In our household and with extended family, the conversation often strays to the fuzzy companions that grace each of our homes. My family constantly makes comments alluding to the fact that our dog (of over ten years), Jack, clearly likes me better than anyone else in our house, and about how he is often not quite as personable with others.
I got to thinking about this, and to me, there are very clear reasons for why that is.
- I’m the one who feeds him.
- I’m the one who gives him water.
- I’m the one who walks him.
- I’m the only one who lets him lay on me.
- I listen to him (yes, I listen to my dog. He talks to me when he wants something: “snuffing” for yes; no comment for no).
- I buy the treats.
- I treat him to small bites of cheese in the mornings.
Now, my family does do things with Jack. They do things with the dog when they want to do things. When they feel like having a dog, they do things (or if I’m yelling at them to do things, then they do things). However, I’m the one watching the signs and helping Jack when he needs something. For example, Jack could go outside every two hours and pee, and often he will indicate he wants to go out every two hours like clockwork. If I feel any empathy for Jack’s poor bladder (and if I want no accidents) I accomodate Jack and take him out whenever he signals. If I wasn’t home, Jack would probably be ignored and taken out maybe when someone remembers him or steps in a wet spot.
Jack is always happy to see me when I get home from work. That makes me feel good. When you have had a dog that long, you read in bed together, watch tv together, and you talk to him. He knows I appreciate him, and he appreciates me.
There’s a difference between having a pet and caring for your pet. If you care for your pet, you get to know your pet, and they’re much more of a companion to you then a burden (like Jack is to my kids). I feel very blessed to have such a companion in my life, and I regret that the rest of my family doesn’t seem to make such bonds.
If you have a pet you feel the same about, comment and tell me about them!