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My Mythicality: Risk Your Heart for an Animal (National Pet Day, April 11th)

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If you’ve been around this blog for a while you know that I think pets are one of God’s greatest blessings to us mortals. I can’t imagine my life without furry friends and I have had a plethora of cats, dogs, birds, mice and one unfortunate fish. You really do risk your heart for animals. They become part of your family and that can be a struggle when you know they will only be with you for a short part of your life journey but I still can’t imagine not having them with me.

So, let me tell you about two animals I risked my heart for in the past.

Dakota was the first dog we had after my brother was severely injured by a previous dog. He was the sweetest, most loyal thing ever and was part of our family from when I was in middle school until college. While there are so many wonderful stories about Dakota, like the time we took him on vacation, my favorite comes from college.

At the beginning of my senior year, my father had a heart attack. Obviously, my mother stayed with my dad in the hospital so I stayed with my brother at their house. Now, I have a weird habit of not liking to sleep upstairs when no one is home because I’m worried that someone will break in and I wouldn’t be able to hear them until it was too late so I typically sleep downstairs. For some reason, one night I chose not to sleep in my parents’ bed but rather to sleep on the sleeper sofa in the living room and I vividly remember waking up in the middle of the night and realizing there were arms wrapped around my waist like a big spoon. Strangely, my first thought was, “Someone has broken into the house and they have gotten into bed with me and are cuddling.” One of my blonde moments at its finest!

So, I decided to roll over and confront said burglar. The moment I rolled over two eyes were staring at me so I screamed bloody murder at which point Dakota sat up and I breathed a sigh of relief. Dakota loved to cuddle and apparently made himself right at home that night. Ha! For the record, my brother who was sleeping up stairs NEVER came to check on me. I could’ve been fighting off a crazed killer and he would have slept straight through it!

More recently, one of the animals that I’ve risked my heart for was my beautiful Porkchop. (Side note: Don’t let men name animals!) Daddy found Porkchop at work and she lived for a bit with my parents before I took her home. She was clever and fat and loving and so dear. I wasn’t allowed pets in my apartment in college and my roommate and I never had a pet unless you count the raccoons that hung around our porch so Porkchop was the first pet I had on my own. What I didn’t know was that she had Feline AIDS which is just as bad as it sounds and I was afraid of eventually having to deal with her ending. That was something my parents always handled and it scared me but that’s being an adult, right?!?

So, I enjoyed my time with Porkchop for one year. I even put up the Christmas tree early so she could enjoy it and as always we had a family funeral in the backyard. (Is that a southern thing? Just my family?) The moment she passed away I thought, “That’s it. I can’t do this whole pets dying thing by myself with no daddy or husband to handle it so no more pets for me.” That night I came home and realized the house was SOOOO quiet and felt empty. How strange that an animal has the ability to fill voids like that? Within a week I realized I couldn’t go back to just having an empty house and within a few months I had broken down to find new “roommates”.

As always the Lord provides. My brother found a little Balinese kitten in the parking lot of his apartment complex and wanted me to take her because he thought she was bothered by his dogs because she wouldn’t stop crying. Turns out Balinese are very vocal (like they literally enjoy chatting) so I took her, got her a brother and my house hasn’t been the same since.

While Bear is not mine, he is my fur sibling and so stinking funny. Please enjoy him taking a little snooze!

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