I have always been very busy, and apart from briefly having a rabbit and several tropical fish, I’ve never actually had any domestic pets. Apart from the fact my autistic son is terrified of animals which invade his space, I personally find them too much of a tie.
If you want to go anywhere the majority need quite a bit of looking after. Most, though not all require exercise, are renowned for losing their hair and smell. However, I know many people who consider their pets an integral part of the family and either take them on holiday with them or get house sitters in whilst they are away.
When I lived “abroad” that was a good opportunity for single contractors as it meant they could spend a few days in a "family home" rather than in the company provided "bachelor accommodation". I understand also, that parents are equally useful as pet sitters as they are baby sitters, but for those pet owners who are unable to find suitable surrogate keepers, the only answer is the kennels.
That's if you can afford them as they don't come cheap. I've heard people complain the cost for the pet was almost as much as the actual holiday, and they spent most of their time away wondering if everything was okay. Also of course there are the food and vet bills to consider. Having a pet certainly isn’t cheap and requires a lot of time and effort, but I appreciate some people wouldn’t be without them.
They can be good company and I can think of one woman who claims to think more of her dog than her husband. She says it is always pleased to see her and never lets her down. I suppose she has a point and I thought of her this morning when I received this e-mail. I’ve no idea if it’s true or whether some one just made it up as a nice story but it did make me think so I thought I'd pass it on.
A Dog's Purpose (from a 6 year old)
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact than animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly piped up, "I know why"
Startled, we all turned to him and what came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.