Isabella Dona Pugellini, the pug, is super smart, and is very much an elder dog. My spouse enjoyed teaching her lots of tricks and showing off her obedience and agility skills. Now she's stone deaf and nearly blind. We are very grateful that knows hand signs so we can still communicate with her a bit. She is bossy, inquisitive, and spreads garbage around the house if it isn't locked down. Our household shared custody of her until the last couple years so I never really developed a relationship with her, but she's a member of the family, so she gets my loving care just like the others.
Clean FloorsThey are aging. Slowly we've been adjusting our living around their needs. Getting garbage pails with lids and putting bricks at the bottom edge of the fencing worked when they were younger. Now our geriatric pets need more accommodations. Baby gates prevent accidents in areas of the house that are hard to clean up. The mop is kept handy. We have invested in doggie diapers and specialty enzyme cleansers. Ironically, the floors are cleaner now than ever because they get mopped sometimes twice a day. They are let out into the back yard frequently, and the pug needs to be rescued when she gets lost around a corner. The already inattentive beagle has started to go deaf so he has to be watched carefully or hooked to a line. Medication refills keep them moving and a special ramp helps the pug get in the house.
Everything I learnedJust like pets, people come with hardships and messiness and complications. We don't get to shop for the perfect family members, but we can learn how to deal with that messiness by looking at how we deal with our pets.
We can learn from them.
We can learn that displaced human children deserve just as much compassion as a baby squirrel.
We can learn that disabled people deserve just as much compassion and accessibility as a cat.
We can learn that we can feel good about saving the life of a person living on the street just like we can feel good about saving the life of a dog that has gotten into danger.
Having pets can give you practice for having relationships with people. It feels really good to make a difference in another life. May we each find the lives that we will bless. We have much to give, and there is much need out there.