Remember your pets growing up? I certainly do. We were a family with lots of kids, critters, and chaos, but we had a lot of fun! I’m sure people must have though my mother had the patience of Job, and she must have, because we all survived and are fairly well adjusted as adults.
One thing is for sure, allowing us the chance to care for precious creatures gave us a healthy respect for animals and for our fellow human beings. It wasn’t always easy, and there was and is still sometimes heartache, but having each other and our furry friends made the journey much better, with great stories to tell!
Betsy the Beagle
One of our most memorable pets was Betsy (the mother of the puppies pictured above.) She was a little thing, but she was smart as a whip, often outsmarting us kids. She knew exactly which day was trash day, and she would wait for one of us to go outside the front door, and would be out in an instant. She would run as fast as her little legs could take her and would make the neighborhood her all-you-can-eat buffet. She probably was not a favorite with the neighbors, now that I think about it.
We thought it would be cute to teach her to sit up and beg. Being highly motivated by food, she learned this trick so well that her backside became permanently flat. She did this whenever there was food around. The takeaway lesson from this was to make sure you truly think through the tricks you teach your pets!
One hot day, Betsy apparently had no water. Being one of many small needy persons who require attention, it can be tough to get what you need when your cohabitants are a bunch of loud-mouthed kids. So she did her best to get Mom’s attention. She started licking the fish tank. When we still didn’t get the message, she finally took a mug off a low shelf and held it in her mouth and begged! Betsy taught us how to speak up, and be creative when you need something done.
Love through the tough times
One of the things pets teach us is unconditional love. When we are struggling, our pets are there for us. They know when to lay with us when we’re sick or have a broken heart. But another important lesson is learning how to be there for an injured or ill pet. I learned about the preciousness of life through the pain of their death, and those experiences prepared me for tougher lessons down the road.
Having learned the lessons of life and death gave me a greater understanding to be a steady presence when my other friends experienced difficulties. My dogs taught me that you don’t have to know the right words to say. Just being close by and sharing the burden is enough to show you care.
Pets never go out of style!
While reviewing old photographs of me and my siblings with our pets, one thing that stood out to me is the fact that pets are ageless. It doesn’t matter how horrid our hair or fashion was or is, animals always look cute! And they have a way of redeeming horrible photos with their precious presence! So get out your camera and take some pictures with the critters and kids! You’ll be glad you did. Someday the kids will thank you with sweet memories of their favorite animals.
We hope you’ll send in your best/worst photos of you and your pets. We’d love to hear your favorite memories too! To be fair, I’ll include a dorky one of me. Got to love the 80s hair, and orthodontia!