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.")