I’ve always wondered why we humans love living with animals—but I think I know the answer. Those that don’t live with animals are missing out on a beautiful relationship with a non-human being—although some of us know our animals are human!
Pets allow us to give in to our nurturing side—they comfort us when we most need it without saying a word—just looking at us and allowing us to stroke their head.
They are our friends and companions and all they want is to be by our side. My experience has mainly been with dogs. I always walked my Australian Shepherd, Zuni, who was my companion for 14 years and went through so much with me. Everywhere we lived, we walked and walked. We must have walked over 10,000 miles together.
My husband, Bryan, had a Golden Retriever when we met. Mac and Zuni became good friends. I used to walk them down the hill by our house, but if Bryan was laying on the couch not feeling well, Mac would stand at the top of the hill and wouldn’t walk with us. So I would go back up the hill and let him back in the house where he would lay down next to Bryan.
I have seen many dogs comfort the sick with just their presence. Our Golden
Retriever, Mac, was a therapy dog—especially gentle with those with Alzheimer’s disease. He also visited a young woman (38 years old) who worked on Wall Street in a high stress job. She had a stroke and couldn’t speak. When Mac came to her room, Bryan said “his name is Mac” and she blurted out “Mac”– the first word she said after her stroke.
My sister had a German Short hair dog who sat with my late husband while he suffered with cancer. He never said a word to the dog, but everywhere he sat or laid down, the dog was by his side all day. I swear “Pepper” knew my husband was dying. He passed away two weeks later.
Mac died at 16 years old of old age and within 4 months Zuni died at 14 years old of a brain tumor. We love our dogs, but it is so hard when they pass. Mac and Zuni were both cremated. We waited for a full moon and spread their ashes around the outside of the house where they played and explored together. We told them to find each other again so they could be together. We had a good cry– and still do when we talk about them. We will forever miss our companions, but never forget the love they showed us.
As much as Bryan and I love dogs, we just can’t get another one right now. We still grieve the loss of our two companions but so grateful for the time they were with us. Bryan and I both lost our spouses to cancer and I don’t know what either one of us would have done without the constant companionship and unconditional love from our dogs during that incredibly stressful time.
So I guess I do know why we love to live with animals. Where else can you find unconditional love wrapped up in a warm and fuzzy package where you are the most important person in the world?
It’s one of life’s most precious experiences.