Many of us have pets-loyal companions, always there when you need them.
My dog Bagel has been with me for eleven years. He is “the love of my life” as I like to coo into his ear as I kiss the top of his cold, wet nose. No matter how many books or one-of-a-kind sandals he chewed as a puppy, nor how many times I have had the carpets cleaned because he has shown his anger by lifting a leg, nor how many times I’ve cleaned up throw-up at 3am, or even the countless sleepless nights I’ve watched over him because he has gotten into my private stash of chocolate, he still remains one of the most important beings in my life.
At night, before I go to bed, I say a few words to God, asking for another set of eyes to watch over my family or help ease their pain in some way, Bagel is always included. He is right up there with my family, and rightfully so, because he is my family.
During this difficult economic time, I read or hear stories of pets being abandoned because their owners can no longer afford to take care of them. This cuts me to the core because I feel that taking care of my dog is just as important as taking care of myself. If I had one piece of bread, you can bet I would cut it in half and share it with Bagel.
Maybe my attachment to Bagel is odd to some people because he is an animal, not a human-a fact I am well aware of. To be clear, I am not one of those pet owners that dresses their dog up, strolling them around town pretending they are human. I am that pet owner, however, that takes off a day of work to nurse a sick dog to health as I would if I had a child of my own.
I never leave the house without saying goodbye or telling Bagel that I love him just as I never let a family member go on a vacation without telling them the same. Bagel has been there when I’ve cried over a broken heart; he’s been there when I’ve danced and sang because something spectacular has happened; he’s been there waiting at door to greet me after a long, tiring day at work; he has just BEEN THERE. He is the most loyal companion I could ever ask for and I am constantly grateful for his adoring eyes, his waging tail, and his soft fur I can bury my face into when I need to feel loved.