“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France, Nobel Prize Novelist
Ah Spring, the season for love, and what more pure love than that of a pet? Whether it’s a cat, dog, fish, bird, rabbit, horse, or whatever your delight, their love is like no other. Pets endear our hearts and photos so why not on the blog too for this month’s Changing Focus blogging challenge?
Interpret this challenge on Pets however and in whatever format you prefer – photos, narrative, and/or music. Whether it’s a current pet stealing your heart, one cherished from childhood, or perhaps one from the neighborhood like the darling Westies I visit on my daily walks — or even why you don’t have a pet, it’s your call. Just remember to add Changing Focus blogging challenge as a tag and provide a link to your response in a comment on this post.
April 11th is the annual date for National Pet Day!
You can expand your love for all animals by volunteering or donating for their care. Click on any button for more information on these worthy organizations:
Original Definitions of Pet – In 1539 it meant a lamb or other domestic animal raised by hand. By 1568 it also meant a favorite or pampered child.
Contemporary Definitions of Pet – Noun: any tamed or domesticated animal kept for companionship or pleasure and cared for affectionately. Verb: stroke or pat an animal affectionately. Adjective: denoting a thing that one denotes special attention to or feels particularly strongly about.
- Two out of three American homes have a pet
- In the EU, the top three favored pets are cats, dogs, and ornamental birds
- Over 30 million pet dogs are forecasted to live in India by 2023
- 95% of American pet owners consider their pets family members
- Over 50% of cat and dog owners give their pet a Christmas gift or treat
- 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters every year
- Over 1,700 dogs and cats are killed every day in shelters, just because they don’t have safe places to call home
- 12% of adults with kids under 18 adopted pets due to ccp/covid
- More than 67% of American households have at least one pet
- Approximately 40% of dog owners and 46% of cat owners learned about their pet through word of mouth
“It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.”
― Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life As an Animal Surgeon
As for me, I grew up loving dogs, cats, horses, ponies, fish, parakeets, and even a raccoon — mostly because my (now deceased) brother was a natural Dr. Doolittle of sorts. He gave me my first cat and every dog I’ve had in my adult life.
Such was the Belgian Malinois who became my soul mate during some challenging times. When she traversed to Rainbow Bridge 11 years later, I thought no other could replace her. But my brother gifted me the next year with a border collie pup who came trotting into my home and heart…
Cèilidh’s Bess lived up perfectly to her name. Confidently nosing her way into our drum circles, she would then lie down in the midst of the drums, relishing the beat.
(A cèilidh is a traditional Scottish [or Irish] social gathering often with dancing and Gaelic folk music at a house party or larger hall.)
After 14.5 glorious years together, Bess crossed to Rainbow Bridge. She tried to ease my heartbreak by waiting until I was in Scotland of all places. This long-awaited trip of a lifetime included a stay at the Clachan Farmhouse which is a working border collie/sheep farm. You can imagine my bittersweet sorrow when Rocky the border collie greeted me, and then as we viewed the rainy sheepdog trials a few days later in Thurso, Scotland.
“My philosophy when it came to pets was much like that of having children: You got what you got, and you loved them unconditionally regardless of whatever their personalities or flaws turned out to be. ”
― Gwen Cooper, Homer’s Odyssey
Millie the Jungle Cat arrived a few years after Bess and is still with us. She was rescued from an urban environment because she continually howled and hung on the screen door demanding to be outside. I’m allergic to cats so it works for both of us that she loves her heated house in winter.
In milder seasons, Millie can be found relaxing in the shade of my flower beds after roaming the acreage for exercise and adventure. She use to spectate Frisbee games with Bess and will hopefully get along with the next canine to come along.
As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, my heart is longing for another canine garden companion. My brother is no longer here to guide me (he passed only months after Bess). But, having herding dogs for the last 30 years, I’m leaning toward Australian shepherds and border aussies while those West Highland terriers (Westies) tug at my partially Scottish genes. I’ve also discovered border schnollies in my perusal and am confident the right dog will appear at the right time. But, I must admit….I’m hoping it will be SOON!
Image credits in order of appearance:
All still images by Write Gardener
Video by Wendy J. Francisco