I envy my pets.
There – I said it!
At first blush, it sounds a bit ridiculous. Why would a human envy a pet? An animal!
Perhaps ‘envy’ isn’t the right word. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I wish I could live as they do. And I don’t mean chewing on shoes or sunning myself in the window sill (though the latter does sound quite nice!)
As the ‘mom’ of a virtual petting zoo’s worth of creatures, including 7 dogs, 12 cats and a 3-legged raccoon (among others), I’ve had a lot of time to watch and analyze their behavior. In fact, I know these creatures better than I know most humans!
And there are some things that never cease to leave me amazed…and a bit envious.
All of my animals are rescues. Some have been the victim of neglect, abandonment and indifference. Others have been the victims of horrific abuse. Others still have been used as canine gladiators — fighting dogs — and another was left in a cage and forced to birth puppy after puppy —- more than 60 in 4 years, according to the puppy mill’s records.
So it should be noted that these aren’t your ‘average’ animals; they come with scars and defects and imperfections. But despite experiences and abuses that would mentally destroy most humans, these animals haven’t just survived. They’ve gone on to thrive.
It’s this ability to thrive that leaves me in awe. They’ve overcome the years of abuse, neglect and conditioning. Sure, the physical scars remain. And each has their own little quirks, but on the whole, they’re happy. They’ve learned how to trust. They’ve learned how to love. They’ve learned how to live. And it’s this that’s enviable.
They have a unique ability to live within the moment. There’s no worry about tomorrow, next week or next year. If there is worry, it’s in the moment; once the threat disappears, their worry dissolves. Our cats and dogs exist within the moment and they truly experience every moment. They’re present in a way that most humans find quite difficult.
Finally, there’s their ability to love so unconditionally, so simply. We should all be so fortunate.