Every drunk has a dog.

Carlos heard this popular saying from his older brother who personally experienced the truth of these words. Carlos told me that his brother was out pretty late one night playing basketball. He was dressed baggy, was bald, and generally looked like a gangster. Some guys approached his brother and beat him as they also tried to rob him.  When this was happening, his brother looked away and saw a white, bright dog at the end of the court. Carlos said that his brother believes that this dog protected him from further injury and harm that night.

Carlos did not specifically comment on whether or not he believed his brother or thought the dog’s apparition was necessarily true, but he could appreciate the protection and comfort his brother felt from seeing the dog that night.

Having never heard this saying before, I could also appreciate the comfort offered by these words that almost feel like a guarantee or promise of sorts to drunks. However, I do not think that this promise of comfort, protection, or most importantly, companionship, is limited to drunks or homeless people. The fact that this saying specifically says every drunk has a dog and not a cat or goldfish is revelatory of the saying’s greater meaning. Dogs are typically thought of as “man’s best friend” or companions. There are even stickers that declare that no one needs a life partner per se when you have a dog, a different kind of life partner. So, this saying suggests that anyone who may be as down and out as a drunk or as lonely, poor, seemingly forgotten etc. is not as alone as they may think they are. Perhaps the image of the dog is as symbolic as the image of the drunk and the dog simply embodies the qualities already discussed that might also come in the form of kind strangers, close, friends, or some kind of divine comfort.