Animals are a gift of life. They are sentient beings who need our love, time, attention, affection, and care. They repay us with unconditional acceptance, devotion and love. They are our teachers, our guides, and our confidants. Often times, they are also our healers. They provide us with the opportunity to drop the mask and be authentically who we are. The mere act of petting an animal provides a soothing effect for most of us.Their presence in our lives has been scientifically proven to increase our longevity.
They teach us to live in the moment. If we adopt when it is young we are privileged to watch it grow into adulthood - similarly, we see ourselves through them. They grow old and die. The cycle of seasons are inevitable.
Like most families, we had several pets throughout the years- dogs, cats and others. Pop had a ferret named Rosco who used to ride in the front pocket of his wool lumberjack shirt and eat peanuts. I had a box turtle for a few months that was eventually freed in Noxintown Lake, where Robin Williams movie The Dead Poets Society was filmed. There were a few dogs-and many cats. We always had pets around the house from the time I was a tiny child. I took the last cat with me after I sold the house a decade ago.
I don't remember the names of some of these precious little souls. Some of them only lived a short while; others had a lifespan of more than a generation. But I was touched by all of them and made a more sensitive, considerate person for their existence. For their lives, I am thankful.