Monday, March 12, 2012

Pets, & Why Your Children Need Them

I grew up in the 70's. Well to be honest I was born in the 60's but since I don't remember any of that I claim the 70's. I actually claim the 80's since that was the time I could drink and vote, but for this blog we're going back to the 70's. When we were kids it was decided we'd get a dog. I wasn't privy to the process, but there was a lady up street who bred poodles, and I believe that the dog we got was less than show quality but looked upon as a good pet. He was called something something Jacques something something since he was a pure bred. We called him Jackie.

For those of you who don't know poodles, in addition to the fact they don't shed they're very intelligent and don't care to be bored. I remember that Jackie loved to play in the snow with us when we'd let his coat grow in. Actually he loved to play with us whatever the weather, demolishing leaf piles we'd carefully raked up or just sitting on the sofa wondering why we'd be watching "Rhoda" when he was so much more interesting.

Jackie was a perfect dog to grow up with; a pet, a playmate and a workout partner. We'd take Jackie out for exercise and he'd tire us out before we'd tire him. Countless frisbees, chewtoys and knitted whatnots would be gnawed into shards in the tug-and-toss games we'd play when we were outside and he'd sit on the sofa with us while we read or watched TV. As long as we payed attention to scratching his muzzle. Family Sunday summer drives would mean that Jackie got his own cone at Dairy Bar and family dinner meant that nobody said a word when Grampy fed Jackie at the table.

I grew more mature as did Jackie. White invaded his muzzle and his eyes. He lost teeth and his eyesight was going. I'm reading into it but there was an all too human look to him as he lost more and more control of his faculties. Finally our mother decided to take him to the vet and and let him go. I can't fault her for doing so, because Jackie was her dog and well, that was how it was done in the era, and Jackie wasn't doing well.

I like to remember that Jackie that rode as a pup in our old Ninety-Eight with his nose in the Air-Con vents and eyes glued on the road and the elder Jackie who rode in my spider with the wind on his face, licking the air.

Maybe that's the best thing that happens with us being temporary guardians of pets. We learn about how we should treat each others by living with creatures who depend on us utterly, and know that we'll be giving them our best, and teach us the lessons of love, loss and the responsibilities in between.