Pets (I am trying to find a better name than this) can be a very huge part of our lives. Some people, such as myself and my wife, have them at the center of our world. We make all our plans around them. They become surrogate children for childless couples. They live in our care for years, and are there for good times and bad. They don’t hold a grudge. You could have the worst day and there is nothing better than coming home and being greeted by a dog jumping with joy on your return, tails wagging faster than your eyes could keep track of, tongues hanging out of mouths anxiously waiting to slobber you with wet, sloppy doggie kisses. Or a cat, stealth, regal and elegant, running to you and doing their magic of acrobatic circles of love and affection around and between your legs, with you doing all you can not to trip.
Then there are those days when you feel like crap. Every where hurts, every breath you take burns your lungs and your trachea closes in, resisting every intake of breath, making you want to cough that precious air out as soon as it breathes its life giving force into your chest. Your head hurts and all you want to do is curl up on the couch or in bed and sleep. And just when you thought that life was at its lowest point and you begin to lose faith in ever feeling better, that little warm body (or bodies if you are lucky like me) curl up next to you and you feel the love and support emanating from that little friend next to you. You place your hand on that smooth silky fur and you smile, even though you don’t want to. You have to, and life is good again, at least for a bit.
My babies would come next to me when I have a cluster headache and lick my forehead and I don’t know what it is, but they know, and it makes my headache better. I don’t care if my head is all slobbered and wet from dog spit. I don’t think anyone, not even my wife is going to come and try to lick my pain and discomfort away. If my heart as an A-fib, or tachycardia, they know and they come and press against me, supporting me, letting me know that everything is going to be okay.
That’s the thing with or little friends. Their love is totally unconditional. They ask for nothing or expect nothing in return. Just a little food and a lot of love. And they deserve it. When I have the opportunity to take a mid afternoon nap, I look forward to sharing my space with our beautiful dogs and cat. And everyone has their self assigned spot. The cat curls on my belly, the youngest dog curls up under my knees and butt, my middle dog curls up against my back, and our eldest goes up on my pillow and curls above my head. To someone that won’t have an animal on their bed, you have no idea how special you feel when you are surrounded with love in this way. I may not be able to move, but I don’t care.
So to all my animal babies that have cared for me and that I have had the honor and joy to care for over my fifty years on this planet, I thank you all for the unconditional love that you gave me, and for the silent support in the times I needed it, and for the times I wasn’t even aware that you were doing it.