Why do we love our animals?

For me, and many of you, it’s simple: because they love us.

We help teach this to children, the concept of unconditional love, the idea of assisting another and accepting responsibility for someone other than themselves. In this way, we help build a stronger community, as animals are the best teachers of this concept.

But, where does this start? Why is it stronger in some people more than others?

For me, it goes back to adolescence. There are many photos of me with Penny, a Cocker/Lab mix, at my side; with my aunt’s Irish Setters, the Shepherd mix down the block, the Yellow Lab Sunnie that entered my life when I was 16…. Many dogs and cats followed; along with a menagerie of other pets.

Lobo was the first of many rescue/shelter dogs for me. He was an 18 month old Malamute that was dearly loved in his first home, but his owner had a stroke and headed for assisted living. Although a family member tried, Lobo just did not adjust from his prior life in the country to that of a city dog. After the third visit from the local police, he made his way to us, through a (pre-internet) network of loving people.

Giving your heart to an older pet, especially one that has been in many situations and circumstances, is not hard to do. They so often reciprocate much more then you can imagine! You may feel you are doing something noble, offering your home and family to a lost waif – even when some continue to watch for their original owners for a period of time. Be assured, however, that they love and appreciate
your kindness and affection: it takes a bit of time for their hearts to heal too.

Lobo went on to be a therapy dog, brightening the lives of seniors. He would sit calmly with someone for as long as he could, his great furry head in their lap, his soft brown eyes shining and full of love. Maybe he remembered his original owner while he brought comfort to others; maybe it was just in his heart to love everyone. He was kind, patient and affectionate.

Whether this starts as a child, or takes hold as an adult, once you’ve given your heart to an animal, you are forever changed and will forever understand truly what love is about.

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