Do you look forward to your dog tackling you with love every time you walk in the door? How about the calming purr of your cat as it rests on your chest? Pet owners know that their pets are special. Sometimes it's the little things that shape relationships in life, and the relationship with a pet is no different. As any pet owner knows, pets don't have the same type of hang-ups or grudges that humans have. They're perfectly willing to walk with you through life, comfort you in your troubles and cheer you on when life is grand.
The perfect human would have the attitude of a dog -- loving, loyal, happy, protective, faithful and honest. I wish I could be more like all the dogs I know. At least the dogs I know, their attitude is admirable. From a dog's perspective, every day is the best day of their life.
Having pets throughout my entire life I know the happiness I have felt through my companionship with my animals? Yet, still it begs the question, why do pets make us so happy? Why is it that even though we know all the work and responsibility involved, even though we know we will have to bear the eventual heartbreak of watching our pets grow old, even though we know we will someday lose them altogether-why, then, do we still regard the prospect of sharing our homes with birds, cats or dogs (or horses, or goats, or what have you) with such unalloyed joy?
From my view, I see that humans are pack animals, and it is the way God created us to be social, to form families and to build communities. It's been essential to our survival as a species-to make others happy. Some of us experience this need to a greater extent than others, but the desire to please others is as hard-wired into us as using tools or walking on two legs.
And, despite all the seeming effort involved, the truth is that it's so easy to make an animal happy-so much easier than it seems to be to make other people happy. When my birds have their favorite food, their favorite toys, and their favorite lap to cuddle in, they're so deeply happy they practically radiate it. Their happiness isn't complicated the way human happiness is, with worries about future troubles or what they might have to offer in exchange for the happiness they've been given. There is not a concern that showing happiness too openly might make the happiness go away, the way, for example, you might not want to appear too enthusiastic in the earliest stages of a romantic relationship.
Let's take a hypothetical example. Let's say a young man has an interest in a very special lady. On one hand, he wants her to know of his feelings. After all, it has been a few years. The romantic ideal of shouting from every rooftop that this particular person is so beautiful and wonderful seems right. Yet, on the other hand, it may not be a good idea. His concern is that it may jeopardize the friendship or otherwise, it simply is not the right time. Why does it have to be so complicated? Is not life best lived with simplicity?
Do animals go through all of these "mental gymnastics?" I think not. If an animal likes you chances are you clearly know. If there is a purer, less complicated joy than that of making an animal happy, I have yet to experience it. And there's something deeply fulfilling about knowing that, even in a complicated and often unkind world, you've managed to create a pocket of perfect security and bliss for at least one small creature.
As I write this, Dudley is playing with his many toys and spiraling down the ladders on his enormous parrot play gym. At this exact moment, Sing-Sing is cozy underneath a blanket spread over and curled up in my lap, cooing away. Dudley and Sing-Sing are unaware that I've been agonizing over planning the day and weeks ahead to ensure that all pet care jobs are handled with great care or worrying about how to grow a business, pay bills, life's obligations and responsibilities and oh, so much more.
All they know right now is the tasty, delicious pasta with a little smidgen of pizza along with some alfalfa sprouts I just gave them for just a few of their favorite treats (Pasta and Pizza, which seriously must be made with the parrot equivalent of cat nip, my birds go so nuts for them! Incidentally, they go crazy for nuts too), and Sing-Sing's favorite perching spot on the parrot play gym just got freed up now that Dudley just left to have some more pizza and pasta. Dudley hails from Central and South America, so he is Latin and Sing-Sing is from Australia and New Zealand....so, I am still trying to teach Dudley to say "Hola, Buenos dias" and Sing-Sing to say "G'day Mate." I might as well just give up as I think they both have more Italian in them judging by how much they love pizza and pasta....so, I'll just teach them to say "mangiare."
Some days, it's good to be a bird.....
May your day be filled with creature comforts and love shared with your pets!
Paul F. Flotron
Creature Comforts Great & Small, LLC
"Giving your creatures the comfort they deserve"