Dog owners give unconditional love all year

Posted Feb. 09, 2012, at 10:51 p.m.
Marketta, a mix-breed, takes in the fresh salt air and the scenery from the back seat of her owner's car while traveling through Phippsburg. The dog and her owner, Rebecca Cooper, of Holliston, Mass., visit Maine weekly to participate in an agility class in Portland.
Marketta, a mix-breed, takes in the fresh salt air and the scenery from the back seat of her owner's car while traveling through Phippsburg. The dog and her owner, Rebecca Cooper, of Holliston, Mass., visit Maine weekly to participate in an agility class in Portland. Buy Photo
Ted Dalton walks Winston, a friend's St. Bernard, at sunrise along Back Cove in Portland on Nov. 20.
Ted Dalton walks Winston, a friend's St. Bernard, at sunrise along Back Cove in Portland on Nov. 20. Buy Photo
Gauge, a Labrador retriever, wears a camouflage vest while watching for ducks with his master, Jeremy Lee, of South China, while duck hunting in Bath on Oct. 15.
Gauge, a Labrador retriever, wears a camouflage vest while watching for ducks with his master, Jeremy Lee, of South China, while duck hunting in Bath on Oct. 15. Buy Photo
A participant in a dog parade wears a holiday hat during the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport on Dec. 11.
A participant in a dog parade wears a holiday hat during the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport on Dec. 11. Buy Photo
Andie Lynn, a Doberman pinscher, gets a kiss from her owner Naomi Giles during a walk in the Old Port section of Portland on Feb. 4.
Andie Lynn, a Doberman pinscher, gets a kiss from her owner Naomi Giles during a walk in the Old Port section of Portland on Feb. 4. Buy Photo
A yellow Labrador retriever named Gooch wears a box decorated as a holiday present while taking part in the dog parade during the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport on Dec. 11.
A yellow Labrador retriever named Gooch wears a box decorated as a holiday present while taking part in the dog parade during the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport on Dec. 11. Buy Photo
John Hinds gets an unexpected kiss from Kelsi, a puppy from New England Border Collie Rescue on Jan. 28 in Portand. The breed is admired for its intelligence, but its constant desire to work often overwhelms owners, creating the need for the adoption agency.
John Hinds gets an unexpected kiss from Kelsi, a puppy from New England Border Collie Rescue on Jan. 28 in Portand. The breed is admired for its intelligence, but its constant desire to work often overwhelms owners, creating the need for the adoption agency. Buy Photo

Valentine’s Day, the day when humans annually do something special for their loved ones, will be celebrated next week. But dog owners don’t need a special holiday. They give their unconditional love all year round.

They will seek out an adoption agency to give an unwanted puppy a second chance. Then they will brave the early-morning cold to take our four-legged friend outside to answer nature’s call. They will outfit him in camouflage to go hunting or dress her up in silly costumes for holiday parades. And they’re not shy about public displays of affection.

Whether it’s a Hallmark holiday — or any other day — there’s no doubt who a dog owner’s true sweetheart is.

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