Growing up with pets is a wonderful experience for children. They learn to be gentle, caring, compassionate, and responsible. They have the wonderful experience of receiving the unconditional love that only a pet can give. They learn patience, and the value of sharing one’s life and caring for another being.
At no time should parents expect or anticipate that a child will be solely responsible for the care of a pet. Any parent thinking that needs shock treatments, and possibly incarceration. Do not get your child a pet unless YOU are willing to accept the responsibility for the care yourself. Animals are not disposable…. they are not there for our convenience or to teach lessons. They are living beings with feelings and emotions. They have a right to happiness, a home, food, good health care, love, and a family – FOR THE DURATION OF THEIR LIVES. If you can’t provide this, do not get a pet.
All the wonderful experiences that pets provide for children, they also provide for adults. My pets are companions, friends, loved ones, family. They have provided unconditional love when I am not lovable to anyone else (I know you all understand that feeling). They have listened to my complaints and my heartfelt thoughts…. the real benefit to this is that they cannot type or text, so my secrets and innermost thoughts go no further. They have soothed heartache, and heartbreak. I can literally feel my heart rate slowing when I have one of babies snoozing on or around me.
As I’ve often said, I am a dog person. I love them, I understand them, I relate to them, I trust them…in fact, I prefer them to most people. However in the past seven years, I have added cats to my list of loved pets. People often speak of how aloof cats are…how they don’t want to be petted, and they only emerge at mealtimes.
Where do you get cats like that? As I lower myself into a chair, they get into position…..by the time my butt hits the seat, cats are jumping into my lap from all directions. They then go through the “kneading” process, and settle down for the duration. I have frequently woken up with three or four of them asleep on me, from my neck on down to my ankles. Good thing I’m tall and wide – I don’t know what they’ll do when I finish dieting and am half the woman I am now. Maybe that’s why they keep trying to feed me cookies….
Loving pets adds quality to your life. It is a huge commitment, but for those that love them, it is well worth the effort required.
But as with loving anything, there is worry and pain involved. I have cried on my pets, and I have cried over them. I’ve run to emergency rooms with them, visited them in hospitals, given medications, administered injections, and held them in my arms at the end of their lives. Eye drops, ear drops, vitamins, special diets – these are all part of reality. When you take on a pet, you take on their whole lives – their babyhood, childhood, old age, health problems, behavior problems, bad habits. If they are not trained, it’s YOUR fault – not theirs. If they chew on your belongings, put your belongings away and crate your pet till they learn. Same with housebreaking. Some pets take longer than others – some breeds take longer than others. (I have one little guy here that I hope “gets the hang of it” before I die)
As I’m sitting here, within four feet of me there are four dogs and four cats sleeping peacefully. The fifth cat just climbed down off the back of my chair – over my shoulder, down my right side, and onto the keyboard of my laptop. By the way, she can’t spell. As I typed this, she looked knowledgeably at the screen, then turned, gave me the stink eye, and bit my arm. Why? who knows. Obviously she didn’t think much of what I wrote. This is the cat who is probably the most “cat-like”. She wants to be handled and petted when SHE wants it. She will recline in my lap purring happily, and I can pet her 4.7 times. After that, she will bite at any given moment with no warning. Imagine if she didn’t like me!! Having proven her superiority over my right arm, she is now doing a victory lap across the top of the piano. She is one of our first cats – she feels that gives her the right to exhibit her temper upon occasion. Just often enough to keep me in line. The only ones who have never been on the receiving end of her ill humor are Zeus, our older Golden Retriever, and Lou-Otto, our senior Basset Hound. She loves them without any trace of the ire that the rest of us bring out in her.
So much for dogs and cats not getting along…. another myth dispelled!
To sum up; some of my best friends are four-legged. There have been low times in my life when the loving eyes of my boys have kept me going – when their love has dried my tears. I am grateful to them, I love them, and I would never want to be without them!