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Pet Fever

May 3, 2013 - Kristy MacKaben
We had a strange menagerie of pets growing up....and they never seemed to last very long. •The obligatory goldfish who went belly up after a week. •A hermit crab who perished after my dad threw him out of our camper. My dad sought revenge after the darn crustacean pinched my hand until I bled. •Two lizards who withered away to nothing because of malnutrition. (My mom refused to deal with reptiles, so my sister Kelly and I were in charge.) •A box turtle we found in the backyard who escaped. •A rabbit who killed itself by ramming its head into a wall in the basement. •Two really annoying love birds who my parents told us "flew away."

There were also a few who outlasted my stay in the house...a hamster who Kelly, the animal lover, took along to college. And our rabbit named Snowball who lived a few years, which was nothing short of a miracle in our house.

As kids Kelly and I both loved animals and we so longed for a pet. I distinctly remember my reoccurring dream of finding an adorable cocker spaniel puppy who looked like Lady from "Lady and the Tramp" underneath the tree at Christmas. Of course this never happened. My mom is allergic to dogs and cats and pretty much anything furry. Though we wanted a real pet more than anything, we came to realize our fate was with the smaller, hairless and weird pets.

Since I never had real pets growing up, I never really thought seriously about bringing a pet into our family. Now it's a serious topic of conversation.

Julie and Johnny have major puppy fever. They practically pounce on any dog they see. Whenever Kelly and her boyfriend Rob visit with their two dogs Dusty (a rescued pitbull mix) and Taz (a rambunctious, yet adorable Boston terrier), they are all over them. They smother the dogs with hugs, kisses, and constant attention. So much so that Dusty, who is older, usually hides from the kids two hours into a visit.

The other day the kids met "Santo" a 9-week-old Golden Retriever puppy our neighbors just adopted. He is literally the cutest being I have ever seen.

Santo didn't help the puppy fever.

Santo really got me thinking. What if we did bring home a dog?

Not growing up with dogs, I never thought too seriously about being a dog family. I don't have a clue about taking care of a dog, and, at this point, I have no desire to potty train another living thing.

But, I can definitely see value in having a dog as a member of the family.

When my dad talks about his childhood, he often mentions his black lab "Pug." He loved that dog, and I think my dad felt Pug understood him like no one else could.

My neighbor, (Santo's owner) told me the other day "There's nothing like the relationship your kids have with their first dog. It's like they grow up together." A few months ago their 12-year-old Golden Retriever "Chewy" died leaving a hole in their family. Even though Santo is adorable, our neighbor said the kids, who are now in high school and college, will always remember Chewy as "their dog."

I admit I want that for Julie and Johnny. I want them to care for another living being and experience the unconditional love a dog inevitably gives.

Not sure what will happen or whether we'll definitely have a dog in our home, but now it's not out of the question.

 
 

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Are these two made for each other or what?