This I Believe

Amy - Charlevoix, Michigan
Entered on December 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Sixty-three percent of all American households own a pet. Of them, almost seventy-three million are dogs. Of the dog population, three-quarters of them are considered to be like a child, or at the least, a member of the person’s family. That is where I fit in. I am a dog mom to four beautiful fur babies. They have brought my husband and I joy in our marriage, been at my side through some terrible sicknesses, and shown me how blessed they are to be mine.

The joys that my dogs have brought to my marriage has been bittersweet. We cannot at this time, have real babies, but God has given us these fur babies. We have treated them like we would have treated our own children. They have photo albums, toys, clothes, and almost every year they have went and seen Santa to have their pictures taken with him. My fur babies have had to learn manners, be obedient, and also have had their fair share of time outs. They have enriched our marriage in many of the same ways that children would, and by flooding us with love and affection, they give us hope that one day we may add a real baby to our family as well.

I have always been impressed with the therapy that pets can give to people. One time, I was in the hospital for almost a week, and like many patients I had begun to get depressed. I missed my fur kids, and to my knowledge the hospital did not allow dogs to visit. The tech noticed that on my bulletin board was a picture of my dogs. I told her, through teary eyes, whom each dog was and what was special about them. Instantly, she knew what would cheer me up. A few minutes later, she brought me back a pet pass. My littlest guy, Rusty, got to come and spend the whole day with me. Nobody knew he was there, not even my short-tempered nurse. But when I brought him to her attention, she, too, melted at the sight of his little round head, big soulful eyes, and devotion that dripped from every hair on him. Pet therapy not only worked for me that day, but for all the people who came into my room, too.

My dogs are very blessed. They have me to love and play with them. However, this is not the case for millions of homeless dogs just waiting for a chance to become someone’s child or companion. But adopting a dog comes with a responsibility as well. Pets are not disposable. They need to be walked all the time and are very demanding. They take your stuff, so you have to chase them. They also love to get loose and run away from you. They are quick, agile, and most of all smart. I finally understand the bumper sticker that reads something like my dog is smarter than your honor student.

I never thought that we would have four furry babies, but we also never limited ourselves. We took whatever God gave us, much like real baby parents. My dogs will always have a home, and a bed to circle three times in and lay down. Rusty, Duncan, Jingle Bell, and Cocoa have given me lots of joy, pulled me from several pits of depression, and have let me fill their lives to the top with blessings. I am grateful for the chance to be a dog mom. I hope to someday have an opportunity to share my dogs with my own child. A child that I know will feel the same way about dogs as I do.