• Stephanie Dawson

Ode to Pets

Not long after my son was born, we learned that he had a strong allergy to cats. Of course, we had a cat. And of course, we had to do something about this clash. We did what any self-respecting cat owner would do in this situation – we shipped Rosie, our beloved cat, off to California from London. After a rough start in life being homeless, then forced to co-exist with a human baby, her new existence in a retirement community with my in-laws was nothing short of heaven. Yay for in-laws! And yay for cats living the dream!


Life seemed a bit emptier, though, so we got a Boston Terrier dog we named Harry (another solid British name). As much as I adore cats, they can be complex and a bit crazy, so Harry's arrival was thrilling. The slight glitch to this plan is that he is truly awful. Bonkers. He falls in the top 0.000000000001% of mean dogs who hate every other living creature, humans and dogs included, except those in his very tiny inner circle. Harry takes anti-depressants, cbd oil, and whatever else we can legally give him to help ‘take off the edge’. He is blind in one eye, so not only does he look a bit off, but he constantly runs into walls and knocks over objects that he can’t see. Bonus: He can't see the enemy dogs that walk by him on the right side! He has a worn down nub for a tail that makes him look even more off, he has miscellaneous bumps and rashes on his body that support his nomination for the ‘world’s ugliest pet’ award, he especially hates little old ladies in wheelchairs, and he has a frightening obsession with playing the game of fetch.


But he is perfect.


Harry actually snorts when he is happy. He would lick/kiss someone (in his inner circle only) all day if he could. Every night he begins his sleep in my daughter’s bed, under her covers stretched alongside her body, and then ends up in mine next to me. When I am practicing yoga and do a down dog (no pun intended!), he stands on the mat under me, and only just barely moves if I plop down on top of him. To all of you Yoga with Adriene traitors, I mean followers: she isn't the only one whose dog hangs around while doing yoga!! It's just that Harry might scare off a few people if they saw him. Most importantly, as much as I know my dog would rip your throat out if I let him loose on the street, he would never, ever, ever lay an aggressive paw on my kids.


Back to Rosie the cat. My in-laws had to put her down recently, and this event caused me to pause for a moment about the relatable concept of bringing furry friends into our homes. We willingly choose to take on the training, fur on our furniture, responsibility, vet bills, bad habits, and countless other problems, when we could just as easily not have a pet. I couldn’t make this up if I tried, but while writing this piece my husband actually yelled from downstairs after stepping in a pee puddle that Harry left in the hallway. !! So why do we have pets? Life would certainly be more simple without them. But also just a little bit worse. Harry had true regret in his eyes when I (yes, me, not my dear hubby) cleaned up the puddle, or should I say he had regret in his one eye?! He he.


If you don’t like animals, I am going to be honest – I am suspicious of you. I can only think of two reasons I will accept, which are 1) some sort of animal bit or attacked you when you were young, and 2) you have an unfortunate animal allergy. That is about all.


The moral of the story? Get a pet. If you aren’t sure, try a starter pet like a fish or a hamster…not my favorites, and you won’t get unconditional love from them, but they will get you on the right track to hopefully a dog or a cat someday. Animals are remarkable. And if you take the plunge but find that it doesn't work out, I’m sure your in-laws might like some extra company. 😊

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