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Like a child at home

There would I find a welcome rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.
Regretfully, I must admit that I have said many unfortunate things about pets and their owners.  Having many people around me who have spoken with disdain about animals, I have developed an attitude of disinterest toward non-human life forms.  Many of the things I have said from time to have have been in jest, but many have been in earnest.

My boyfriend has been very good for me.  He has a very tender heart and a soft spot for animals.  He is kind to even the smallest creatures, and he feels sincere pain when he witnesses animal cruelty.  His heart holds so much room for his four-legged fellow Earthlings.

When I was a child, we had a dog and a cat.  I loved them, as much as an 8-year old is capable of loving an animal.  I was so distraught at the loss of our dog that I wrote a book about it entitled "I used to have a dog".  One time when there was a book fair in our school, I purchased a poster with a kitten on it and hung it in my bedroom for years.  I loved cats and thought they were so cute.

Around the time Karen passed away, I had several people suggest that I get a dog.  This was actually quite offensive to me because to me a pet is no replacement for a spouse.  On many occasions this suggestion was made, with the implication that a pet can serve as a child.  I was affronted.  I was aghast.  Why would someone think that an animal could fill the hole in my heart left by a missing spouse or child?

Conrad has had dogs his whole life.  He loves dogs.  He and I have talked about it and I have told him that I would only allow a pet under specific conditions.  I would want it to be a strictly outside animal, I would want it only if I had a child who wanted the pet and was willing and able to care for it without assistance or supervision.  Conrad seemed content to abide by these guidelines.

Today, we happened to go to a puppy store.  It was adjacent to a game store that we went to which had actually gone out of business.  We went inside the pet store and Conrad saw a crib with three Collies that he instantly fell in love with.  I could see the joy in his eyes, and the love in his heart.  But something else happened as well.  I saw animals in cages.  I don't think animals should be in cages.  I think that it is cruel to them.  They need space to run around and expend their energy.  We went to an animal shelter after the puppy store and it was painful to see all the dogs caged up with very little room to move about.  I cried.  I shed tears at the sight.

I knew that it would mean a lot to my man if he were to have a pet.  I knew that he would be excited to have a dog.  I also knew that I wanted to free all of the dogs from their cages.  I wanted all of them to run around in the open and enjoy life, rather than lying around in cages (which hadn't been cleaned in a while) and looking rather depressed.

We asked to spend some time with one particular lab (mix) puppy.  He was so scared when he was brought into the room, he was visibly shaking.  He hesitantly approached us, but was shivering as he did.  Conrad got down on the floor, to be at eye level, and comforted the dog.  Eventually, he got onto Conrad's lap and started wagging his little tail.  Conrad was so happy.  And I wanted him to be that happy every day.  I loved seeing him smile like that and play with the little puppy.

We signed the papers, paid the money, and scheduled the time for the dog to have its necessary medical procedures before being released from the shelter.  We will have a dog by Tuesday.  He will live inside because we do not have a fenced yard for him to be contained in.  He will be cared for with love and kindness.  He will be our canine child.

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