I have been thinking lately about how everything I know, I learned from my four-year old. Never stop creating, be yourself, make time to play. And it occurred to me that many of the same qualities I find endearing in my youngest child I also see in my puppy. On April 11, we will celebrate National Pet Day. In honor of this special day, let’s think about all the ways pets make life better.
They give grace. When was the last time your pet stayed mad at you for days for leaving him in his crate a little longer than you had intended? One of the definitions of grace is a temporary exemption: reprieve. If I really think about it, my dog gives me grace all day long. When I have to put her in her crate to run to the grocery store, when our walk gets cut short by a bolt of lightning, and when I have to drag her out of the bathroom yet again because all she wants to do is take a shower with my children. She looks at me with her sad puppy dog eyes, and then in an instant, she’s licking my hand, cuddling up to me, the events of two seconds ago forgotten.
They save us. From scary sticks to burning buildings, they’re at the ready to defend and protect their human caregivers. In her post, Are Our Pets Capable of Loving Us, Dr. Jennifer Coates recalls a walk with her beloved dog, Owen, when she stepped on a tree branch and he jumped in front of her, “ready to protect me from the evil beastie that dared threaten his person.” And on a more serious note, Roselle, a seeing eye dog, guided his owner down 78 flights of stairs away from the burning building where he worked after a plane crashed into it on September 11, 2001. Dog That Saved Owner’s Life on 9/11 Honored With Award, a post on PetMD’s website, tells the rest of the sweet story.
They’re relentless in their love. Webster defines love as unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. If you have not read, A Dog’s Purpose, you have to put it on your reading list. Bailey, a golden retriever, is fishing with “his boy,” when the child jumps over the side of the boat to retrieve his fishing pole which has sunk to the bottom of the lake. Without a second’s hesitation, Bailey is in the water, hauling the boy out of the depths by the hood of his sweatshirt. The boy wasn’t really in trouble, but the dog sensed he was and didn’t think twice about rescuing him. The boy was so fascinated by his dog’s devotion that he jumped in again and again, just to experience the feeling of being saved. Bailey saved him time after time.
So, how can we show our pets grace, and love them back? For starters, see our post Love Your Pet Day for some benefits of being a pet owner, and some tips on how to show love to your pet. Making homemade dog biscuits, arranging a doggy playdate, and getting down on the floor with your pet to wrestle are a few ways to show you love your pet. The simple act of cuddling your dog or cat can give you an overall sense of well-being, too. PetMD’s blog post, Why It Pays to Be a Cat Lady refers to studies showing when you pet an animal, your body releases feel-good hormones that help lower your stress level.
So go ahead, honor your pet on National Pet Day. After all, they’re our co-pilots, our protectors, and our steady companions.