One of the things you may not know about me unless you know me in real life is that I am huge animal lover, in fact one of my majors in college was Biology, and my intention was a career with animals. But something I have discovered as I have grown older is the importance of the lessons that animals can teach us, and specifically what our pets can teach us about love. Now if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me share some pictures or Insta-stories of my adorable dog Bear, but what I don’t talk about much is the impact that that dog has had on me, and what he has taught me about love and even human relationships, so today I wanted to share a bit more about what having a pet has taught me.
Now I have always had pets, ever since I was a baby I have had some form of a pet, but I didn’t realize that impact that pets have on our lives until my past two dogs. You see I recently lost one of my dogs, who was my best friend, and I truly mean that. He was the best friend I have ever had, and that is the first lesson I learned about love from a dog. And that’s that best friends don’t have to be people. Love comes in all forms, and you don’t get to control who you love or the impact that they will have on your life. This dog was there for me through everything, my illnesses, the loss of family members, starting college, graduating college; 15 years of memories. That’s the longest friendship I have ever had, and he was there for it all. Additionally that dog taught me that family comes in all shapes, sizes, and species, and you don’t have any control of what impacts your heart. But if I am being totally honest after losing him I wasn’t sure I would be able to love another pet let alone another dog. You see my little sister couldn’t take care of her new puppy anymore so she brought it home for me to take care of (no shade intended her apartment at school was just too small for a dog). But I will be the first to say I resented this dog. I resented that it was taking the place of my best friend, and that is where the new lessons began.
I didn’t hate Bear, but I felt shame in being nice to him, in cuddling with him, in loving him, like I was somehow cheating on my former dog and best friend by being nice to Bear. I will be totally honest it took me a while to warm up to him, and it took a while for him to warm up to me too, but something he has taught me without a doubt is that you always have room to love more. No matter how hurt you are you always have more room to love someone new. Because now I love that dog more than I ever thought I could, different from my previous dog but powerful nonetheless. And that leads me into the next thing Bear has taught me about love and that is that you can grow to love someone, and sometimes it takes time to love someone. You see I had to grow to trust this dog, like this dog, and appreciate this dog, before I could ever grow to love him, and that process takes time.
So if you are like me, and are a huge animal lover or a pet owner I want you to take a moment to think about what that animal has taught you, not just about yourself but about love and relationships. I know for me I have learned that family comes in all shapes and sizes, your best friend doesn’t have to be human, there is always room to love more, and that you can grow to love someone if you give it time. What have you learned from your pets?