Why I love animals

Last night, I came home late after an evening event. It had been a long day and an even longer week. (Have I mentioned how happy I am that it's Friday?) When I walked through my front door, I was just wiped out and all I really cared about was getting into my pjs and relaxing (i.e. sleeping).

Jessie, my nearly 3 year old yellow lab, met me at the front door. She saw me walk in and instead of her usual super-excited to see me routine - which constitutes a banging tail, lots of kisses and the occasional sneeze and snort - she just quietly sat and faced me. In a split second, she gauged my mood and waited patiently for me to leave my day at the door and drop down on one knee so she could proceed with the aformentioned greeting. It took me a moment, and she waited without moving a muscle. I sighed. I dropped my bag, kicked off my shoes and sat on the floor with her for a few minutes while she brought me nearly every toy from her toy box. I forgot about my day, my pounding headache, all the things left undone, and my fatigue, and I just played with my dog without speaking a single word. It was like the day washed away from me in mere seconds.

It was at that moment that I realized how grateful I am to have Jessie in my life, how much I love animals, and how they have been a constant source of love and comfort my entire life.
I grew up with a black lab named Sam and a Siamese cat named Charlie. I grew up an only child but Sam and Charlie were my constant companions. When I was in kindergarten, I apparently told the teacher that I had two older brothers. When she inquired my mother as to why my mom's other kids were not in school, my mother had to kindly inform the teacher that I was referring to the family pets.

(Top -Lucy, Bottom - Linus) My two current cats are Linus and Lucy. We rescued them after 9/11. Both cats had been displaced several times and had been previously abused. When we got Linus and Lucy, they each weighed about 4 pounds and were absolutely terrified, not to mention filthy and frail. While Linus will never trust strangers, Lucy is always around and wants to meet anyone we have over. For the smallest creature in the house, she runs the show and makes sure she tells everyone exactly how she's feeling at any given time. Helping those cats lead normal, happy lives has taught me a thing or two about forgiveness, and about how resilient we all can be to survive even the worst of circumstances.

I talk for a living. All day long, I talk, I type, I email, I sit on conference calls and never-ending strategy meetings. But when I'm with my dog or my two beautiful Siamese cats, I don't have to utter a single word. We can be silent and still communicate just fine. I've read articles that talk about how healthy it is for people to have pets - they lower blood pressure and make us live longer. They also can teach us a thing or two about life.

Lessons I've learned from my pets:

1. Live each day in the present.
2. Never turn down a massage.
3. Naps are great.
4. A long walk is the perfect way to end the day.
5. Talking is not the only way to communicate.
6. Everyone should have a little catnip.
7. Everyone should snuggle.
8. Everyone loves treats.
9. Forgiveness is easier than we think.
10. Laughing fixes almost everything.

And so rather than spending any more time on my computer today, I'm choosing to shut it down and go play in the yard with my dog. After all, she's waiting patiently for me.


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