Older Than Dirt: Going to the dogs

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

When I was growing up I always told myself that I would NEVER be one of those weird people who treats their dogs as if they are children. I could not understand why anyone would seemingly prefer the company of a pet over their own child.

Well, that was then and this is now! When your kids grow up and leave home, I think all parents find themselves appreciating their pets more and more. They not only love you unconditionally, but they do not talk back, they do not complain about being bored, and they do not borrow money! They do not expect you to cook for them, and do not expect to be taken out to dinner on their birthday. In fact, they do not know when their birthday is unless you tell them.

When my adult son was here visiting this week, he made mention that I obsess over my current dog. What does that mean exactly, to obsess over a dog? Do I love her too much? Do I care for her too much? She is 13 years old, has a heart defect, and probably will leave this good earth sometime during the year. Does it really matter that she is a dog? If your dog does not become family, why would you have a dog? My question exactly. Would I give her a kidney if she needed one and it was feasible? I would have to say yes. Would I go without food to pay for her medicine? Of course. Just like I would do for any family member.

This dog is certainly not my first dog, but will likely be my last. Hmmmm ... I believe I have said that before. I know I don't want a young dog who might outlive me and end up with no place to go when I am gone. And adopting an older dog, nearly always requires a lot of vet bills. So, maybe this will indeed be my last dog.

My mother loved dogs. She loved all living things, but dogs were for sure her favorite. She so loved them that when I was a kid she would manage to get all the strays into our garage when the dog catcher was lurking around. She could whistle like a sailor at a strip club. She would stand in the middle of the front yard and whistle loud enough to be heard throughout the neighborhood. My sister and I would open the garage door, and they would come a runnin'. Once the coast was clear, we opened the garage and they would all leave.

At some point in our lives we not only learn to appreciate the trees, flowers, birds etc. But we also gain a much deeper understanding of the joy that having an animal in the house can bring. Not just as something for kids to play with, but rather a gift that we should cherish for however long we are blessed to have them. We most likely will outlive them, but life is never the same once they are gone.