Stop. Flip back to the cover and look at that photo—really look at it, from top to bottom and inside out.

Finished? Now continue with the following quote from “Dog Songs” by the great American poet Mary Oliver:

What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass?

What would this world be like without dogs?

It’s a simple question, with a profoundly throat-clenching answer. Gosh, what would the world be like without our dogs? For so many of us in the Roaring Fork Valley, life would be devoid of a great many joys without our canines rolling, romping, fetching, and frollicking their way through our hearts. They nose our knees along the trail, perch like royalty on our SUPs, warm our feet around the campfire, and never second-guess that any time is a good time for adventure. Yes, it’s safe to say that Colorado culture as we know it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Valiant mountain exploits aside, though, our dogs (and cats, bunnies, birds, and goldfish) happen to complete our families, too. Our pets are confidants, protectors, buddies, and all-around day-brighteners, especially for our children. On really tough days, the unwavering friendship of a pet can be the glue that sticks a kid back together again. Pets just have that way about them; they’re pillars of a well-lived childhood.

The August issue of Roaring Fork Lifestyle salutes our love of kids and pets. A truer, sweeter pairing is tough to find.

(If you’re not convinced of this and need additional evidence, however, please refer again to the cover photo.)

Best wishes and wags to all of our two-legged and four-legged friends this month. May every day be a dog day!