This week’s Discover Challenge: Animal
I never owned a pet of any kind as a kid.
That’s my confession.
Please don’t feel sorry for me – I had a full and happy childhood without one. But I will admit, a pet was something I always wanted to have.
My dad, ever the realist, made sure my brother and I were well-versed on the reality of pet ownership:
- Who’s going to walk the dog?
- You want to go on vacation, you say? Who will watch the dog?
- Are you going to clean up the mess?
- And my personal favorite: Your mother is allergic.
Way to blame my mom for this one, dad.
So my point is this, pets never happened in my childhood. As we grew up, moved into another house, and my brother eventually moved out, and my parents and I moved again, still no pets. My brother and sister-in-law married in 2008, and decided to get a puppy. She’d owned pets before, but my brother and I, who had never, made up for the 27 pet-less years we had. Ever play bullfighter with a Yorkie? We have!
It was harmless – we put his blanket on his head and he shook it off.
My brother and sister-in-law got Howie when he was four months old (he’s now eight years old). He was shaggy and sad-eyed, but was lovable at first sight. We fell in love immediately. Despite being a little terror, he gave so much love immediately. To this day, he still loves attention, and is still the cute little furball he all those years ago. His demands are such: pay attention to me, feed me what you’e eating, and don’t pay attention to my fur-sister.
My brother and sister-in-law decided Howie needed a sister, and through my brother’s former employer’s internal communications, they found Mimi, a tiny Yorkie. Her owner was moving and needed to give Mimi up. She was 1 1/2 (now six years old) at that time, so tiny and immediately lovable. Howie despised her, and he still doesn’t like competing for attention from her. All but four pounds, she shakes and cries alot. The cry is similar regardless of how she feels – happy, sad, or in pain. Mimi’s demands are simple – a lap or a warm body to sit with and the occasional petting. She will paw at your hand if you stop petting her.
A little over a year ago, I met my boyfriend James, and with him came a new furbaby into my life. Daisy is his 11-year-old Chihuahua, whom he was only supposed to care for temporarily…ten years ago. Daisy’s owners were not able to take her back, but James had become attached to her, so he made the difficult decision to keep her. Such a hard choice, because she’s been his ever since. She’s all gray (used to be all black with white feet), has arthritis in her back legs, and a trachea condition that causes her to honk, but like any dog, she is lovable and attached to James. When I came into the picture, she took me as her own, commandeering my lap and looking to me for food. What we eat, she wants to eat, what we drink, she wants to drink, and please rub my belly.
I first met Daisy at Christmas, when James brought her with him from Michigan. He went home the following week, and she whimpered when I was getting out of the car on the last night. She knew my voice, and web chats meant opportunities for me to see her often. When he came back in March (this time, for Easter and to finalize details for his move), Daisy came too, and she practically jumped into my arms the first night they were here. I knew it was love at first sight, based on the way she responds to me. If I’m not in her company for a few days, she will sit on my lap and sleep. For the most part, though, her place is on a blanket between both of us.
Animals have this way of finding their way into our hearts, as long as we open up and allow that to happen. I love animals, so it comes natural that I would find myself in love with pets that take a liking to me. I’ve found that the bond with animals is much easier to gain than the bond with other people, but like any good relationship, it takes work and trust. Pets may love unconditionally, but it should never be one-way love. If you can’t reciprocate the love a pet gives you, then you should never know their love. And God help you if you believe in the opposite of love toward pets. Someone will always be more deserving of that love.
And it makes it all worth it for me to walk into my boyfriend or my brother’s houses, and be immediately greeted by small furbabies and their happy cries and barks.