My husband and I have no children, well…at least no human children. We do however have cats and dogs. And, while I know there are some people out there who consider their animals as pets, we consider ours as family. They are basically our kids. Once you really start to think about it, dogs and cats are very child-like. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know that those of you will real kids are probably horrified I said that. And, while I know there is a HUGE difference, I just mean that to those of us with no kids, but who have dogs and/or cats, we can come to invest a lot of emotions into our animals. Also, you have to admit that looking after pets can often be like looking after kids. If you leave them alone for too long, they get into things and cause trouble. They make messes that you have to clean up. They have to be given food and water each day. They need love and attention and play time and together time. There are definitely similarities between animals and kids.
I refer to my husband as “dad” and he refers to me as “mom” when we are talking to or about our animal kids. I mean, any good parent looks after their “kids” and that is what we do. When we adopted them, we took that as a commitment to make sure they were loved and well-cared for all of their lives. And, depending on their species, that can range from 9 years to (fingers-crossed) 20 years.
Pets bring joy, silliness, love and value to our lives. They enrich us and make us better people. They each have their own little personalities and they can go from being sweet and loving to little turd-head monsters that cause trouble. They have feelings and eerily seem to understand ours. And, I truly believe they have souls, just like we do. They are living creatures that deserve to be treated with our respect.
If you decide you want to have a pet as part of your family, I highly encourage you to adopt it from your local rescue group or shelter. I also encourage you to carefully consider what a big responsibility they are. They are an investment in not only your finances (trips to the vet can add up quickly), but your time as well. Petfinder has an informative article you should read before you decide to add a pet to your family. (Petfinder is also a wonderful website that lets you search from hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets for more than 13,000 adoption groups. They are awesome!!)
Paul and I have been together almost 13 years now. In those 13 years we have lost 8 pets. Or, as we have come to look at them, family members. It never gets easier. Actually, I would venture to say that it actually gets harder. Our most recent loss happened just a short time ago on December 12. (Between this and the normal crazy that is holiday time, I have not written my regularly scheduled blog posts.)
Our Rottweiler, Mr. Porter, stopped eating. We went to the vet and did our best to save our boy, but it was not meant to be. He was 10 years and 7 months old. Most Rottweilers only live to about 9 years old. So, all things considered, he lasted longer than the majority do. While that is nice in theory and our vets commended us for being great parents and it makes me feel good on one level, it doesn’t stop my heart from hurting.
Our vets thought it was for the best to spare him from hurting and backed the tough decision we made to have him put to sleep. We couldn’t stand the thought of him being in pain and essentially starving to death, so we realized it was the kindest thing we could do.
The passing of all 8 of our pets has been hard, but this one has been more difficult for these 2 reasons:
So, these last few weeks have been extra tough and stressful. Just trying to get Clancey to eat and take his medicine is enough to cause a nervous breakdown. Thankfully, he has started to eat more normally. A week or so ago, Paul texted me to tell me that he ate a whole can of soft food. It literally made my day! Sometimes it the little things, ya know?
So, to get back around to the title of this blog post, to us our pets are indeed family. I have quite a few friends who also believe this. In the wake of our recent loss, I just wanted to share that. And, below, in remembrance of Porter, I wanted to share some of our most favorite pictures and memories of him.
Rest in peace sweet boy. We will always love you!
The whole reason I started this blog was because I needed to find a way focus on the good things in life. At its core, this blog is for me. I will be honest and up-front about that every time. I started it for my own benefit as I had to have some sort of outlet to force me to look on the bright side. But, honestly, I want to do more to BE the good, rather than just sharing the good. I am in the process of figuring that out for myself. I want to do good things, I want to be helpful to others, I want to volunteer, I want to make a difference. My problem is that I just don’t have the energy to physically do much of anything. I have a family and a full time job. I also have what I now refer to as a “mysterious illness” as I have yet to be correctly diagnosed with anything specific. My “mysterious Illness” limits what I can actually do. It sucks!. Anyway…I digress. The point is, is that I can’t do a lot of stuff that I used to do or more importantly, that I would now like to do. So I will continue to do what I can, and right now that is sharing good stuff with you.
There are a lot of people out there right now who need to see the good and positive things in this life as much as I do. There are a vast number of reasons lately-- that I don’t particularly want to get into--I actually feel like we are all in dire need of this even more today than when I started this blog just a year ago. So far, 2016 has been one heck of a tough year for lots of people. There seems to be a general miasma that we all need to be rid of. So, in that vein, I wanted to share with you two great stories that I came across this week. Both should make you feel good, but for different reasons.
But, before we get to these stories, I would like to share a thought: no matter what is going on in your life, be nice to everyone you come across. It costs you nothing. And, while other people may not be nice to you, by taking the high road and being nice to them, you will feel better about yourself and life in general. And, if you don’t feel like being nice, remember you can always fake it until you make it. Plus, being nice and doing good will come back to you. Just follow the Golden Rule and you will start to feel better about life. I realize it might sound crazy, but there are studies that prove it works!
Here are some links to read up on it if you don’t believe me:
Now, on to the 2 stories I was talking about earlier.
The first one is about Rachel Farnsworth, The Stay at Home Chef. Earlier this year Rachel had someone comment on a video that she posted. The person basically told Rachel that her gray hair made her look like an old hag. How horrible is that? Well, Rachel’s response is FABULOUS! She most definitely takes the high road., which she didn't have to do. Watch the video and read her response right here. She tells us that we should all “Be That Person” – and I agree!
The second comes from Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman. As most of you know, I went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University. And, needless-to-say, I am a huge Cowboy fan. This past Saturday was Bedlam, which is our rivalry football game against the University of Oklahoma (OU). Jenni wrote an article that gets directly to the heart of what good sportsmanship is. Read her piece on “Why OU running back Samaje Perine taking a knee instead of scoring a touchdown was Bedlam’s best play” and I am sure you will have new respect for rivalry games and OU. (Perine is a class-act, as is the OU football program.)
Both of these stories highlight the fact that we just need more love in the world. You can do your part. It is so simple-- just start by being nice and treating others the way you want be treated. I plan on doing everything I can to make this world just a tiny bit better. Won’t you join me?
Sometimes in life you come across some people who are doing such amazing things, that you are just blown away. These people see a need, or feel so strongly about something that they just take action without even thinking about it. This almost seems supernatural to me. Every now and then I come across such people just by being online.
Well, I have noticed lately that some kids have been stepping up to the plate and doing some really amazing things. It started with Campbell. I saw his video posted on Facebook a few days ago. He spends basically every waking moment making stuffed animals to give to sick children. He has the best smile ever! If you haven’t seen this video yet, you must stop everything and watch it. It will make your day!
I thought you guys might like to see not only Campbell’s story, but those of other kids who are doing things to make this world a better place. In doing research on this topic, I came across an uplifting nonprofit: Kids are Heroes.
The mission statement is to empower children from all cultures to become social change agents. By showcasing the stories of hundreds of kids from all over the world who are creating a better planet for all of us, we empower children to effect positive change in the world, among their peers, and especially within themselves. We provide a gateway to leadership, self-confidence, and compassion for all children.
They believe kids are heroes and each one has the power to change the world! Their kids are drilling water wells in Africa, feeding and clothing orphans in India, and standing up for their causes. They are recycling and cleaning up their neighborhoods, helping their local animal shelters and making life better for their neighbors.
Ya’ll the stories they share on their website about the inspirational work these kids are doing makes me cry happy tears. A lot of them! Take for instance Emily Tieu. In 2005 Emily started raising money via garage sales for research on an extremely rate and fatal enzyme disorder called Sialidosis. That year she came across a boy named Tyler who was affected with this horrible disorder. At the time the article was posted, Emily had raised more than $68,000!
So, if you are feeling down about anything in your life, take 5 minutes out of your day and visit Kids are Heroes. If this nonprofit doesn’t lift your spirits and make you feel good, nothing will!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.