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Why Growing Up with a Pet is the Best

Growing Up With A Dog

There are many aspects of my childhood that I am beyond grateful for. One of these billions of reasons that I feel I had the best upbringing, is because I grew up with a dog. Growing up with a dog, or any pet for that matter, gives a child an extra special family member to learn from and love. Although everyone has their own reasons for why they might feel growing up with a pet is a must, I want to share my perspective to convince those that might need convincing.

First of all, growing up with a dog, taught me lessons that I would have never learned as quickly or as early if my parents had taught me. For example, I learned how to share almost right from the get-go thanks to my first dog, Champ. When I was a baby, Champ used to take the bottle right from my mouth and consume whatever was left of it. This would have been incredibly selfish of Champ, if it weren’t for the fact that he would then allow me to reach into his food bowl and steal the remainder of his meals, too. Is this disgusting? Absolutely. But let’s all just look at the bigger picture here, and take in the fact that I learned how to share before I could even talk.

Another fundamental lesson that I learned because of a pet was to never steal, and in turn, that karma is very real. This lesson was all thanks to Kirby. As cute as Kirby was, he was also a thief. He stole food off of the counter numerous times, but he usually did not get away with it. The exception to Kirby always getting caught, was when he decided to steal an entire rum cake off of the counter during a holiday party. Although Kirby was not caught right away, it was evident he was the culprit when he laid motionless in the same spot for hours after the cake went missing. Watching this lesson unfold before my eyes surely saved me from deciding to ever go down the path of becoming a compulsive shoplifter.

It was Flyer who taught me my next lesson, and that was one of friendship. Lucky for me, Flyer was around during the years that to some (myself included), might consider to be some of the hardest-the teenage years. Flyer didn’t care what I looked like, if I had the trendiest clothes, or if I was invited to the cool kids’ birthday parties- she loved me for me and that’s what having a true friend is all about. Having a dog in the house, meant always having a friend in the house. As a stubborn teenager, you can bet I wasn’t going to my parents with my pubescent problems, but I was turning to Flyer. Sometimes, all I needed was just for someone to be there for me, and that someone had four legs.

After Flyer had passed away, I didn’t think there was much more I could learn from a pet. That is, until I met Zoey. Zoey taught me perhaps the most important lesson of all. She taught me how to love. Right from the beginning Zoey made it clear that she was a pup with a heart bigger than she was. I had adopted her from a shelter when she was just a puppy, and despite a rough start in this world, when I held her in my arms for the first time, I received the biggest, sloppy kiss a puppy could give. From that point on, it seemed Zoey wanted nothing more out of this life than to show me how much she loved me. Even though Zoey had a long journey of medical issues to overcome, nothing stopped this little girl from jumping into my lap and squealing with excitement every time I came home, or cuddling up next to me every time I got into bed, or following me wherever I went, sometimes glued so closely to my side that she made walking hard to do. To Zoey, there is no such thing as a bad day, as long as there is still room to love in it. For such a little body, she shows me how easy it can be to give such a huge amount of love.  Although there are plenty of people in my life that I love with all my heart, it is nothing compared to the love Zoey gives to me every single day.

All of the pets that have come and gone in my life have taught me one thing or another. Even the littlest of my pets, like a hamster, had taught me things that shaped who I am today. So if you’re still in need of convincing for why growing up with a pet is so important, I’m not sure there is much else I can do. But before you officially make up your mind, I will leave you with this: Pets may not be our whole life, but they sure make our lives whole.

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