Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 79

I know there are those who have no pets, but life is infinitely enriched by my animals, both inside and outside my home. My heart is lifted on the wings of the small birds scrambling for a perch on my backyard feeders and their joyous song mixed with the pastels of a dawning sky bring beauty to my soul that will sustain me through the day. My cats curl in and around me, tickling my skin with soft fur while their deep purr lets me know all is well with the world (okay, it also tells me the food dish is full, as well...). And there are no words for the hole the death of my dear Alex brought to my heart last fall and I still find myself looking for his big brown eyes and wagging stub of a tail that let me know that no matter what, I would always be loved and accepted by at least one being in this world.

I remember a friend once telling me that she came home from work after a hard day feeling tired and discouraged. As she came through the door, her dog jumped for joy at her return and begged for her love and attention, grateful for even a small tidbit of affection. Her husband, on the other hand, never moved from his spot in front of the television and greeted her with a noncommittal grunt. She said she knew at that moment, she would get a divorce, keep the dog and live happily ever after and she did. When I knew her years later, her dog still went insane with happy, sloppy love and kisses each time she returned home. Such is the love from a "dumb" animal.

I have a friend that fosters dogs for the local humane society. She has had a parade of dogs so mistreated by humans, that they shiver and shake when approached and bear lifelong scars of abuse. Her latest dog was caged at a puppy mill for 8 years. He didn't even come with a name. He sleeps in a small space he found behind a bag of potting soil in her garage and lives in abject fear of humans. I have no doubt that with her patient love of animals, he will leave her care a different animal, and despite the terrible treatment at the hands of another human, will find a family that he will greet with great fanfare and attention and adoration as they come home to him each day. Few humans can match that. I could not live without it.

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