Christmas is over. I enjoyed time with family and friends and much of that time was shared with my pets. -- and I still have a few days to be at home with them as we approach the New Year. My furry friends have been, and are, a constant reminder of what love and loyalty really are – the great comfort they bring when one has a stressful or difficult day, the joy they bring because they are always happy to see you, the solace they offer when you're ill, and the special companionship they give just simply by “being there.” Pets are truly amazing creatures!
I have been a pet owner since childhood. Both cats and dogs have graced my life and my home. As a child growing up on an Iowa farm, I spent endless hours outdoors, taking care of the animals and walking the woods surrounding our place. Most times, either a dog or cat accompanied me. Those memories transcend time and impact my life today.
I have an office set up at home, a space I use for my writing projects. I am rarely alone in that room. Furry friends surround me: Cody snoozing on a dog bed a short distance from my desk, Mary lying near the office chair, and Murphy either lying right next to the computer or on her cat bed on top of the printer. Often in the midst of my concentration, I pause and glance over at one or all of them – they want to be where I am. Their loyalty and dedication rivals most human friendships … and their presence brings calm to my often chaotic life, especially when I face deadlines. Yes, pets can be a lot of work – walking the dog, entertaining the cat, taking care of them when they're sick (vet bills can be very expensive!), training, food, etc. … but what they give us in return is priceless!
What bonds a pet to a person? People are the caregivers of their pets, feeding, exercising, playing, petting, lounging; we are the guardians. The more one positively interacts with their pet, the stronger the bond. Loyalty is inherent, especially in a dog.
We can learn a lot from our pets, including lessons in loyalty and love. Broken relationships, greed, selfishness and other negative traits often found in humans are rarely displayed in our pets. There’s a saying that goes, “May I become the person my dogs thinks I am.” Such a plaque hangs on my wall. Such a philosophy reigns in my heart.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.