The ROI of having a pet (Hint: it’s huge)

Four amazing dogs
Four amazing dogs, and best friends

When my friend Leslie proposed the topic for the first round robin for a select group of bloggers, I couldn’t help but smile. It was a slam dunk: “Is having a pet worth it?”

Where do I begin?

Asking someone who has had dogs since she was six years old and who is known to many people as Corgi-obsessed if having a pet is worth it may be like asking anyone if they need air to breathe. You may think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. Take one look at my Instagram feed, my Tumblr, or previous posts about the passing of two of my dogs (here and here), and it will be easy to see that my answer is an emphatic and absolute YES.

As my dad said the other day, “It’s why they say ‘dog’ is ‘God’ spelled backwards.” I actually hadn’t heard that phrase before, but I do believe it’s true. And I’m not religious. Despite what the research says, I firmly believe dogs have and express emotions similar to humans (I’ve seen my dogs laugh, cry, and grumble). I do believe they are our best friends, perhaps even more faithful and dedicated than humans. And I do believe that dogs serve a unique purpose in providing us with joy, showing us the depths of love, and serving us with loyalty and unconditional devotion. The number of times I have laughed while watching my dogs play, or cried to see them in pain, or hugged them fiercely when I needed comfort, are too many to count. Dogs are great listeners, and they keep us active. They don’t let us get too into a funk or lose track of time because they have to be fed and walked and put to bed. They are constant reminders of the simple pleasures in life, like laying in the cool grass on a summer day, lounging on our backs and dreaming, and making time for play. They are sensitive to pain, and eager to please — just as we are. At the end of the day, they are happy to see their loved ones, and grateful for a warm bed — also like us.

Studies have shown again and again that having a dog boost our mental, emotional, and physical health. And although it may seem like getting a new dog soon after one has passed would be too difficult, people commonly find themselves looking for a new four-legged family member pretty quickly (we have, more than once). I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that a beloved dog is not only a companion, but truly becomes a part of the family forever.

As I have never owned a pet other than a dog (a total of five so far), I can’t speak to the benefits of having a cat (I really don’t like them anyway) or a fish or rabbit. But I do know plenty of people who have also enjoyed owning these other animals. My personal opinion, of course, is that dogs reign supreme.

In case you still aren’t convinced, read 13 Reasons Why A Dog Will Make Your Life So Much Better, which is validated by adorable gifs of dogs, including my dream combination of Tom Hanks and a Corgi (Corgi count in this article: 3).

This post is dedicated in honor of Rocky, Harrison, and Casey, and to my current companions, McGee and Abbey.

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To read the rest of the responses to this month’s round robin question, visit the following blogs (and come back in a month for the next topic):

Leslie Farnsworth: http://lesliefarnsworth.com

Joan Johnson: http://onefishtaco.blogspot.com/

William Pora: http://williampora.com

Rebecca Harvey: http://bayoucitypostcards.blogspot.com/

James McPherson: http://jalmcpherson.com/

Jon Lundell: http://therealmil.blogspot.com/

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Me & My Shadow

Always finding the crook

One year ago today, my sweet little Casey had to be put down because lung cancer had suddenly filled his chest, robbing him of breath and comfort. One year ago (and it was on a Sunday), I was milling around the arts booths at Adam’s Morgan Day with some friends, enjoying the weather, the sights, the sounds, the happiness — when life changed, and instead of being happy, I was devastated.

Yesterday was Adam’s Morgan Day. Every mention of the festival, every time I hear the words, I cringe inside. I think of that moment, that exact moment my mom’s voice on the other end of the line told me Casey was gone. Every time I hang out in Adam’s Morgan, which is not that often given I live and work near it, I get a funny feeling. I immediately remember that day, I remember the pain ripping through me, the world spinning away, numbly being put into a cab and sent home alone, to cradle my stuffed corgi instead of the real one who was like a brother.

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Through the bad…the good shines through

A week ago at this time I was sobbing on my bed, curled into a ball, hugging my stuffed Casey, after hearing from my mom that the real Casey, my corgi, was gone forever. This afternoon, football is on the TV and my boyfriend is laying on the bed while I type, his presence alone an immense comfort this past weekend.

The first couple of days of this past week were rough. But little by little, day by day, it became easier to continue on with life, as it always does. I went to a farewell happy hour for a colleague, and laughed and enjoyed bar food and beer. I talked to my dad night after night on the phone, reliving memories of Casey, sharing pictures we had collected over the years. I talked to my mom, assuring her that her trip to Miraval was the right thing to have done, that it will help her in the end, no matter how hard it was to leave my dad and Harrison at home again so soon. Friends and family had many words of kindness for me, as well as people I don’t know so well, and people I hadn’t seen in years. I went to another colleague’s farewell dinner, and laughed and bonded and ate some more, enjoying every moment of being with my team, loving what we do while at our desks during the day and knowing that any of us would do anything for the each other. And then on Friday, my boyfriend arrived for the weekend, the last bit of comfort I needed to make me realize that even with this loss, there is still life to live.

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Good night, Ceeter Cotter

Puppies2This afternoon, I was in the midst of a sunny, warm outing to the Adam’s Morgan Day Festival with a couple of friends, when I got a call from my mom – and immediately knew something was wrong. “Casey’s gone,” she said. My world stopped. Casey, my little tri-colored corgi, “Ceeter Cotter,” as we nicknamed him – was gone.

The world around me kept moving. People were laughing with their friends, admiring art from the vendors, petting their dogs. A violinist was playing next to me. My head was swimming though, as I was looking desperately for the friends I came with, trying to comprehend that my 11-year old “brother” suddenly had to be put to sleep today because he could barely breathe from tumors that had clogged up his lungs.

A couple days ago, he was fine.

caseyI’ve cried a lot today. I cried all the way home in the cab while on the phone with my mom, in denial that Casey boy won’t be there to greet me when I get home at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I cried on the phone to my boyfriend, to my best friend since 7th grade, to a colleague. I cried to myself in bed, clutching my stuffed animal Casey, the one that also doesn’t breathe like the real one no longer does.

And now, because I’m utterly at a loss of what else I should be doing, I’m writing. And crying as I write this. This is my way – I need to get it out of the way, so that I don’t have to pretend I’m happy and perky for a few days. So that whoever reads this just knows, and knows that I’m not going to be myself for a little while, because I just lost a huge part of me.

Anyone that knows me, knows how important my dogs are to me. If you’ve seen the dozen or more pictures pinned to my cube walls, if you’ve heard me talk about “The Boys.”  As an only child, they really have been my brothers through their 11 years. After losing my first dog Rocky, when I was 13, we got Harrison, a puppy, and then Casey a year later. They’re brothers.

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Weekends

The sun is out, but it’s still only about 50 degrees here in DC. Can’t decide if I will run outside today or just do a workout downstairs in the gym. Aside from that, I’ll likely be doing some reading, watching some bball, and lounging in pjs. Of course, I drank coffee and stared out the window for a bit, as an ode to sitting at home with my parents in the meditation room with the dogs, and watching the birds outside. I didn’t really see birds this morning, but I saw about 5 deers taking a little walk in the woods near my building. There was a woman walking around there too, and I was annoyed that she kept walking and scared them off instead of just waiting for a minute until they had passed through.  Paula Deen is making crawfish etouffee, mirlitons, and beignets. I’m fairly drooling over this.

Anyways, I was just thinking about what I used to do on weekends over the years at home. Nothing really exciting, and altogether, the chores part of it was boring, but it’s just little stuff I remember.

I’d get up on Saturday morning, and Dad would make pancakes, or we’d have cereal for breakfast. Immediately after, I’d start cleaning the house. Dusting, trash, sweeping, vaccumming, laundry, the works. That would take a couple of hours. I would try to make it entertaining by pretending I was giving tours of a museum, as I went from room to room. I’d also pretend my porcelain dolls were all girls in a boarding school. You might be laughing at this, but I was an only child and I was doing chores on a Saturday morning. How else was I supposed to amuse myself? If it was warm out, I’d also have chores outside. Weeding (blah), raking leaves, helping plant flowers, stuff like that. We’d have lunch. PB&J with milk, or meat and cheese sandwiches with doritos or pringles. My dad and I would polish off a whole bag. Later in the day, if we didn’t have errands to run, we’d watch an Indy car race on tv, or take a nap with the dog/dogs (Rocky when I was younger, and later, Harrison and Casey).

Sundays would be chore-free. I’d spend most of the day reading in my room (again, I was a nerd, and I fully admit it), or maybe I’d go out and rollerblade or play basketball for a bit. Sometimes we would make a trip to Barnes & Noble. Mom and I would go grocery shopping.

So as you can see, weekends have always been pretty chill in my life. I wasn’t out and about the whole time, and I wasn’t out playing with friends until dusk, or getting into trouble. The main themes were family, chores, reading and relaxing. Probably not that exciting for most people, but it really is telling because of how I spend my weekends now – they’re meant for relaxing. And yes, I clean my apartment on weekends, and read a book, or go to the store. Not much has changed except that now I’m alone – and it makes me miss my parents a lot. I miss Saturday morning pancakes, and sandwiches with doritos, and raking leaves with my Dad. I miss grocery shopping with Mom, and getting “race snacks” or catching a matinee movie and stopping at Graeter’s on the way home.

How did you spend your weekends growing up? What do you miss most? How do you spend them now?