in return for their loyalty except love. They are so adorable and fun they are supremely easy to love. When your friends and family are angry with you and ignoring you, your dog will always be there and all it asks for is your love.

How does your dog show his or her loyalty?