How pets – past and present – have gotten me out of my head and into my heart

Nora at Main Line Animal Rescue

Nora at Main Line Animal Rescue

Three friends on facebook this week have lost, or are about to lose a beloved pet: a yellow lab with soulful eyes; an affectionate cat who prioritized cuddling over everything else; a beautiful brindled coat pit bull terrier whose owner deemed her the best friend he ever had.

Reading these posts, and the long stream of supportive comments below them confirmed my belief that owning and caring for a pet is something every human should experience. Pets have the ability to burst your heart open wide – pulling you out of your head (clogged with future agendas, past regrets) and into the beauty and delight of right now. Give your dog or cat the opportunity, and they’ll show what it means to be 100% in the moment, unconcerned with tomorrow’s meeting with the boss or yesterday’s guilt over chowing down too many Holiday cookies.

Losing a pet sucks, and the pain that came with grieving over my beloved Bentley (a proud, black standard poodle who remained at my side through massive life changes) made me ponder whether I should have owned a pet at all it hurt so bad. But three years since his passing I now cherish the lessons he taught me, and am convinced I would not be living life as fully or with as much gratitude had I not spent 11 precious years with this goofy boy.

After reading and weeping (yep, I cried with each post), I spontaneously sped out to Main Line Animal Rescue to volunteer for an hour in the afternoon. I don’t typically volunteer Thursdays as I have a full morning teaching yoga, but I had to find respite and knew my favorite pups here would provide it. Nora, a one-year old black lab who has yet to get the hang of walking a straight line (left! right! find me a ball to catch!). Windy, a petite, white pit bull terrier with the cutest damn ears I’ve ever seen – so what if they don’t work? (she’s deaf). Casco, who shares a run with Ginger Spice, who didn’t get out because Ginger Spice wasn’t about to let me get him out without taking her too (sorry sweet boy, I’ll grab another volunteer to help me get you out both next time, promise!!) Just an hour with these pups pulled me out of my grieving for my friends’ pets, for my Bentley, and brought me into the joy of the moment.

Scout and Junior, my rescue kitties

Scout and Junior, my rescue kitties

And that evening I sat on a velvet bean bag covered in fur snuggling with my two rescue kitties as they purred and gazed into my eyes, and my heart.

If you’ve never owned a pet, consider it. Visit your local rescue and allow a four-legged pal to show you what it means to really love.

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