I never thought I would have these emotions for a non-human. When I was younger, I thought it was strange when people would say they love their pets or have them sleep in their beds or cry over the loss of their furry friend. This was not because I was heartless. It was just a foreign concept to me for someone to have such deep feelings for a canine or feline or other "non-human species."
You see, growing up in Jamaica although we had several dogs, they were kept outside and we did not interact with them much. They weren't really pets, they were just there for us to feed. Their purpose was not for comfort but maybe to protect, ie. barking at visitors. In the middle of the night when we heard them barking, we knew there was something wrong or at least different because it was not that they wanted food, attention or just to go for a walk.
My husband on the other hand had a different upbringing. He raised dogs, cats, snakes, rats--you name it, he likely had it as a pet at some point. He's always had a cat for as long as I can remember. Anyway, just a few months into our marriage he wanted to get a dog. I've never seriously considered getting a dog before. I thought things were great with just the two of us and I didn't want any changes.
I worried about all the added responsibilities we would have. I thought that we would not be able to travel anymore because we had to stay home with the dog, wouldn't have any money for "stuff" because we would spend all our money on taking care of it. I did not want to change anything. I'm a clean freak (as mentioned in previous post) so I worried about not being able to keep a squeaky clean house.
My honey was persistent and not only did he talk about getting a dog, he started talking about babies. This was very early in our marriage and although I love children and always knew I wanted them I was like "whoa hold up, let's get back to the dog."
So, 7 months into our marriage we got Gideon (our Great Dane). Wait, I'll back up a bit. We started to research dogs about 2 months into our marriage. We debated about small vs. medium dogs. I wanted a small dog and he wanted a medium dog--so we compromised and got a very LARGE dog. We thought about getting a Black Russian Terrier but they were too expensive. We visited a farm that bred Great Danes and we decided to get one but I backed out at the last minute. What can I say, I got cold feet. So, we found Gid online months later and purchased him from a breeder in NC.
Gideon K was born in October 2008. We got him at 9 weeks old and weighing only 10lbs. I thought he was the most adorable thing ever and I was instantly in love. He was so soft and cuddly. The first night we got him, I of course had to give him a bath. He was so tiny (with the biggest paws); he could not even go up the stairs. It didn't take long for me to start calling Gid my baby and becoming super protective of him (not knowing that this would be reversed in the future). We watch him rapidly grow from 10lbs to now 120lbs at 22 months old.
Gid is the best dog ever--more than I could have imagined. He is sensitive, loving, protective. Although he is so big he thinks he is a lap dog. He is great with people and other dogs. He is good with kids, usually approaching them with caution. He's a little timid and he's not the best learner but I've read that the breed is like that. Although we don't allow Gid to sleep with us, we do love him and I have cried when he was hurt or sick.
We picked up Eliza K from the animal shelter in June 2010. We went to visit the shelter a few weeks before and fell in love with her. Someone found her in a Walmart parking lot (of all places) and brought her to the shelter. They thought she was about 4 months old. She was so scrawny and weak when we first met her, but yet so sweet. We could not get her right away because the shelter wanted to get her a little healthier first.
We finally brought her home. She is the only other female in our family. Eliza is sweet and adorable. She can be stubborn and naughty at times. She is strong-willed and even more protective than Gideon. At less than 1/3 Gideon's weight, she was bossing him around and seizing his toys. When we first got her she would growl at Gideon whenever she is eating but we had to break her of this habit. Now her and Gid are best friends. They are so sweet to watch.
Ok, my husband would be mad if I didn't talk about our cat. I've called him my stepcat in previous posts but he is our cat. I've joked that he is my stepcat because my husband had him for a year before we were married. His name is Sampson K and he is a Maine Coon. He weighs over 20lbs and he too is very sweet. He allows the dogs to man-handle him without retaliating (although sometimes I wish he would retaliate). Sometimes to get away from the two canine tyrants, he climbs to he highest point in our house and naps there. Sampson has an interesting personality also. He wants to be loved on whenever he is ready. During the summer months we shave him and he hates it. After being shaved he stays mad at us for a few months and gives us an attitude until his hair grows back. He is too funny.
So, I hope it's apparent how much our pets mean to us and how much they are a part of our family. If you told me a few years ago that I would be crying in the vets offfice when told my dog may have bone cancer (thankfully that was not the case) I would not believe you. Or if you told me that I would want my dogs to sleep with us and that I would I love them so much that I could kiss them, I wouldn't believe you. Ok, so even though I've thought about the last two things, no matter how much I love my pet family I cannot bring myself to kiss them or sleep with them. Some things just never change :).
Do you have any good pet stories? If you send me a pet story with pics, I will feature it in on my blog on a future post.