We haven’t been pet people in our family, but we are now heavily considering getting a dog. We have some things to overcome, like potential allergies to animal hair for instance. But the idea of having a dog is appealing.
We just spent some time with a family that has four of them. They all have distinct personalities. One of the dogs, a small dachsund, has the personality of a princess. “Serve me” is her motto. She likes to force herself into your lap to be petted. Another dog, a large English bulldog, is a bit dumb but loveable. While I was holding the infant in the family he just walked by and gave him a big lick on the head. He is the self-appointed protector of this child. He wonders around the house and comes up to you and expects to be petted. With his size (the English bulldog is descended from the mastiff), who is to argue?
I have fond memories of having a family pet, so I am motivated for my kids to have the same experience. As a kid, my memorable pet was Whitney. He was an overweight tomcat who spent many years of my childhood with us. He was all white. His name came from the aversion to naming him something so simple as “Whitey”.
Like the dogs I just met, Whitney had a unique personality. He would go out on the town at night and come back in the morning looking as if he had been in a bar fight. Half of the hair on his face would be ripped off and he would be dirty.
Whitney had his own chair. He expected to use it. He spent so much time there sleeping off his nightly excursions that the cushion of the chair developed a permanent depression.
As a typical independent and aloof cat, Whitney did not take to being played with. But I forced him to participate. I would put him under a laundry basket, his cage, and charge neighborhood kids to view him, the dangerous wild animal. (At least, that’s my embellishment of the story).
Sadly, we left Whitney behind when we moved out of state after many years in the same place. It was arranged for him to be taken care of after we left, and in one of my visits back to my old hometown I recall us exchanging glances from afar.
Whitney was a member of our family. He had his own individual characteristics, just like the rest of us. Adding a pet is a big responsibility, but my memories of Whitney make me think it would be well worth it.