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What My Pets Mean to Me

By Linda Cole

There's never been a time in my life when I didn't have a pet in my home. As a kid, I loved being around any animal. Living in the country where we had cows, pigs, chickens and outside cats and dogs, was great. One of my favorite things to do was get up at dawn and head out with my dad to do morning chores, especially in the winter when there was snow on the ground. That's when it was the easiest to see deer in the cornfields digging through the snow looking for corn left over after the harvest. Sometimes, a red fox, coon or possum would pass by. Our dog, Trixie, was always by my side. Together, she and I explored every nook and cranny we could find looking for “treasures.” My brother and sister weren't as adventurous as I was, so Trixie was my friend, my playmate and my protector.

I didn't understand how important Trixie was to me until my folks decided to move into town and give Trixie away. My best friend was given to an older couple in another town who wouldn't take her out running in the fields. I was assured, “She'll be fine and we still have another dog and cats.” But to me, it wasn't fine nor was it fair. I was 12 years old, and my heart was broken.

It's what we learn as kids about life and ourselves that shapes us as we grow. I'm sure my parents had a good reason for giving Trixie away, but I never knew what it was. The lesson I learned was to love each pet every day and never take them for granted.

My pets have always been an important part of my life. They've seen me at my worst and my best. They've been there to comfort me when I needed a friendly and understanding soul to talk to and hold. They've always been a force that helped me maintain a balance when times got a bit rocky. They aren't perfect and neither am I, but we share a mutual respect and a love that will always be there, no matter what.

People have different reasons for why they have pets. For me, my pets give me a purpose and a reason to muddle through everyday life. They complete me and make me smile and laugh just to be around them.

My dogs and cats inspire me every day. They don't care if it's raining or sunny; as long as they are with me, that's what's most important to them and they will walk by my side no matter where I go. That's more than a lot of people would do. People come and go in your life, but when you love a pet, they will always have a place in your heart. Pets have a much simpler way of looking at life, and we can learn from them how to dance in the rain.

Over the years, I've learned to enjoy the quiet things about life because of my pets. I love to sit and watch the dogs when they're outside. They see, smell and hear everything and when I see their ears moving like little radars, I know they're listening to something far away I can't hear. But if I close my eyes and really listen, sometimes I can hear what they hear.

My cats just plain make me laugh. Pogo hops around on his back legs and almost dances when he's trying to catch a string. Kip and Figaro like to drape themselves over my shoulder and contentedly purr in my ear. Jabbers will sit behind me and wait for me to turn around so we can have a chat, and Shaggy, Emma and Kia sit and stare at me sending love kisses with their eyes.

My dog Keikei reminds me so much of Trixie. She has the same kind of energy Trixie had. Keikei loves to run and loves to learn. Of all of my dogs, she's the one who's the most eager to learn new things. She will do anything for her CANIDAE Snap-Bits™, and plops her bottom down when she sees me getting them out. The first time I gave her one of the treats, the peppermint smell was very intriguing to her. I swear, she smiled as she ate it.

I don't know what I'd do without my pets. I definitely wouldn't be happy if I had to go through life without them by my side. They are my pride and joy. Thank you, Trixie, for helping me discover who I am.

Photo by Ben Simo

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