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!
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.