Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
- TITLE: Sam
By Karen Shell
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Only pet owners understand the unexplainable attachment to a family pet. We treat them like babies, name them as children and even carry pictures in case anyone asks. They become part of our family. But why do we take on that responsibility, the cost and a risk for something so impractical? Most would say for the pure joy and entertainment a pet can bring.
Studies show people with pets have less stress. Those studies obviously didn’t include bird dogs. Sam was an English Setter. The best words to describe him may have been hyper, affectionate, even crazy. But to say he lowered the stress in our lives would be an exaggeration. To be honest, he was actually the source of stress at times. We often referred to him as our stubborn two-year-old. But we loved him anyway.
Many couples without kids find contentment in owning a dog. The pets themselves seem content in serving. All they ask in return is love, attention and food. We are the ones who feel the need to indulge occasionally. It seems only natural to spoil them with toys, treats and trips to dog parks.
Last Christmas, I asked my brother to pick up a last-minute gift card for a friend at a pet store near his home. Not a pet-owner, he laughed and seemed almost humiliated at the idea of buying a gift card for a dog. I simply told him there were too many items to choose from myself.
As a nation of pet lovers, we’re beginning to spend as much time and money on their grooming and doctor visits as we do our own. But it’s something we willingly do for those who offer us unconditional companionship. Perhaps that’s why the loss of a family pet can be almost devastating.
When Sam left us, there were a lot of tears and even more questions. But his memories not only make us smile, they have been the source of some great stories. I guess you could say he still serves us well. Maybe some day we’ll get another dog. But for now, I’ll be content to cling to the memories of one crazy dog.
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