Between the two of us we have had many pets throughout our lives. What I ponder the most is how different they all have been and that each one has brought something different to the table. Not better, not worse, just different. I thought National Pet Day is a good time to reflect.
I had a Chow named Khan (actually Lord Emperor Genghis Khan). He was a beauty and probably the best Chow I have ever met. He started out as my dog but about a year after he came into my life the daughter child was born. He became her playmate but more often my Mom’s sidekick. I heard so many warnings about having Chows around kids, and I am not saying that’s ridiculous as I have been around some that deserved that warning. But Khan was so protective of her and extremely indulgent. Most days he was kind of aloof. Do not expect to throw a ball/toy/stick without him looking at you like “Well perfect ya’ idiot, you had a toy and you just threw it away! Then he would walk away from you, like he didn’t quite want to be associated with someone who would do such a thing.
After the daughter child went into the hospital at a month old he started sleeping under her bassinet. He would walk in lay down and take naps right underneath her. If she went down for a nap and he didn’t get the memo he would walk in, check in on her and let her be. She could hug him around the neck and whisper her secrets…or cry. He would lay down and play cards with her and when she is reminiscing about him she will say “and that Kahn was a hell of a card player”, as he usually won.
Fast forward to his 12th year. My mom got cancer. That came with a hospital bed in the living room of my childhood home. Khan took up his position under her bed. When he sensed she needed a little something he would go and nudge her hand. When she wasn’t lucid or responsive he would just lay underneath her with his nose poking out. She would sense on occasions that he was under there and share her cough drops with him. If they were wrapped, he would unwrap them. Leaving behind wrappers all tucked under the bed that I didn’t notice for far too long. I should have guessed this as she always hid an Easter egg for him and he would search it out, get the shell off, perfect…clean, leaving a colorful trail to where he would finally lay down and enjoy his prize. With so much going on in the house we all got a bit neglected and that included Khan and as it turned out he had cancer too and we didn’t know. After we lost Mom he just didn’t seem to be able to get his umph back and he joined her about three weeks after. No muss no fuss. At the time it seemed so unfair. Too much pain and sadness especially for the kid. But looking back it seems he was telling me all along that this was the plan.
He used to sit with Mom when she had her morning coffee. They would lounge out in the garden together and even watch a little TV. When my parents went on vacation he would make his displeasure known that she left without him. I should have guessed all along that she was really his. I remember the day we adopted him. She picked him out. He came waddling over to her and she picked him up and said “oh this one, this one is a good one”. He came home as mine but he went home hers. That’s the funny thing as humans we think we pick them, but really maybe they are picking us. Thank you for allowing me to share my story on National Day.
All pets bring us something. Mostly what we need. We may not be smart enough to realize it at the time. Happy National Pet Day and thank you for all the joy.
National Pet Day was founded to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives and to encourage adoption. Learn More Here about Pet Day.
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