Which makes a better pet: A dog or a cat? – Part 76

I am a certified dog lover. In all of my 47 years here on earth, only two of them have been without a pet dog. My first dog was a dachshund which I got when I was three years old. My mother has distinct memories of me dressing that poor pooch up in my doll clothes and pushing her down the street in my baby carriage. “Woodles” was in every picture with me growing up…..every Christmas, birthday party, Thanksgiving dinner, my prom pictures, my first car, my high school graduation, and even the day I left for college. We literally grew up together, side-by-side. I loved that dog so much that I used to have a very disturbing and recurring dream when I was a child. In each of these dreams, robbers had entered our house and tied up my parents, my brother and sister, and me. Before leaving the house, the robber always took my dog over to my mother and would ask me to choose which one lived, and which one died. I cringe to think of the struggle this posed to me as a child. Sure I loved my mother, but I couldn’t see me living without my dog…..my pet, my comrade, my companion. My mother, God bless her, was always so understanding in the dream and would always let me off the hook by telling me to choose the dog as the one who lived. She knew how much I loved the dog and would sacrifice herself for my happiness. Could I really have chosen the dog over my mother? Thank God we were never robbed – I never really had to test those waters! My dachshund remained my best and most favorite friend for 17 years. Unfortunately she got ill and I had to make the decision to put her out of her misery. I was 19 years old and a freshman in college. I held my “Woodles” as she took her last breath and I’ve never forgotten how much she meant to me. I’ve had other dogs throughout the years…..all of them precious, but none of them as special as “Woodles.” That is, until I met “Vito.” My daughter and I had lost one of our dogs to blindness and ill health, and we were lost without a pet to love. We visited area shelters and looked for ads in the newspapers, but none of the dogs that we found matched our personalities. As we happened to stop by yet another shelter one day, we found the cutest puppy dog. He was 3.7 pounds, had the face of a beagle, the body of a lab, and screamed like a baby if it was separated from human contact. He wasn’t perfect by any means……He had four extra toes that flapped like flippers on his back feet, and he had recently been adopted but brought back because of a diagnosed seizure disorder. My daughter held him and immediately fell in love. I wasn’t so sure……I mean after all, have you ever seen a dog with 24 toes? But I was smitten, and we took him home. If ever there was a soul mate for me in the world, I truly believe it is “Vito.” I have never had any living creature be so happy to see me come through the front door. His world stops, he yelps, he cries, and he even wets on the floor as soon as he sees me. He is devastated when I leave…….He eats with me, sleeps with me, and follows my every move. He truly loves me as much as I love him. My husband was a bit reluctant to have an “imperfect” pet like “Vito,” but he too has come to love him. His warm eyes, his soft fur, and the way he spoons with us at night have made him irresistible to love. I realize that my husband and children are a bit jealous of the special bond I share with Vito, but I assure them over and over…….”I don’t love the dog more than you……I love you both the same!” I guess it’s never too late to start saving for their counseling appointments!

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