What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?
via Powerful Suggestion.
Are you sure you want to have a dog?
Five years ago, we lived in a big executive family home. That was before the kids decided to move back home and it was just me and him. We seemed to have everything – the house was like a resort with palm trees and a fully automatic heated salt pool so deep at one end that you could dive in. We even had a dinghy and had fun playing row, row, row your boat in the swimming pool surrounded by manicured garden.
Something was missing in our lives. With two adults living in the big house, everything was in place, tidy and immaculate. At one stage, I felt I was living in a motel and not a home and we realized what was missing.
When I was a child, I loved cats and I can still remember the number of cats I had and how I grieved when a pet died that I told myself I was never ever going to have a pet again. Yet four years ago, I went against what I vowed not to do.
We wanted to share our big garden and we wanted to inject some life into our house making it more like home. One September afternoon, we brought him home. He was so tiny, hardly a month old and when I picked him up, he shivered in fear.
Life was busy. I became like a mother having a new born baby in the house, having to house train him and cleaned up the mess every now and then. The house came alive, toys everywhere, some soiled and dirty while others were torn in pieces, fluffy stuffings pulled from many soft toys, teddy bears with a nose missing or an ear bitten off. I was forever missing one sock or another and my coats and clothes were (still are) almost always full of hair.
He grew up and then one day, his master decided life is better overseas and left him alone with me. We grew even closer. He has a bed in my bedroom and in the middle of the night, he is all curled up under my blankets rather than on his own bed. He is my hot water bottle on most cold winter nights.
Sometimes, I wished I never had him. Without him, I have no young dependents. I could have traveled anywhere I want to but with him, I am restricted. As both of us grew closer and closer together, memories of my past love for my cats kept coming back to me. The fear of what would happen if my pet was taken away from me.
My pet is not a ‘baby’ or a cat. He looks like (and sure is) a dog but he thinks he is human. My children think he is spoilt and he is ugly but to me, he is the most beautiful dog in the world. When he barks, he looks vicious in the eyes of strangers. When my friends (those he met for the first time) come to visit, he barks but he wags his tail and with each bark, instead of charging forward, he took a step back. He is a good natured, spoiled (I agreed), timid inside but looks fierce outside. He is fiercely protective of me as I am of him.
I was reading a touching article in NZ Herald recently on an article about pets by Zoologist and animal behaviour expert, Sally Hibbard. I fear one day my pet, my companion , my four legged friend will no longer be with me.
Sometimes I wished someone had questioned me
‘Are you sure you want to have a dog?’
I cannot say I have no regrets adopting a dog but now that he is with me, I cannot bear the thought of letting him go. If you are still reading and with me up to this point, he is now sleeping in his doggy bed in my room, safe and sound.
Below is an extract of Sally Hibbard’s article.
As a young adult I worked in a pet store. One fateful day, I saw a tiny ball of orange fluff in the kitten cage fending off its much larger cage-mates to take control of the food bowl. Apparently this ferocious little kitten was found wandering on a farm. Telling my parents I would “just keep him until he is old enough to be re-homed” and knowing I had no intention of doing so, Lawrence and I become best friends for the next eight years.
He grew to a whopping 8-plus kilos, brought home goldfish and feather dusters, terrorised the kids next door in their sandpit and viciously scratched anyone that dared look away while patting him. Lawrence was with me when I left home, and was a constant in my life through dodgy flats and dodgier boyfriends. He was my rock and I loved him.
The day I had to identify Lawrence at the local vet clinic after he was struck and killed by a car is one of my saddest. At the time I was setting up my own pet store, and I remember that same day sitting on a stool while friends and family worked around me painting and helping with the fit out.
I couldn’t believe that everything was just going on as normal. I was in a state of shock and felt like nothing would ever be the same again.
I am certainly not alone in these feelings of grief and loss for a much loved pet, and although there is no magic solution, there are some ways to cope at such a difficult time.
To read her full story, please click here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/relationships/news/article.cfm?c_id=41&objectid=11246130