We are pet people. Before we had our own children, we had dogs, cats, and fish. In college, we took the dog and cat with us everywhere–walking at the park, camping in the woods, to friends’ houses, and back home to mom’s house, and yes, the cat, too. People knew if they invited us, they were getting a dog and possibly a cat as part of the package. They were given free donuts and chicken nuggets at fast food windows; they were our study partners; they were our Friday night dinner company. They were our family.
And really, not much has changed. We’ve thrown in a few kids on top of the dog and cat, but for the most part, they are still part of the family. I know for those non-pet people out there it’s like I’m speaking another language as I try to convey the sheer joy they bring to our lives, but it’s true. We know them. We talk to them. They really do try to talk back. They are always excited to see us, and they also seem to always know when something is not quite right.
As I sit here trying to talk myself out of having a stomach bug, I have the big, sad eyes of our Marley looking up at me, and nuzzling my knee. Our Chrissy is sitting near me, but not on me-swatting my fingers as I type. Rarely are they both so close to me at the same time. And, because I love them, I’m going to feel comforted by the fact that they know I’m not 100% right now–and that they are trying their best to get me back on track.
Pets are good like that. They just always seem to know.