Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Unconditional love - BEDM Day 7

I can't tell a lie, I'm never really sure what to say to people who say that they've never had a pet before.

There are a myriad of reasons why some people haven't experienced pet ownership - allergies, parents not wanting them, being out of the house all day, living somewhere that doesn't allow them, just not liking animals (those people? Those people I judge) - and they're all valid reasons but I just feel like I wouldn't be able to connect with them on some level.

They just haven't experienced the utter joy and misery of pet ownership and all that comes with it. 

When you have a pet in your life, they are your life to some extent. Most of the conversations that Mum and I have are based around Fred and Lily in some way and when people have dogs the extent to which they take over your life becomes even greater.

Now you know my first love is for cats, but I wouldn't be foolish enough to pretend that they're aloof beings you deign to have you in their life. Dogs on the other hand have an unconditional love which is enough to stop you in your tracks.

Living with Rowan and Rosie has opened my eyes to a new kind of pet ownership. One which doesn't involve gingerly trying to get into bed so as to not disturb the cat on it...

A sight which simultaneously fills my heart with joy and dread...

...and doesn't involve waking up on Saturday morning wearing Blinky as a gauntlet around my arm - the result of some unknown misdemeanour that I committed whilst unconscious.

Take Friday night for instance.

My sister and brother-in-law went out for a dinner about 7.30pm leaving me at home on babysitting duty. In the past this would have involved me and the boy hanging out, playing, watching a film, reading a book to them in bed, but now involves me sitting downstairs, bored out of my mind whilst they boys sit upstairs playing Skyrim.

It turned out that there was a little one to look after though and this baby came in the form of Rosie - the youngest Irish Setter.

She was very unhappy that they had gone out and left her all alone and she spent up until about 9.30pm standing on the sofa, looking out of the window for them. 

It  was a little bit heartbreaking really and definitely in sharp contrast to cats - who, whilst may be a little subdued when their owner leaves home, certainly don't pine away for the evening, waiting for them to come back.

When she eventually gave up looking out of the window for them she wandered over to me. She's not a massively cuddly dog and will happily sleep at your feet, but isn't fussed about being on the sofa with you. On Friday night I think she needed some comfort though and she not only climbed on to the sofa, but went so far as to climb behind me and lie behind me, across the top of the cushions.

Her face was so full of sadness that I had to take this photo...

Apologies for my face

Now I know I'm doing that anthropomorphic thing and that she isn't really looking sad, that's just her face, but....come on....look at it. Couple it with the behaviour and how can you say she's not sad?

That kind of love just doesn't come along often and for that reason I'm glad to have experienced pet ownership.

(I'm not saying cats don't love us - they totally do - they just do it in a very different, less obvious way. Which I'm aware makes me sound like a woman with a mean boyfriend..."He does love me really, I swear it.")


  1. Animals totally do have sad and happy faces!

  2. That is a sad face! I have never had a pet, my mum said she would rather adopt a child than get one (and she already had 5 children) but one day I will have cats and dogs!

    Maria xxx

  3. I've never had a pet before. I was just never allowed one. Sometimes I like the idea of having one, but the idea of being responsible for someone other than myself is pretty scary to me. Plus my friends (and family) always say I would lose a pet under a pile of clothes...

  4. That is a saaaaad face! I am lolling at the Blinky Gauntlet though.

  5. I have rarely been without a family dog and BOY does it feel bad in between them. Losing mine and the hubby's first dog was the saddest thing, cried more tears over him than any other death put together. People without pets are missing out. Great post x

  6. I grew up with all the pets. Fish (rubbish pets), terrapins, cat, dogs, hamsters. ..
    As an adult my first dog was taken by an ex, complicated but right for the dog. Very heart breaking.
    My cat had to be rehomed. We got her when we lived with my mum in law who already had a cat. When we moved out mil asked if she could keep our cat too. By then she was very settled with mil and other cat. When mil died other cat was distraught. We couldn't take other cat as she was evil and we had a new baby to think of. So we rehomed them together to a retired police man friend who adores them. Even evil cat.
    And so we had roberovski hamsters and Bernard the red foot tortoise. Til the hamsters died. They do that little pests.
    I am desperate for a dog. But as we both work it wouldn't be fair. If anyone has a solution to this that doesn't cost a fortune please let me know!

  7. Awww Rosie. I want to give her a hug. Great post (I judge the animal-not-likers too). I've never had a dog but Andy has, we plan to get one one day, just to add to the chaos that the cats already bring to our home!

  8. hhahahaha! Love the cat comment at the end! :) xxx

  9. I am full of sad that we don't have a dog. Tim and I both grew up with dogs and always agreed that we'd get one of our own as soon as we could. Problem is we work long hours, so it just wouldn't be fair to own one right now. I have seriously considered cutting my hours just so we can have a dog but being sensible we need the money. We've even considered finding friends who work different hours from us and also want a dog but no joy so far.

  10. Totally relate to this, Monty is such a fairweather friend, whoever is there will do, except for a bit of whining if my dad isn't present. Whoever has food will also always come up tops. Dogs are funny creatures, and although Monty used to drive me crazy, I'm really really missing having a pet now I'm in rentals which don't allow it.


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