Something else that made me think about this emotional bond that humans make with an animal is a program I was watching on PBS tonight about a cheetah. Simon King, whom the documentary was about, had taken care of a male cheetah named Toqi. He’d nursed him and followed him closely for four years and was not going to release him into a wildlife preserve in Africa. Mr. King noted that when he and his assistant went into the preserve to leave Toqi he had a very difficult time letting go which was a foreign emotion to him. He had never before formed such a close bond with an animal not even a domesticated pet. Toqi’s newfound home and freedom only made Mr. King feel uneasy and forlorn though the big cat was seemingly doing well on his own.
I think this is why I hesitate to agree to get a dog for the family. Though an Irish terrier (NOT a wolfhound) would be a good breed to match with our family I’m not sure I’m ready for the added responsibility, work, expense and emotional attachment. Not to mention having to help young children handle and understand living with an animal in the house – one that should protect them, but could also potentially hurt them. I vacilate on the subject. There are days that I’d love to see my girls hugging and loving a puppy and other days that I dread having to care for a screaming baby and a wailing puppy. In a few years maybe things will be more calm with both girls potty trained and one in school it wouldn’t be so bad to train another member of the family. We just have to remember to count the cost – financially, physically and emotionally – whenever we plan to add a new responsibility to our lives.