I am so ready, as I am sure you are, to turn the page on 2020 and welcome the New Year. It’s difficult to keep one’s thoughts positive during a pandemic which had such a profound impact on the way we live, work, maintain relationships, and stay healthy.
One thing that lifted my spirit was the responses I received from a Facebook post. I asked my friends to tell me about a special “Happy Memory” they had of their pets. The responses were varied and heartwarming to read.
I re-read the list many times and each time it made me feel better. People remembered times where they felt compassion, gratitude, connection, satisfaction, accomplishment, and unconditional love. Below are the submissions, edited for clarity. Let’s start off 2021 with a smile:
I loved it when my cat Gypsie and I would be lying in bed. He would be across from me and we had eye contact. I would talk to him and he would reach over to boop me on the nose with his paw.
…I miss those respectful communications where two species are really communicating… and I miss the boops on my nose.
Karen Fischer Lang
For the last 20 years, we have had both cats and dogs as pets, averaging 3 creatures at a time. I love when a cat and dog become buddies. Our lab Bailey’s best friend was Smokey the cat. Bailey learned to open the pantry door and Smokey would scale the shelves and pull chicken strips out of the bag on a shelf for her. In the evening, Smokey would curl up with Bailey so she could get her ears licked clean.
My dog goes to one of the local craft breweries with me. Everyone loves him there, and he does “rounds” saying hi to everyone. The owners gave him an official brewery sweatshirt.
… Moose got neutered the day before I got my tonsils removed so we got to be bedridden together.
…When my monster puppy Asher broke through his 3rd metal crate and played behind a wall! …When I got foster puppies Briscoe and Logan from an abuse case. They were petrified, stayed in a crate together for 3 days until I won their trust.
…Watching how gentle and vigilant my lab is with our human newborns, and she feels compelled to notify us if they start to cry.
My favorite memory is with my first ever cat Sam. He was lying on his hammock and I was lying on the sofa. I said,” Come here sweetie…” and patted my chest. He came right over and snuggled on my chest and never stopped until he passed.
We finally built a fence so Chewy could run around free of a leash. Watching him run outside for the first time was so exciting. He ran and bounced around joyfully. So very cool to see him run around, free as can be inside his fence.
Isabel Alvarez Arata
My husband had just come back from deployment and he, my two dogs, my 18 month old son, and I were driving from Miami, FL to El Paso, TX over the course of 8 days. We stopped somewhere in Texas near San Antonio, I think, at a lovely restaurant that also had a gardening center attached. They had a gorgeous patio where we sat with the dogs and had the space all to ourselves. It was so relaxed and beautiful and we loved including the dogs in our little outing.
When shadow my then foster dog came out of his shell and brought me a toy when I got home a couple of months after I took him in. He adopted me and here we are 13 years later.
The day after my cat Draco had his second surgery for a really bad infection. The night before he was so bad he just lay limp on my chest and I thought I was losing him. BUT the next morning I woke up and he was standing on the cat tree and he meowed and jumped on the bed and gave me one of his amazing head butts and I knew he was ok! Will never forget that moment!
Our trip to Barkwells filled my heart with indescribable joy. Seeing my middle aged dogs run like young pups in a special place built just for them is an experience I’ll never forget. Besides that, every time my buddy Cody rolls over and asks for a belly rub, I get a warm spot in my heart – he takes huge risks in trusting us considering his abusive past. Knowing that he feels safe and has a comfortable life means more than anything else I can think of.
1997, March 1st. A friend of ours found Gypsy in a cardboard box along Cobbs Creek Parkway in Philly. She arrived at our house that afternoon. I didn’t even recognize her as a dog. She was cowering outside, making a nest for the night. We had to carry her inside. She never had to be house trained. She gained weight, and became the sweetest best dog we have had to date. She lived a long life and was loved by everyone who met her. Our current rescue Belle is another story, but she is making strides every day. Abused horribly, she is becoming a loving dog who occasionally comes out of a dark room to smell us.
…When Rik, my first Doberman, finished his American Kennel Club Utility title. (Note: The Utility class, which includes scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises, is the most challenging class. Dogs earn a Utility Dog (UD) title after receiving three qualifying scores under two different judges.)
Judy Curran (my sister)
I used to love watching you walking Tina (German shepherd mix) with your cat Mandy following about 6 feet behind.
…Taking my Maximiliano with me to local outdoor festivals. I’d pay for both our admissions ($2), and folks behind me would say…”She paid for her dog!!” I miss that and don’t go to festivals anymore now that he is gone.
…Recognizing when a newly adopted rescue pet realizes they are safe and can start to live like whatever species they are. You can see it in their eyes that trusting the new human is a good thing. It is far more rewarding for them to accept you than the other way around.
Karen Fischer Lang
Gary and I were at CCHS (Colonial Capital Humane Society) to adopt a “support” puppy for our Penny, also a CCHS alum who was grieving over the loss of our Bailey. We sat on the porch watching several crazy puppies running around when this quiet little pup came over and sat on my lap. He definitely chose me.
When Zacky, my male Maltese would smile,(teeth showing) when he was offered a piece of American cheese! That made me smile every time.
Beverly Cowperthwait MacMillan
My dog Chelsey followed me everywhere. If I went to the bathroom she came and sat beside me, if I was in the shower she sat right outside the shower waiting for me and when I went to work every day she would howl at the picture window in the mornings because she missed me (my neighbors told me). She was probably the sweetest, most loving and most attached dog that I ever had. She was a mushy love bug. I’ve had three different springer spaniels and they all had different personalities, hers was the absolute best.
Tess Annemarie Ross
For my dogs, one time after the groomers I took them through the drive thru at Starbucks for puppuccinos. After that we drove to a pet store where they had open bins that they could pick out their own snacks! It was a good day.
Jeanne I thank God for you every time Chantilly sits on her “spot” in the foyer when the front door opens. You taught her this when she was 6 months old. You even took her to the doggie parade downtown New Bern. And the two of you were on TV that evening. We were in CO. Chantilly Lace is now 11 years old. And you look 11 years younger!
When our Aussie sat in the cab of the truck we rented to move home.
…When we moved from one end of our street to the other. Our new house had a much bigger back yard, and our dog Gypsy didn’t want to go back to the old house for the night. She loved it here. We miss her so much. We’ve had to have two rescue dogs to take her place.
So a lifetime of memories: Here’s one. A big feral tom would come by every morning and night for food. He never got closer than 6 feet to me no matter how calm and patient I was. Then one morning he arrived with a huge gash in his neck. Suddenly his caution disappeared and he came right over to me and let me clean his nasty gash! Now we are besties and hang together at every meal, complete with head butts and belly rubs. He’s fixed now but he is responsible for blessing me with 13 of his offspring…and they are all the same exact shade of grey and almost impossible to tell apart!
Mary Lou Pappolla
I have many such moments, but during this Pandemic I don’t know how I would survive without my Bichon. While I spend many days in my home, I am never alone. Elly Mae is always here to snuggle with me.
The day I met this special needs boy: The Adventures of Chatopotomus. I knew I had to try and foster to adopt him. It’s been five years and he makes my heart happy every day. I love how his other canine and feline siblings have accepted him, and actually look out for him.
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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