They’re pesky, and needy, and lovable and fluffy – all in one big bunch. And the need to feed them and care for them doesn’t just go away. Well, until they die of course, there’s really no use feeding a dead dog. Unless you’re into that. This is a judgement free zone.
A year ago we rescued a Walking Treeing Coonhound 60 minutes before she was due to be euthanised. She weighed 32 pounds, cowered at our every touch and constantly looked for places to hide from us – all from the cruelty she had witnessed in her life before us. It took months of working with her to convince her that this past life, this horrible life she had lived, was over – it was done, and now we were only here to love her.
I’d like to say that now she’s a good girl – and really, she mostly is. She gets along with our gentle natured lab, but she steals from the counter every chance she gets, she tears up any item you may hold dear (I swear she has a way of knowing which items these really are), and she takes great joy in directly disobeying you. This is no joke, you can see the joy in her eyes when she hears “No,” but decides “Fuck that word.” But she doesn’t cower from pets anymore, she weighs double what she did before, and she spends most of her time making herself at home in our bed. When we go for walks she decides where we go. She’s pushy, obstinate, and vocal – and really, we love it. She’s the perfect counterpart to our people-pleasing, quiet, loyal lab who wouldn’t dream of doing something to upset her human counterparts.
In that last few months the act of feeding my pets has brought about a realization, a routine really. My husband, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, is an Active Duty Airman. He’s currently deployed, and while I struggle with depression and anxiety when he’s here, it always starts to feel like more of a losing battle while he is gone. The lack of someone to take care of, to please and cook for and love and be around every day takes something from me. Maybe it’s a sense of purpose or it’s really just a distraction from all the things on the never ending list of things to deal with. A way of hiding from them, putting in place a convenient blinder to avoid it all.
Feeding the dogs gives me a reason to get up. Sure, you can lay in bed all day and feel bad for yourself. But when you have another living creature depending on you – then you need to get up. You need to love them and pet them and walk them and brush them and generally deal with them being up your ass with how much they love you. Which really does help.
You have this creature, that for whatever reason, thinks the very sun shines out of your asshole. You’re the best thing ever to them. And how great is that? All you had to do was give them some Purina and throw a ball and all of the sudden you are the best thing ever. You can do no wrong.
When it’s time to go bed, there they are, one at my feet, the other at my side, making sure that, truly, I never sleep alone. You get to wake up to cold, wet noses in your face. The best kiss the animal kingdom can offer.
Pets (and in my biased opinion, dogs) are one of the best things to happen to the human race. Embrace them. Love them. Play with them. Give them too many treats. They’re with us for far too short of a time, and really we all need more treats.