Family pets are just that, family. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, gerbil, whatever, they find a place in your heart and in the family. Personally I’m a dog lover. It’s what I grew up with and what’s familiar but I respect any animal lover because those who value life in any form benefit from the relationship. All living things enrich our lives. (except reptiles, they’re ugly and creepy….nothing ‘lovable’ about them….and they belong in the wild not a human home)
Over the 15+ years I had my dog there was a lot of turmoil in our lives. I had three young children, we had moved halfway across the country for my husbands job (far from all family), and like any young family, we struggled financially with paying a mortgage, saving for education, and just living.
I am a private person, not one to confide my insecurities to anyone, but we all need a trusted confidant. Mine was my dog. I can still picture him sitting next to me on the front porch of our home. I would talk to myself verbalizing my deepest thoughts, fears, feelings, issues of concern, whatever was on my mind, and every now and then he’d nudge me and tuck his head reassuringly under my arm. It’s like he understood my innermost feelings and was offering me support. He listened intently as I spoke and sensed that I needed comfort.
In return he asked for nothing. His joy was in going for his much beloved walks through the woods, or playing fetch with his favourite rope toy, or sitting patiently by my feet as I cooked, hoping I’d drop something. In short, he was a selfless creature whose sole purpose in being was to enjoy life and help his keepers enjoy theirs.
Sometimes in a fit of anger or frustration I’d lash out at my beloved pet, (he was never the target of my anger, of course) and he would sit and watch me as I’d blow off my steam, patiently waiting for my energy to expire. He had a way of leveling a gaze on me that immediately made me look at myself through his eyes. Then he’d trot over, tail wagging, and I’d hug him humbled by his forgiving nature and grateful that his love was so unconditional, and I’d feel so ashamed at my emotional outburst.
When my dog passed I remember the pain. I could actually feel my heart breaking and the sudden realization of what he had meant in my life came crashing in. He wasn’t just my dog. He was my confidant, and I can only hope that I brought as much joy to his life as he did to mine. Three years have passed and I regularly walk that wooded path that was his favourite, and I could swear I feel him trotting along beside me and I can’t help but smile.
Whatever animal you to bring into your home they will inadvertently leave a mark in your life. Love them as you would your child and pay attention to their behaviour because it will be in direct response to your emotional needs. They are intuitive, sensitive, and more ‘knowing’ that we could ever imagine. We could learn a lot about ourselves from animals.