What My Pets Taught Me
My mom likes to tell me the story about when I was one year old and I first met my dad’s best friend and dog, Copper. He peed on me. I know that it may seem weird to bring this up, but from that day forward, I knew that pets could teach you a whole lot about life. Copper peeing on me is one of those moments in life that is always brought up when a laugh is needed. Just the other day I was feeling low, and my mom was trying to cheer me up with stories from when I was little. And lo and behold, Copper peeing and subsequently inducting me into the Chromack family was brought up. And that’s what my pets have taught me – nothing in life is so bad that you can’t find the good in it and that it is best shared with friends.
When I was in third grade I met my first true love, Bo. He was a little tabby kitten with a big heart, and he was my best friend. At school, I had always been quiet, introverted, and had a hard time talking to people. I was bullied, like a lot of kids, at school and on the bus. I really didn’t have many friends and spent most of my time wandering around on the playground alone at lunch or sneaking into the school’s library. After a long day of school all I wanted to do was go home because, my cat Bo would be there. He would walk with me down to the bus stop every morning and I knew he would be waiting there when I got off. And from there, I could relax and talk to him about my day. Bo was my first real best friend and he taught me that friendship was more than being accepted, it is being loved for who you are.
A little while after we adopted Bo into our family, we adopted Tuko. A gargantuan fluff-ball, with different colored eyes, one ear up, and one ear down, Tuko was always at my mother’s side. He would cry as soon as my mom left for the day and would wait at the window until she got home. Tuko loved my mom with all that he had. He would sit by her as she worked from home, follow close underfoot where ever she went, and would sleep protecting her bedroom door. When Tuko got sick, we all pitched in to make him as comfortable as possible. We protected him like he had protected us for all of those years. He taught me that love is unconditional and should never be taken for granted. He also taught me that life is about helping and being helped without thinking that you needed something in return.
Peeps, or Dixon, was a kitty that I had taken care of for my sister. Peeps was sick and we all knew he didn’t have very long. The little orange kitty didn’t let that get in his way of having a good time though! Although Peeps had suffered from a couple illnesses, he took all that life could give him. He swung from the curtains, cuddled everyone he met, and demanded attention. And I think, out of all the lessons I have been taught being a pet parent, that Peeps taught me the most important lesson of them all. You do you, and never let your illness or sadness take your ability to enjoy the small aspects of life away. It may have been hard for Peeps to get up and get going, but once he got going, nothing could stop him.
I know that being a pet parent can break your heart and put it back together at the same time, but the lessons we learn from our pets can change us. I learned that being loved for who you are is much more important than being accepted for who you aren’t. I learned that true love is being able to help and let others help you. And I have learned that life may be tough, but if you can find beauty and happiness in the small victories of life, your life will be much fuller than if you harp on the obstacles that try to rob you of it. I have three fur-babies now, Hank, WeWe, and Pixie, and everyday I look for the things that they teach me. Everyone and everything and every-paw can teach you something, it’s just a matter of opening up your mind and heart to listening to those who aren’t usually given a voice.