Sadly, my dad is not a dog person. He has learned to love Ramsey (even though he is still grossed out by her slobber and won’t pick up her lawn deposits), but he probably won’t ever have a dog of his own.
When I was about ten, my grandma brought us a puppy. Though I cannot remember the breed, I do remember this dog being a yipper. Yip, yip, yip… all night long! We tried letting him sleep in the laundry room, but no one could get to sleep with the racket he was making. I knew nothing about dogs at the time, so I had no idea how much he needed to be near us. He was in a new, scary place, after all.
The next bright idea was to have him sleep in my room. He did not like his laundry basket bed, so he settled into bed with me. Actually, he settled into my hair. Yes, my hair. I would slide him down, and he would climb right back up into my mop top. It was not my most restful night.
Finally, the ultimatum came. Dad had reached the end of his tolerance. I don’t even remember what the poor doggie’s name was, but whoever he was, Dad wanted him gone. He told my mom it was him or the dog. She thought about it and finally decided Dad needed to stay. ~smile~ He had a job, after all, and little pupster was free-loading.
A neighbor of ours found him a home and took him off our hands. It was probably harder on Mom than on Dad or me. She has always been partial to animals. She’s not alone. Many people find themselves drawn towards animals. It is not surprising. Animals are far less likely to hurt or reject us the way people do, but we need to be careful not to harm our human connections, especially our romantic ones, in favor of a dog or cat.
Pets Are So Great!
Pets are wonderful. They give us joy, snuggles, and fun. Right now, Miss Ramsey is sleeping on her memory foam dog bed and looking particularly adorable. I know if I cough or rattle a plastic bag, she’ll wake up; so, if I want to enjoy her cuteness, I must refrain.
It is especially affirming when dogs meet us at the door. Who doesn’t feel encouraged when greeted by a happy face and a wagging tail?
Several years back when I was living at home with my parents, a cat adopted us. His mother was cruel and wouldn’t share the food bowl, so he wandered across the street looking terribly hungry and pitiful. Even though my dad is not much of an animal person, he can’t stand to see a creature suffer from hunger (my family loves a good meal). So, he began to feed him.
Pretty soon, Salem moved in. He did not move into the house, but he spent most of his time near our home. In the daytime, he’d roam wild. When Dad would pull in the driveway from work, Salem would be waiting for him on the front porch. Dad would brush him for a few minutes and then they would part ways. All Salem needed was a little brushing and some nourishment. He was the perfect pet for Dad – low maintenance, but fun to come home to each day.
Pets are great for us.
Pets Can Be Easier to Connect with than People
Many a man would be happy if his wife treated him as well as his dog treated him. Pets don’t usually whine and complain about how much money we make, how much housework we do (or don’t do), or how late we come home at night. Pets are typically quite agreeable.
Because pets offer unconditional love, they can be easier to connect with than people. People require a lot of emotional giving. Keeping up human relationships is hard work and sometimes that hard work goes unrewarded. What would you rather do? Spend two hours trying to work through a problem with your honey or lie on a couch and rub your sleeping dog? I think most of us would choose the latter.
As far as I can remember, Ramsey has never snubbed me, argued with me, or criticized me. Our connection is easy and comforting.
Prioritizing Pets Above Human Relationships
For various reasons (late hours at work, poor communication, lack of love and respect), some married couples end up with a fluffy wedge between them.
After a hard day’s work, his wife comes home and greets the dog. He gets a half-hearted “hey” after she’s done loving on Sparky.
She wants to have a conversation with her husband, but every time she tries to get him to communicate with her seriously, he starts playing with the dog. To make matters worse, he talks about his “nagging” wife to the dog.
Even if the preferential treatment is not given maliciously (or passive-aggressively), coming in second to a pet is not a fun experience. After a while, I would dare say it’s an infuriating one. Dogs, cats, birds, and the like are precious, but most people don’t take them to the front of a church and vow to love, honor, and cherish them. When a man and woman marry, they are promising to prioritize each other above other people – and I would say that includes pets also.
Consider your future spouse’s needs above your pet’s needs. Be sure to greet him or her with more love and affection than you do the family dog. If you are spending thirty minutes a day playing with your dog, ask yourself how much time you are spending with your sweetie, and decide if you need to make some changes. If your future spouse wants you to treat your sweet fluffy a little less like a human and a little more like a dog, consider his or her feelings. No spouse wants to come in second – and especially not second to a pet. ~smile~
Pets are family, but they should never take the place of human connections.
Do you ever find yourself preferring pets to people?