As we prepare to add another dog to our family, I’ve been thinking about how much pets give back to us. They add layers and richness to our existence, they teach us about ourselves and deepen the human experience. I am feeling especially grateful for all the animals that have passed through my life, so I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned as a pet owner:
- The physical stuff we fill our homes with isn’t what’s important. We settle for duct taping our couch instead of buying a new one, buying clothes and carpets that match our pet hair so its less noticeable, instead of being fashionable or trendy.
- The most important judge of character is how you treat other living beings. While we realize not everyone is an animal lover, you will lose humanity points with us for ignoring our pets when you’re in their home. If you can’t be bothered to give a little affection to an animal, we probably don’t want you around our children, either.
- Nonverbal communication is just as important as what you say. Knowing what your pet needs by reading their body language is an acquired skill, one that is useful in dealing with people, also.
- Don’t be afraid of love. We put our hearts out there, knowing pets aren’t blessed with our long life spans. There will be heartbreak at the end of our journey together but love is what makes life worthwhile.
- Love requires attention. It is not a passive emotion, love is a verb. The nudge of a cold nose when it’s time for a play break is a great reminder.
“All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.” -Samuel Butler
What have you learned as a pet owner? Please share!