When I was little we had a cat. It was a stray cat who we found in our backyard living under our deck and ended up adopting. Katie Cat was my best friend in the world and she was with us from when I was about 6 years old to 20 years old.
During that time period though we also adopted a dachshund named Lucy. Sister K really wanted a dog and a family we knew wasn’t able to care for their dachshund anymore. Then the Spring after Katie Cat passed away, Sister K wanted to get her best friend a dog for her birthday. Mom had spoken with the parents, they said it was fine and she went to the shelter to adopt a puppy. They gave it to Sister K’s best friend and 2 days later the parents returned with the dog saying their daughter was allergic. We don’t totally believe that but at the same time we didn’t know what else to do, so Daisy became part of the family too. And we became the owners of two dogs. We had gone from a family with one cat to a family of dogs. I find this funny because most people are either always cat people or always dog people, but we experienced this strange evolution to where we are today.
At the time though, I didn’t realize the intricate ways these two dogs would become such an important part of our lives. Mom didn’t have MS yet and we had no idea the diagnosis would be coming many years later. But now she does. She has MS and we still have these two dogs. Daisy and Lucy have become her companions in a house that could be sad and depressing since she spends most days there. In a way they keep her active and accountable requiring her to get up and let them outside, feed them or play ball with them. They keep her spirits up, make her laugh and in many ways I believe they look after her too.
When Mom had her relapse in May and was sick at home prior to it, they laid on the bed with her and did not want to leave. I believe they sensed something was wrong. And on most days they stay with her, following her around the house wherever she goes. Especially our dachshund Lucy. She walks directly in front of Mom wherever she goes. She also pauses to wait for Mom to catch up with her walker before walking further. We fondly refer to this as “the parade” at our house and refer to Lucy as the Grand Marshal.
It’s amazing how these four legged animals came into our lives expected and unexpectedly, yet I could not imagine life without them. I know I can never thank them for the companionship and important role they provide in Mom’s life, but I hope somehow they know this. They are more than pets to us- they are members of the family.
Do you have pets? Have they developed personalities making them a member of the family too? Do you believe pets have a way of knowing when things are wrong with their owners? Are you a dog person, cat person or other kind of animal person?