Tuesday 5 October 2010


Today’s blog is in honor of someone very close to me who just lost her dog after sixteen years. :( It got me thinking of course how significant a role in our lives animals play, more than I suppose we ever realize until a beloved animal passes. I’ve known this friend of mine since I was a little girl and she will admit that I’ve never been a pet person. Ironically enough, I grew up with pets. We had dogs, hamsters (seriously, the point??), horses (much more my speed), birds..I even had a pet turtle named Barney. And don’t get me wrong, I liked all of them, but I knew I was never one of those diehard animal people. The funniest thing was that every animal that I came into contact with knew it. They could smell my ambivalence from a mile away and set themselves on a determined course to change my mind, as only animals can.

So this particular friend and I would spend every weekend together at her house - in fact my Mom would actually call and ask when, and if, she was ever going to see me again - and in this house there was a serious animal menagerie going on. She had cats, dogs, rats (domestic of course), ducks; you name it she had it. And every night, no fail, when we’d get into bed and have our pre-sleep pillow gossip about the important things in teenage life – you know, who liked who, did you see what that person was wearing, when were we going to shop next, etc. – her cats would come and sit on me. Not just on me, but right on top of my head as if I was their cat basket. While this was happening the other cats would go to their litter box and as if on cue just to torment me, they’d do their business in such a way, it would send my friend and I under the covers screaming in horror (she of course would be laughing so hard at the look on my face). And I swear to you, they’d only do this in my honor, as if to say, you’re not an animal lover, fine, but we’ll show you who is in charge. I even watched one of her cats give birth – in the same bedroom of course. I’m telling you, that room saw a ton of life experience.

Saying all this, I always marveled at how much a part of the family all her animals were. They were like their children in the best possible way. It was – and I admit this now – almost hard not to like them as well, especially her Goldens. I mean, I’d be a cold-hearted beast if I couldn’t love a golden retriever. Years later, I got my own dog. It was an impulsive decision (especially for a seflish gypsy that I was at the time) and I certainly wasn’t ready for it, but I think it wasn’t until then that I truly understood the connection one could have. I of course was the worst pet owner in the world, in that I would spoil her rotten and had no clue about ground rules. [I’ve learned with the King of course; Dog. Baby, close enough]. My dog would sleep in my bed, try to jump in my bath, eat human food, and go to day care. This dog seriously thought she was the Queen of England, and I loved her to bits.

However, this next sentence will show you how unprepared I was for pet ownership (and judge me if you must, I can take it), as after a year, I chose to find her a new home when I moved to England. In my defense I did not want to put her through a six-month (at the time) quarantine. The rate of death and disease was high, and I will heartedly admit, it is a decision that torments me to this day. In my defense, she went to a family with children and spent her summers in Maine. It actually sounded better than my life at the time, so I figured if things on my end went tits up, I could go move in with her. 

Years on, as irony would have it, I now find myself thinking that instead of a second child, I would get a pet for the King [purely cause I don’t have to get pregnant and give birth to it]. In fact, I’m starting to think that those individuals that are dedicated to animals have got it all figured out. Animals are much more dependable, loveable, and rewarding than the fray. In fact, if this world had more animals and less people, we would probably be better off.

So you see, even the most ambivalent can have a change of heart.
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