Nearly all the dogs I had eventually got hit by a car because we had no fence. My heart broke each time one of them died, so I finally quit trying.
Although I still love dogs and cats, I have to admit I now put limits on what pets are allowed to do. These limits have drastically changed since my childhood. For instance, I now think it is “yucky” if a person allows a dog to lick him in the mouth. However, I can remember sharing my ice cream cones with the dog when mother wasn’t looking. I’m sure I suffered no ill effect from doing this.
Also, I used to pet the dogs and “forget” to wash my hands before I ate my own food. I didn’t consider any of my pets “dirty.” (This was in my very younger days.) I would NEVER do that now. In fact, as clean as I know our little Izzy is, I wash my hands every time I touch her before they touch food. But then, I took the “Monk” test on the USA website, and it says I should be Monk’s twin sister.
Pets are wonderful additions to our lives. They bring us joy, peace, and protection. Well-behaved dogs and cats are welcomed as visitors at nursing homes because studies have shown that pets have calming effects on us even, in some cases, bringing down blood pressure readings. As Ben Williams once said, “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”
There is a controversy between “cat” people and “dog” people as to which ones make the best pets. Both have limitations, and both have advantages.
The biggest advantage I can see to cats is that they can almost care for themselves as long as they have food, water, and a clean litter box. Unless you get a cat that wants to “claim its territory,” they are fairly clean and very seldom stink.
Cats don’t need more exercise than what they get inside a house. If you give them a few toys to chase, that takes care of the day’s workout. In fact, cats wouldn’t ever have to go outside unless the owners just wanted to take them out.
Dogs, on the other hand, are “high maintenance.” They have to have baths, they have to have exercise, they usually have to go outside to potty, and the owner has to clean up after the dog.
On camping trips we see a lot of people who camp with their dogs. Almost every person to walks a dog has a small plastic bad with them so they can do the clean-up thing.
This is okay with a little dog, but some people had two or more big dogs. One young couple had five dogs with them, and none of the dogs was smaller than a half-grown greyhound. I’m sure if I had a pet dog, I would take it camping with us, but I don’t know how anyone can walk around five big dogs even in a larger camper. When our girls were home and we went camping, it was hard to walk around three children, and I didn’t have to follow them around with a plastic bag. I can’t even imagine having more than one tiny dog.
Even though I choose not to have a pet, I understand the love a person has for one. Our youngest daughter has a dog. I guess I can call her a dog even though she is hardly big enough to be called one. She might be big enough to be called a puppy, but she is four years old.
Her name, Isabella Elizabeth (Izzy for short) Tingler, is longer than she is. She’s only ten inches long not counting her tail and weighs around 6 pounds. She is a Chihuahua, but her coloring is like that of a Doberman pinscher. In fact, she looks like an adult Doberman that has been shrunk to about 1/25 of its size.
I love this little big-dog-wanna-be, and I’m sure she loves me, too, because her ears perk up and she looks at the door when my daughter tells her that “grandma” is coming. When we visit, Izzy comes to my feet and stands on her hind legs. She wants me to sit down so she can crawl up on my lap.
Pets have many different ways to show their love for and devotion to their masters. My brother and sister-in-law befriended an old, wild cat that appeared one day in their Florida backyard. For over a year, they put out food and tried to make friends with the cat, but it had nothing to do with either one of them. It wouldn’t even come close to be petted.
They considered it to be theirs, but cats are so finicky, they never knew if the feelings were returned until one summer day. My sister-in-law was putting food in the cat’s dish when the cat started coming toward her. She was rather concerned because she didn’t know what the cat intended to do and whether or not it was rabid.
The old cat came closer and closer. Finally, it reached my sister-in-law and purred for several minutes against her legs as though it was saying, “Thank you.” The cat ate its food and walked off. That was the last time they ever saw the cat.
Pets have been immortalized in stories such as “Old Yeller,” “Lassie, Come Home,” and “Lady and the Tramp.” They have had poems and songs written about them.
We don’t have room to mention all the titles, but we can mention some quotes that are dear to the hearts of dog owners. I’m sure they also apply to cats.