I have learned a lot from people, but sometimes the lessons people teach you are ones we wish we could forget. For those of you who know me well, you know I love movies. Well I watched a movie just recently called "Marley and Me" and I want to share some things I saw in this movie that truly moved me.
For the first 105 minutes of this movie I found myself extremely amused at the antics of this dog. He tears the hell out of a garage, he howls at thunder, he mounts and violates the obedience trainer (sorry for the spoilers). Most of all, he has his owners running around like chickens with their heads cut off and it is great. I especially can relate because I have a Lab now that is 7 months old and does the same things that Marley did, and he can literally drive me nuts. He eats my socks, he attempts to eat the cat, he nips, jumps and does everything that a belligerent, energetic, puppy likes to do. And he must love to hear the words "bad dog" because when I say it he repeats all the things that got him in trouble to begin with. If I had a nickel for every time I told that dog I was going to kick its ass I would be a rich man. But all it takes is one sideways look from him and I am sold and frustration turns into laughter. Now if you haven't seen the movie, the emotions depicted are right on point, so watch it.
I can also say that all animals, not just dogs are special and fill our lives in different ways. I have seen my little girl treat her hamster like it is the most important thing in her world. Animals are such a blessing and we are so lucky that when god created something as imperfect as us he also, in his wisdom, gave us animals to be our loyal companions. I for one can tell you that without the animals I have had in my life, it would have been a much harder, and less rewarding journey than it has been. I feel a need to honor them and thank them for what they gave me, and what they still mean to me today.
Not often enough do people take time to think what it means to an animal to be loved, animals live their lives around a set of rules much like we do. Except their rules aren't based on laws written by people who think they are smarter than we are. They live for things like, hugs, treats, fetch, sit, stay, lay down, roll over, give kisses, speak, come, heel, want to go for a ride, want to walk, etc. I have had a dog that smiled, I have had a dog that could sing, I had a dog that would bite gortex running pants whenever possible, and a dog that preferred cat food. Nahla refused to leave me every time I was sick. Rosco would howl when I would sing (shut up Jessica). Skeeter would chase my friends out of the house. Penny loved sweet bologna. Simon used to chase my neighbors' beagle. Lady sounds like a clucking chicken when she barks sometimes. Sable was a big fan of my cousin' cheese steak. Buddy love kongs stuffed with peanut butter. Sassy likes to put litter paws in people's faces (ewww).
Animals suffer just as much heartache as we do. Too often, they get abandoned when families break up. But the funny thing is they are the ones who never get sick of you. They are the ones who will love you at your best and worst. Maybe they don't hold a conversation with you, but you sure can feel the love they have for you.
I guess it is because all of these things that it is so worthwhile to open your heart to your pets. I have witnessed the death of 6 of the pets I named above 2 naturally, 1 accidentally, 3 euthanized. The one thing I can tell you is that the only thing that matches the sadness of losing them is the joy they all gave me. They are here for such a short time yet they seem to make the most of every moment. I know this, if I am lucky enough at some point in my life to have someone call me an "animal nut", then I been exactly the person I set out to be. Thank you John Grogan for inspiring me.