Furry companions are not “just pets”Los Angeles Post-Examiner

Furry companions are not “just pets”

Today I was inspired. First from a TED Talk by Tim Urban about the minds of procrastinators. Urban writes a blog about all sorts of stuff, some of which is so scientific and deep it can look intimidating. Regardless, Tim Urban is one of the most popular bloggers in the English-speaking world.

There’s nothing wrong with the other languages, it’s just that Urban speaks English so people that speak English are his primary audience.

Tim Urban was so good he was inspirational, and that’s one of the primary aims of TED talks.

The second inspiration for this blog came when I was walking the dog, pictured above. People that love dogs, or pets in general, can be annoying to those people who don’t have pets. I know because before May of 2017 I was occasionally annoyed by people who love their pets and show picture after picture, video after video, of their pets on their Facebook pages. I mean, it’s just a dog, right?

Well, no.

What happened was my friend asked if I could keep her dog for a few days because she lived in a place that didn’t allow pets. But then the dog’s usual residence was no longer available and a few days turned into … counting the months … nine and counting. And I don’t mind. I love this dog.

It didn’t take long to love this dog unconditionally because she gives her love back unconditionally. It doesn’t matter the circumstances. I can go without a shower for a week (and I have) and she still loves me; licking my hands, arms and legs — and often my face — regardless. She just loves me. It’s important to point out she has the sunniest disposition and everyone who meets her gets excited and happy because Bella is excited and happy to meet them.

Unless of course someone is walking by the sliding glass doors in the back or knocking on the door. She can bark at the complex handyman (I live in a condo) while we’re inside, but when we’re outside taking a walk, she and the handyman are the best of friends.

Recently I took her to the home of some friends who know Bella, having walked her with their dog Kaida. They also have a nice sized backyard where the two dogs ran around like kids in a park.

Of course Bella made friends with everyone who was at this gathering and she was shown so much affection I thought Bella might not want to go home. Once we got home we did one more walk so she could do her business and then she went to sleep. A good time was had by all.

Going back to the beginning of this blog, before Bella came into my life — and the life of my roommate — I was the sort of person who was happy you had a dog, a pet, but would think, “It’s just a dog.”

Now, I’ve never actually said that to anyone, not in recent years because I know it will hurt the humans’ feelings and make them angry. But it’s just a member of the canine species and the Canis genus — what’s the big deal?

Pets are part of the family, according to pet owners. And let’s be frank: who really owns whom? The really true pet lovers will take care of their furry (or feathered) loved ones first in the morning, before seeing to their own needs. The one exception being if I need to … how can I put this delicately … do my business because it is so urgent waiting could be disastrous. So Bella gets fed and given fresh, cold water. She loves both. Then we go out for her morning walk, she unloads her bladder several times in an attempt to immortalize her presence and leaves a usually large pile of her business.

I sort of went off on a tangent there, but getting back to the previous exposition, once this beautiful dog arrived and spent maybe a week or two with me, I fully understood she isn’t “just a dog.” She’s a companion, even if Bella isn’t mine forever and one day she will go live with her rightful companion, Bella isn’t just a dog. For the time being she is my most beloved companion.

Even when she poops in the ice plant.

Delosperma Cooperi — Ice Plant, similar to that which grows around this area

People who own homes — or property of any kind — in Southern California (and other warmer parts of the country) know about ice plant. It’s an alternative to grass that requires less water and looks pretty nice, at least from a distance. It grows taller than grass, isn’t mowed like grass (although it is often trimmed) and when dogs (or cats) do their business in ice plant the poop generally falls between the flowers of the plant, thereby making it harder to clean up. In the process of picking up the poop I usually end up getting chunks of ice plant. It’s annoying.

I would go outside and take a picture of some ice plant here but it’s much easier to download a photo from Wikipedia. This particular species is called Delosperma cooperi — Cooper’s ice plant.

It looks nice — until you have to pull dog poop out of it.

The point is, they aren’t just dogs or cats — or even pets. They are our furry (or feathered) companions. There was a time, before May of last year, when I cringed if someone said or wrote the term, “furry companion.” Not anymore.

I talk to Bella all the time, especially when I’m petting, playing or walking with her. I don’t walk the dog, I take a walk with Bella. She is very inquisitive and wants to sniff at nearly everything and I let her do it. I’m not one of these people that pulls her along, although on occasion I’ve pulled her away from something. I want Bella to be a dog and enjoy the aspects of her species that make her different from we humans, and the idiosyncrasies that make her an individual, different from other members of the canine species, just as I am an individual, different from the other humans around me.

Science has proven pets have a positive effect on their human companions and the humans can actually live longer if they have a companion of the furry (or feathered) kind. Maybe even of the scaled kind. Having a companion like Bella can brighten an otherwise dark day.

I’m not going into the scientific details, like Tim Urban might, but if you click this link you’ll find some information about it.

Rescue shelters and other organizations bring dogs and cats into hospital and nursing facilities so the patients or residents can spend time with furry friends that will love them unconditionally, if only for an hour at a time.

There are people who might read only a paragraph or two of this blog because the topic is annoying and to them Bella is just a dog. Pet owners (and I use that word loosely) will understand completely. They aren’t just dogs, or cats, or pets. They are companions, loving and loved members of the family.

Now it is time for another belly rub. Not for me, but for Bella. Dogs, and probably cats, can never get too many belly rubs.

I love my furry companion, even when she poops in the ice plant.

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UPDATE: As if on cue Bella pooped in the ice plant again. She just wagged her tail while I cleaned up her business and then we proceeded with the walk. How can a person not love such a precious soul like Bella?

 

 


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that. Contact the author.
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