I walk through the front door, and there is someone yelping with joy and dying to see me. Could it be my kids? No, I don’t think so. My husband? Well, probably not! But, it is my doggies … my sweet fat “Toby”, a playful fun-loving hot dog and “Bella”, our Chihuahua that I “stole” from my oldest daughter, Christine, when she moved to Costa Rica. When she came back home, “Bella” had become my baby, and I would not give her back!
Since that time, Christine and her husband got a cute Pug/Chihuahua mix who they named “Chico”. Meet “Chico” – he is a rascal – runs, runs, runs and he loves to pay outside!
And, our pets, the love our lives, are not just dogs, and they come in all shapes, types and sizes!!!! I have friends who cherish their dogs, cats, iguanas, cows, chickens, birds, turtles, and fish – just to name a few. Our “pets” warm our souls and keep us company … even when no one else seems to be around.
Meet “Suivre”, a six year old cat that is my friend Karen’s constant companion. Karen often travels out of state for her work assignments. Over the last year, Suivre has traveled with Karen to Columbia, South Carolina; Warrenton, Virginia and Oklahoma. I might also mention, check out the “flea collar” sitting next to Suive. As you can imagine, the choice was hers NOT to wear the flea collar!
Say hello to our friend, Bundy’s, dog “Cashmere.” He actually is a male, and he got his name from Bundy’s dad’s best friend. Bundy says, “Cashmere is my child. I have had him for 16 years and can’t imagine my life without him. It’s so nice to come home at the end of the day to a little fur baby who is so excited and happy to see me. His snuggles and kisses just seem to make life better!”
My niece, Beth, and her family have all types of pets: dogs, cats, chickens, and hamsters to name a few. Here is a snapshot of “Tinkerbell”, Beth’s sweet Guinea Pig who came to their family two years ago. Beth shares, “She is quite friendly and dramatic! She has a healthy appetite and will let you know she is HUNGRY, frequently! Her whistle is hilarious and demanding at the same time!”
Look what the cat dragged in!! Beth also shares a picture of “Camo,” her “sweet boy.” Beth and her family have two cats, but she says, “Camo’s tender personality and cool camouflage pattern has set him apart in my heart, and I, personally, love him tremendously. He was born this summer and has been with us since!”
Welcome my friend, Candi’s, dog (or as Candi says “Baby Girl Mandy”). Candi snapped the below pic of Mandy doing her second least favorite thing, riding in the car (getting a bath would be #1). She is a chocolate lab and Sheppard mix. Candi shares, “Mandy came to live with me after her home situation became intolerable. I had just lost my Baily to stomach cancer and wasn’t looking for a new pet, but I guess we needed another. I often joke that I have a broken dog … she hates the beach, car rides, and water of any sort. But she is a good protector and loves her people.”
Meet my cousin, Lori’s, “Pokey.” Lori has had Pokey for 26 years and he will be 32 in March! “I’ve had him since I was 6.” In Pokey’s younger years, Lori says, “I would go trail riding with him for hours and hours every weekend. He was very feisty and would buck a lot – always made me giggle. I never fell off of him, and we would ride very fast and crazy. He is very wise, very smart and just a cutie.”
So what is our obsession about our fur babies and four-legged family members? What does having room in our hearts for our animals say about us? I think it says we understand that pets are cheaper than therapy. (Well, maybe not always cheaper than therapy – but they are a lot more fun!)
And there are certainly lots and lots of great reasons to have pet companions, not the least of which are health benefits.
Research has shown that pets can help lower blood pressure and can lessen anxiety as well as boost our immunity.
For elderly people who are able, walking a dog or just caring for a pet, can provide exercise and companionship.
Most pet owners would agree their “special companions” fill their hearts with love, and pets are a great way to beat “the blues”. Pets also combat feelings of loneliness by providing companionship. Anyone with a pet knows they certainly make great friends! (And pets are such great listeners!)
Wow, I have learned these past weeks HOW excited people are to share stories and pictures of their pets. My friends and family were delighted to share how their “favorite buddies” have enriched their lives.
So, I know I don’t need to remind you to please give your “pet” a hug today and show them how much you love them and appreciate their companionship and unconditional love!
Please stay tuned for “Part 2” which I will share in the upcoming months. We will hear from specials folks who devote their time and attention to assisting with pet adoptions, helping pets in other ways and much more!
Clare, AKA Toby and Bella’s Mom