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/

Another goodbye to another brother

Such a sweet boy

This post was supposed to be about my trip to Costa Rica. That changed when I talked to my mom yesterday morning and I learned that Harrison, my ailing 13-year-old dog, had been put to sleep while I was away.

For months I had been dreading the news. Maybe I had been dreading it ever since I received the phone call about Casey a year and a half ago, also on a Sunday, also when I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe I had a feeling as I got on the plane to Costa Rica that I would come back and hear that my little boy, not so much a boy anymore, had lived all he could live. Maybe I knew that by booking my trip only hours before I would have instead booked a flight to San Diego, that it was fate that I wouldn’t be there to say goodbye to my brother in his last days. Maybe it was best that the internet was spotty, and that I last talked to my mom via email the night before she and my dad took Harrison to the vet.

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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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