What Our Pets Mean to Us (& Why It’s So Hard When They’re Gone)

Name the last week where you didn’t make some type of mistake.

Sorry for the negativity, but believe me, there’s a point to this.

So think about it, any mistake. A mixup at work, a speeding ticket, a dropped plate in the kitchen – mistakes happen, they’re a part of life.

Now, think of the last time your dog judged you for that mistake.

Empathy Minus the Judgment

What do our pets mean to us? First we should ask what we mean to our pets. Dogs, cats, hamsters, goldfish – it doesn’t matter what your pet is, they’re part of the family. They love us unconditionally no matter what happens. Well, cats might be another matter, but as long as we feed them, right?

Dogs are with us when we go for long hikes during gorgeous sunsets. They stand by our side when people break up with us. They comfort us when loved ones pass on. They even stand in support when our kids turn three and we start pulling our hair out.

Dogs are with us through thick and thin, a powerful symbol of family, love and support.

And they never have to say a word.

A Reflection of Character

Part of the reason we love our pets so much is how unique they become even though they look exactly like other breeds. Think about it – your Alaskan Husky, the big softy. Your Jack Russel, curious about everything. Your … cat. Just, angry at everything.

Our pets remind us that it’s alright to be unique in a world where everyone is supposed to buy the same clothes and the same gadgets. Dogs don’t care what they look like when they’re mindlessly chasing butterflies in the park, so why should we care what we look like when we pull the ol’ jogging pants out of retirement?

We shouldn’t care. If humans were more like pets then we wouldn’t be self-conscious about our weight, our hair or wearing that AC/DC shirt from 1982.

(I wasn’t alive in 1982, but still.)

Plus, your dog would most likely love to help you get back in shape!

When They’re Gone

Animals, with us to the end, teach us not only about their lives, but about our own mortality. They die earlier than us in most cases, and they remind us to live our own lives to the fullest.

They develop special bonds with our children, teaching them unmatched love and appreciation for the things we have while we still have them. Indeed, they inspire our children in ways we could never imagine and never hope to replicate.

But the hardest thing about watching our animals die? Well, it’s also the best part:

They don’t say anything. They quietly go to sleep without requiring anything from us – not a painful goodbye or another forced sentence. They let us live on with the knowledge we gave them a good life.

And in return, they gave us something we could never find anywhere else.

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