Last week was Dog Vacay’s Pet Appreciation Week. I wanted to write about what it means to me to share my home with companion animals, but I couldn’t quite put into words what I wanted to say.
But yesterday, when Rumpy and I were out in the yard, I noticed a ripe apple on the tree. I picked it and ate it. Man, it was so sweet and tart- probably one of the best apples I’ve ever eaten.
And then it hit me- I never would have savored that apple if not for Rumpy.
I have spent a good portion of time writing about the responsibilities of giving care to animals. But what about the pleasures they bring to me? For truly, they have given me far more than I have given them.
Having dogs has brought to me an appreciation of the outdoors. Before dogs, I stayed inside all the time. Now I’m outside all hours of the day and night, through all kinds of weather. As a result, this spring I have watched the buds appear, then the blooms, and now I watch the fruit grow and ripen on the trees. I smell the gardenia. I experience the wonder that is the ecosystem in my back yard. All that is thanks to Rumpy and those that came before him.
Having cats has taught me that grit and determination will win out every time. Yes, the cat may be too heavy to actually climb the curtains, but that never stopped him, did it? And neither did a squirt bottle, though it stopped him while I was watching. But no, a cat never gives up, until one day I walk into the living room and there he is, at the top of the curtain rod. And I’m wondering how the hell that happened.
Companion animals have taught me that I am far stronger than I ever knew I could be. I can find money to go to the vet when I don’t have any. I can wrestle with a cat or dog and administer pills. I can make painful end of life decisions for someone I love dearly.
Because of animals, I began this blog. It’s turned out the be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. But I didn’t start it for me. I started it to try to make some extra cash for them. That didn’t happen, but we did get a few free treats along the way.
For some reason I don’t quite understand, we humans have become immune to the suffering of other humans. But not so to the suffering of animals. The conservative and liberal can disagree on many things, but they typically agree on issues pertaining to the welfare of our companion animals. I think companion animals are what keep us human.
And that, my dear readers, is a remarkable gift indeed.