I can’t imagine going through life without the aid and comfort my furbabies afford me.

I’ve always had pets. Growing up in the country, I enjoyed the companionship of dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, and horses. Since I was painfully shy, these beautiful and nonjudgmental creatures were the only true friends I had.

As time passed and my social skills improved, I still found myself much more willing to trust animals than people. After all, they never lied to me or hurt me, and their love was unconditional.

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Garth Brooks sang about avoiding the pain but missing the dance. I’m glad I chose not to miss this dance.

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When we first met Heidi, she was about six weeks old. We thought she was a miniature dachshund; instead, she was the runt of a standard litter. She was very frail because she wouldn’t eat. We took her to the vet, spent $12 on a can of medicated dog food, and prayed.

With a look of love, pain, and trust in those little brown eyes, she took a nibble, then a bite. We had to feed her every two hours, day and night, for a week. When we returned to the vet, we were relieved to learn that she was going to be just fine. That was sixteen years ago.

No matter what we did, she always loved us patiently. Even when I would draw blood while clipping her toenail too close to the vein, she never whimpered. It was as if she knew I didn’t mean to hurt her, and crying and jerking would only make it worse.

This past November, we lost our little girl, but she lives on in our hearts. That same vet who started her out so well in life was no longer able to do anything to help her feeble, pain-wracked body, so we said goodbye.

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She taught me so much about patience and understanding. I taught her to sit up and shake hands. I think I got the better deal. And I think Heidi would want it that way.

Submitted by Tammie

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