On Loving an Animal, 2

My mother often speaks of her father’s view of domestic animals.  He used to say that “domestic” only means that the wild creature is condescending to allow you to be close to them.  Which in reality that is true.  I’ve heard of countless stories of cats, dogs and other “domestic” creatures inexplicably turning on them.  Granted I’m sure this is the exception and not the rule.

Another issue I find with having a pet is the emotional bond you create with them.  Like in Marley and Me, that dog was the worst dog ever, but they loved him so much that they put up with his antics even when it put a strain on their marriage.  I’ll spare you the details in case you haven’t seen the film. 

In contrast with my mother, my father grew up in a house where they always had animals around.  Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, Irish Wolfhounds, chickens, rabbits, cats, and horses were a few of the varieties of animals he was around and helped to raise.  When he got older he personally began to train, breed and show Irish Wolfhounds.  My dad is not a big guy and there is a picture of him standing on his tiptoes with his arm fully extended above his head holding a doggie treat and his dog Mack, a wolfhound, has his front paws resting on my dad’s shoulders.  Dad’s hand barely reaches Mack’s mouth.  Those dogs are the only things I’ve ever heard of him forming a close bond with. 

Mom would relate to me how irritated she would get that dad would come home from work in those early months of their marriage and immediately disappear to go sit with his dog for an hour before supper was ready.  By this time Mack had already died and his dog Tina was the only one left.  Mom wasn’t much for wanting animals around – especially one so huge that she didn’t care much for the big hairy beast.  Tina would sit outside the front window, her big black nose pressed up against the glass and her wide dark eyes staring longingly at my mom as she worked inside. 

Stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow!

Did you miss part one?  Catch it here.

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