Today I have been reminded of how much those of us who love pets, really do love them.
Don't misunderstand me. I have dogs and rats and a solitary goldfish and I have affection for all of them to varying degrees but it is not a humanising affection at all. I love them for what they are and how they make me feel.
Today my 6 month old puppy Bobby had two "Firsts". He has not earned a degree in dogness - I refer more milestones of puppyhood. Bobby has reached that adolescent dog stage marked physically by cocking his leg against a tree for the first time today. He also got temporarily lost on a walk. One of these milestones made me think "Aww he's growing up", the other brought me to the verge of tears.
Whilst on a walk with 2 adult human friends, one human in a pushchair and one extra hound, Bobby took it upon himself to get lost. I suspect he chased off after Monty couldn't catch up and at the same time realised he had no idea where he was. Monty re-appeared without Bobby. Then a panic ensued. Whilst I stood frozen to the spot with every worse case scenario rushing through my head (stolen, lost for ever, abducted by aliens etc etc) and being comforted by my dear friend. My other dear friend went on a dog hunt and eventually found a very sensible Bobby had returned to the car. Bobby was reunited with a frantic me, and by this time an equally frantic Monty, and we continued our walk without incident.
The possibility that I had lost my dog filled me with such sadness that I bit back tears. The anguish I felt at having explain to Little Bear that he was no longer here took over from that, and the blessed relief to see his little self come skipping back up the path to meet me was indescribable.
I return home to find the sad news from David that their cat has died, http://vernacularcurate.blogspot.com/2011/10/goodbye-little-mate.html
and after a quick prayer to thank God for all Stimpy brought to the Cloakes and Cloakettes, and for the loving home Stimpy enjoyed on earth. I gave my dogs a cuddle...and a sharp warning to Bobby never to run off like that again!
I don't think most of us animal lovers make our pets more human. I think the cat, dog, rat, rabbit, hamster, make US more human.