To all pet-lovers of Franklin County
“I know you’re not a pet person.”
That’s what a friend said to me recently after I was asking about the puppy she and her husband just adopted from the Morgan County Animal Shelter.
It’s true I don’t have any pets, but it’s not necessarily accurate that I’m not a “pet person.”
My family always had a dog growing up. Rex is the first good boy I can remember, a German shepherd mix who loved to chase a tennis ball more than anything in the world. He was terrified of fireworks and thunderstorms, and once when we gave him a bowl of vegetable soup, he managed to eat every bite except the green peas, leaving a small pile of them in the bottom of the bowl.
Shadow was only ours for a few months. A “Lassie dog,” as my brother and I called him, he was stolen right out of our back yard.
Shiloh was a Chihuahua, and he exhibited every characteristic of the breed. He was an unending little ball of energy and our first dog who lived inside. He loved to play – tug of war was a favorite – and I loved when he snuggled close to me in bed at night. We had to rehome Shiloh when I was diagnosed with cancer at age 10.
When I was in middle school we got our first Jack Russell terrier, Chip. That was the dog who completely chewed up the footrest on my mother’s brand new recliner. There was a moment when I really thought she might literally kill that dog.
Although we all loved him, he wasn’t the friendliest dog we ever had. He was super territorial about his food, beginning to growl and snap while we were still in the middle of filling his bowl. He was also easily intimidated, sometimes backing away in fear when we were just reaching out to pet him.
We got Chip as a puppy, but we always wondered if maybe he wasn’t treated well in his first few weeks of life. He would continue to go through stages of being distrustful. But when he was feeling more playful or affectionate, he was such a sweet boy.
When Rex died, we welcomed another German shepherd mix into our family, and when Chip died, we found ourselves another Jack Russell terrier.
It’s been several years now since Kyra and Dusty died as well.
Of course, those dogs are all from my youth, and again it’s true, I’ve never had a pet as an adult.
The thing is, a pet is a big responsibility. That’s what we hear growing up as children, when we beg our parents for a dog or a cat or something more exotic, but it’s a truth we don’t understand fully until we’re older.
So, no, I don’t have a pet, and I don’t plan to get one anytime soon – although I have to admit we’ve recently been talking about hedgehogs. Can you believe how cute those things are?
I do love to love on other people’s pets, though. We met my friend’s new puppy Sunday, and she is a precious girl. I am 100 percent supportive of pet ownership for those who choose it.
It’s something I’ve been reflecting on as we shared the story of HOPE in Franklin County this week; check out A1, if you missed it, to learn about this group that is encouraging pet fostering and working toward establishing an animal shelter right here in FC.
I wholeheartedly applaud their mission, and I tip my hat to anyone who is involved in any effort toward providing a better life for the animals in our community.
Hopefully some of our readers will realize pet fostering or adoption could be a part of their future. The mission of responsible pet ownership is a worthy one for any of us.