This I Believe

Rachael - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Pets: The Shape of the Heart

I believe in the connection and healing power that pets can share with their owners and others.

When I was eight years old, I received the best Christmas present a child could ever ask for: a puppy. Her name is Abby. Most kids are like me – the golden present is a dog or at least some other type of pet; however, at the time I did not realize how much more a pet is than a cuddly playmate. For being a furry thing that cannot talk or understand what I am saying, she sure does know me well. When I cry, Abby understands everything is not all right, and comes up to me with this wishful look in her eyes, as if she could say, “I’m right here. Aren’t I cute?” When I’m excited, she begins to bark, wag her tail, and jump up and down. The first thing I do after arriving home is squat down and give her a little scratch on her belly, for I would be letting her down if I did not do so. When I want to hug something to feel better, or just need to play around and be silly, Abby is there. One’s pet can decipher what emotional state he or she is in and will ride that roller coaster. Most importantly, it’s the unconditional love a pet provides that makes the connection the strongest. An owner’s pet doesn’t care if he or she was mean to a friend that day or lost a job – no matter what the circumstance, a pet is devoted to its owner and best fills the role of a companion.

My Grandfather lives in an assisted living retirement community, and about once every two months, we will bring Abby along to visit him. After having dog followed by dog for almost all of his life, so much joy is brought to him and his spirits are completely lifted when seeing her. A pet can bring so much comfort to one’s side or fill an empty gap in its owner’s life. Not only does my grandpa love seeing her, but also all of the old folks that want to stop and pet the dog “with the pretty blue eyes.” Such a simple thing as petting a dog absolutely makes all of their days. If you have a pet, I am sure you can relate to the feelings and experiences I have described. A pet is nothing like a family member or friend but rather fills a place that nothing else can. The fact that your pet will be waiting at home upon returning from vacation, or knowing it’s downstairs guarding the territory while you’re home alone, or simply just sitting next to you while you’re busy working, such a positive vibe is relayed. I encourage you all, if you don’t already have a pet, to get one of your own to truly recognize and appreciate the emotional affects it has on one’s life!