A Dog’s Life

There’s so much more to having a pet than finding your shoes chewed and the simple joy of being licked.

A family member recently lost a pet while they were away on holidays and were tossing up whether to mention it to the kids or to say their cat had run away. I suggested they be upfront with their kids about it.

Dogs & cats are great company for kids, and more practical than crocs & elephants. As a kid I had several dogs but none as good company as Skye, a beautiful German Shepherd. We would swim in the canal together and chase each other. She taught me how to care for something, taught me responsibility.

I remember one night sitting outside in a storm, holding her because the lightning scared her. It scared me too, but I couldn’t let her see that when she was drawing on my strength (I was a needy child and prone to flights of fancy). When Skye died I was devastated, but that’s when she taught me her greatest lesson. I felt sad and angry and helpless, all at once. But I got through it and life somehow managed to continue.

And that’s one of the most important things a pet can teach kids – how to handle loss.



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