Growing up, my home was somewhat located in the country. I did not have many friends, so my pets were mostly my friends. I can distinctly remember each one of my dogs. It is very easy to bond with an animal because they love you no matter what. I always had that nurturing sense of responsibility. My pets relied on me & I wanted to make sure & take care of them. I loved spending time with my dogs. They followed me everywhere, were my playmates, great listeners, & had the internal intuition to stay beside me when I was sick.
As I have said many times, I did not have the ideal childhood (I’m @ peace with it & I’m very grateful for my childhood). My father could be a bit cuckoo (sorry dad, I’m just writing a post here & everything’s good) back in the day when he would have one of his many alcoholic fits. Sadly, sometimes the pets would become the victims of abuse as well. As a child, I remember many episodes where I felt helpless. I was not able to protect myself, much less my animals. I will not go into descriptions about this one incident or the many others that followed. However, fast forward 20 + years & those events would make for life altering experiences with my relationship involving animals. The operative word is “Were.”
I had no idea the impact those experiences had on me. For most of my married life, the gent & I agreed on, “No Pets…Ever!” I never thought much more about it, until my second son was in middle school. He started to mention to the gent & I that he wanted a dog. He asked if we would get him a dog if he made honor roll. Okay, forgive me for this, but have you ever committed to something, because honestly you did not think it would actually come to fruition? Yep, that’s me… Negative Nancy. At least I ADMIT IT!
Sawyer ended up making honor roll & I am the kind of girl that if I say I am going to do something, for the most part, I do it.
We adopted a puppy & wanting to make sure it had the BEST life, I started watching National Geographic’s show called, “The Dog Whisperer” with Cesar Millan. I watched every show that aired, & read (several times, actually) every one of his books. I read other books too, but I especially related to Cesar. Not everyone is a fan of Cesar’s philosophies, but I think much along the same lines as he does when it relates to animals. There is a plethora of knowledge in them & highly recommend you read them.
In Cesar’s first book, he has a few chapters about the psychological aspects of how we treat, & relate to our pets. I read the chapter several times, because truthfully when I read the chapter, I started to think the guy was one can short of a six-pack.
I will try to briefly discuss what he said. He says that the way we treat our dogs & why we actually get dogs/ pets is to fulfill a need in us that we are not getting from somewhere, or someone. We attach our emotions & experiences in life with our pets. In addition, in some strange universal way the animals choose us. We subconsciously seek the dog that we need to ultimately fill the void. We need to heal something inside us. We NEED the balance in our lives that only the animal can bring. Do most people realize this? No! You have to listen & become intuitive.
Cesar goes on to talk about the way the animal kingdom works in general, & uses thought-provoking analogies.
I decided to test his philosophy. I also started to analyze my relationship with our new pup.
So here is what I realized:
In the beginning of my story, I spoke about my inability as a child to be able to really protect my pets from harm when my dad had an episode. Bingo… Bingo was his name ohhh…(insert ADD moment while I sing this verse)…
That is why I never wanted to have any pets throughout my adulthood. I had this sense of deep sadness when I thought about having to care for an animal. I would have panic symptoms from just the thought of it. Like… what if something happened & I could not protect it, or financially care for it. I was never going to do that. Moreover, the cardinal sin would have been to get a pet & have to get rid of/ give it away. That would never happen (another experience with a pet that caused this deep seeded fear). I’m a wackadoo, I know.
I also realized deep down why I always wanted a dog, but was afraid. I was @ an age where I knew I was never going to have any more children In life, hence the need to have something to care for/ dote on/ dress up (I was that dog owner that had full-blown wardrobes for the pup with matching accessories/hair bows for each outfit). I wanted a small dog; hence, it would never grow up in my eyes. I wanted a girl dog, hence I never had any sisters in life to bond with & @ the time in my life I needed unconditional love & affection; hence dogs give that to us times a thousand.
It makes sense. Do you have a dog/cats/ pets? Try it out. Think about it for a few minutes. You might find I am not a crazy woman after all.
I really believe that whether we as humans realize it or not, we do everything in life for a reason. If we really begin to observe the choices & actions we make everyday, we will start to see everything for what it is. On the other hand, what Heavenly Father is trying to teach us? If we open our hearts, & observe why & what choices we are making, we will begin to see the underlining meaning in each decision. We’re here to learn, & yes, to ANALYZE! I know I have a strong inquisitive mind, & that is not a mistake. We all have a purpose. The question is to ask yourself, are you going to use those blessings & great gifts, or are you going to dismiss them? I am going to use mine.