By Janice Brown
I grew up with a dog, adopted a cat in college, and have had pets in my life ever since. In the past three years, however, my family has lost two cats and two dogs. After the recent passing of our dog Luna I found myself living in a home with no animals for pretty much the first time ever. It was brutal; I lasted about three days before I ran out to get a fish.
My 11-year-old walked in the kitchen the next morning as I was asking in my highest, squeakiest, baby voice, “Are you hungry? Do you want breakfast?” Given that there was no one else in the room, she looked at me like I was crazy. When I told her I was talking to the fish, she confirmed her suspicion and for the first time in her life asked if I wanted to go take a break to relax.
While we are family of animal lovers, it is my youngest daughter, Avery the animal whisperer, who was feeling the pain of a paw-less house more than anyone. It was as if her soul was withering away without the presence of an animal. Every time she would get upset about something, big or small, it always ended with the same plea: “I need a dog! I need someone to cuddle with, and to talk to when I’m sad. I will never do ‘fill-in-the-blank’ again if you just get me a dog!”
Not being ready to commit to adding a new dog to the family, we knew we had to get creative.
Dimples is the amazingly happy and easy-going 1-year-old Pit Bull we are fostering from Felines and Canines shelter. When Dimples and Avery met to play ball in the yard, both of their smiles grew visibly wider. This goofy, solid, tank of a dog hopped in the car, ecstatic to be part of a family once again.
The instant Dimples paraded through the front door, our household felt complete again. None of us realized just how much we had missed the clickety-clack of paws on the hardwood floors, the gentle lick and “pet me” nudge offered at random times throughout the day, and the comfort of knowing that no matter how bad of a mood you are in, somehow a dog can get you to smile.
I encourage anyone who can to foster an animal. Not only are you offering an animal the chance to relax and blossom in a home, but you are making her more adoptable, and opening up a space for another animal in need at the shelter. It is a heartwarming and rewarding act of kindness, and a win-win for all involved
And, truth be told, having to sweep under the table after meals really added a lot of time to my clean-up routine––so I can’t discount the benefit of having a four-legged vacuum cleaner on hand 24/7. Which come to think of it, could be the thing I missed the most about living with a dog!
Wishing you lots of quality time with all the animals in your life––
Tagged Janice Brown